In this high tech age where kids as young as eight or nine have some kind of social media account, it’s easy to take a lot of modern inventions for granted. We’ve become so used to simply incorporating the latest app or software update into our lives that we barely remember what life was like before them.
If you think this is an exaggeration, just look through this list of 10 inventions and innovations from the last decade and tell yourself – honestly – which ones you could cut out of your life.
Maybe it’s just because I live in a city where owning a car is actually more expensive than paying rent, but nearly everyone I know has used Uber at least once in their lifetime. In fact, Uber has become so popular that the word is now pretty much a verb in its own right. Missed your last bus home? Uber it. Too drunk to find your way to the train station? Uber it. Didn’t want to be the designated driver this week? Uber it.
Before the days of iMessaging and Facebook Messenger, I used to get through my pay-as-you-go credit on my Samsung flip phone within a matter of days. Now, however, all you need is a decent amount of mobile data on your contract and you can Whatsapp anyone to your heart’s content. Admittedly, it has an annoying habit of crashing every now and then, but it’s still the primary method of communicating for most people – especially those who are sending messages between countries.
Speaking of different countries – remember how expensive it used to be to take a holiday? If you wanted to stay in the city center of the place you were visiting, you had to cough up hundreds of dollars in order to avoid staying in anything that wasn’t a one-star youth hostel. Now, however, you can get an authentic experience staying in someone’s second home for a fraction of the cost of a top hotel. And, really, who needs a complimentary breakfast or some fancy origami-shaped towels when you’ve literally got a whole apartment to yourself that’s within walking distance of everywhere you want to visit?
Sharing experiences of your travels – or, you know, just your #vegan dinner – got a whole lot better once Snapchat came about. It’s basically the simplest form of keeping in touch with someone. Back in ye olde days, people had to send a carrier pigeon (or a text message or whatever) and a detailed description of their lives to the ones they cared about in order to keep them updated on what was going on. Now, you just take a dumb picture of your dog and whack in an avocado emoji and boom, job done.
For a lot of people, the release of the iPad was the “wow this really is the 21st-century” moment. We already had smartphones and e-readers and laptops, but the iPad basically combined all those things into one magical tablet. And, while not everybody has one, they’re still one of the most iconic pieces of tech from the last decade.
I’m just about old enough to remember the days before MP3 players, in which you had to basically make a mixtape for your walkman if you ever wanted to listen to your favorite songs without constantly swapping CDs over. When MP3 files did eventually come about, though, you then had to fork out loads of money to buy them or rely on some sketchy pirating site which would inevitably give your computer three billion viruses. But now we have Spotify, meaning that, not only can you listen to almost any song at any time, you can also discover new stuff that you would never have come across on the radio.
7. Fingerprint ID
All I’m going to say about this one is that I no longer have to worry about my kid sister stealing my phone and wearing down the battery by watching a ton of YouTube videos. It has other uses, too, of course, but this one is why I’m grateful for it.
Want a place where you can see millions of pictures of cute animals, stalk your favorite celebrities, and indulge your own narcissism by posting 14 selfies that you simply had to take because the lighting was so good? Yeah, of course you do. We all do. And that’s why Instagram is amazing.
9. Banking apps
Ok, before you pipe up and say that this is a really boring invention on a list of cool ones, consider this scenario: what if, every time you had to pay back your friend for that pizza, or transfer your dad that money he lent you for the rent, you had to go to the bank? Or write out a cheque? Or go to the bank because the cheque you’d written somehow got lost, and so you had to do it all over again? Moving money around has become so simple now, and it’s probably doing a lot of good with helping people keep track of their finances, too. So it deserves some recognition.
Obviously, all of the above are super cool inventions. But barely any of them would be anything without 4G. The super quick internet connection has revolutionized the way we communicate and surf the web, and is often faster than WiFi. We used to think 3G was good, but it’s got nothing on this.
If you can honestly say that you can get through a week – no, a day – without somehow utilizing one of these inventions, then you’re probably in a minority amongst your peers. Plus, you’re missing out on loads of good Snapchats.