Looking back: The 2010s in technology

Reports | Technology

We’re now in 2020 and there’s sure to be a ton of new and exciting technological advancements to look out for over the course of the next ten years.

One of the best ways to truly appreciate how far we can advance in a decade is to look back at the last one, so here are some of the most iconic creations and changes from 2010-2019.

The inception and subsequent evolution of virtual reality

In 2016, Oculus launched the first commercial model of their virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift CV1. Clunky and not yet refined, it appealed to a niche market of enthusiasts, but as the decade progressed, other companies such as Valve and Sony made their own ventures into the VR industry, allowing it to be taken more seriously.

Oculus refined its product line, and mobile forms of virtual reality made it an accessible experience for nearly every kind of consumer.

Virtual reality still has a way to go before it can be considered a mainstream success but as it becomes more affordable and the tech improves, it’s looking likely that the 2020s will see it take off like never before.

Digital consumption of media and binge-watching

Streaming services are currently the most popular form of consumption for things like television and music, with users paying for access on a subscription basis. The popularity of services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video has led to smart TVs being the primary form of television sold. We went from permanently owning our physical media on DVDs, Blu-rays and CDs to essentially renting an ever-revolving door of content that comes and goes at the decision of others.

The convenience of the streaming age can not be overlooked though, with so much entertainment available on almost every device, we’re able to watch as much as we want, when we want, without any hassle. In 2020, there are currently many more streaming services than there’s ever been before, with a lot of content being exclusive to one service or another. The cost of paying for all of these different services might result in a new form of entertainment consumption emerging within the 2020s, with a potential resurgence in more traditional ways of getting our fix.

The substantial growth of social media platforms

It’s fair to say we’re now more digitally connected than ever before. As the 2010s progressed, it became the norm to find new friends, and even romance online rather than in-person. Platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and more recently, TikTok, have become absurdly popular.

Whilst social media platforms like MySpace existed before 2010, they transformed completely in more recent years, with more and more people signing up for them.

Concerns over privacy issues related to these services have emerged in recent years and there’s an argument to be made that they make us less engaged in the real world around us, but there will always be a new social media service around the corner and who knows what we’ll see emerge in the next 10 years?

An introduction to virtual assistants

In 2011, Siri was implemented as a feature for Apple’s iPhone 4S, able to be spoken to through both written and spoken methods, it could follow certain commands to make the user’s life easier, such as scheduling reminders and giving directions. It wasn’t long until other companies started implementing similar features into their own smartphones.

In 2014, Amazon revealed Amazon Alexa, a voice assistant that’s part of a speaker. Like having an assistant in your home, you can talk to it whenever and it will recognise certain phrases and commands, providing a convenient solution for certain tasks.

With more and more people having a smart speaker in their home, privacy concerns have been raised in recent years over the possibility of wiretaps and other similar problems. With so many people willing to have a device in their home that actively listens to you, it’s anyone’s guess how this kind of technology will evolve in the next ten years.

The video game industry skyrockets as technology improves

In 2008, the video game industry took in around $11.7 billion. In 2018, it reportedly took in $43.8 billion, surpassing the global box office for the film industry even! In the 2010s, we saw new consoles like the Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch, with graphical fidelity improving year-on-year, making gaming a more immersive experience.

Some might say we’ve gone as far as we can when it comes to graphics in modern video games, but maybe the 2020s will change the way we play games entirely, as this profitable industry is ever-changing and growing.

Looking to the future of technology

Whatever happens in the next 10 years, there are sure to be new innovations and changes in the tech & entertainment industries. Perhaps we’ll become more isolated than ever before, turning to our screens for everything, or maybe we’ll find ways to improve the quality of life like never before.

For a more in-depth look at our predictions regarding the future of tech: ‘Tech in the 20s: Our Predictions for the Next Decade’s Technological Innovations‘.

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