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What tech has advanced the most in the past decade?

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I'll say

1. Reusable rockets.---Thanks mostly to Elon musk. One day getting into space will be ten million dollars per pop instead of a few hundred million. This will open up space!


2. VR...Thanks to advancements in optical lenses and processor power this field has taken off finally. There's no question about it. Within 8 years this field has gone from the dk1 with its 3 positions of motion tied to a cord to what we have today that can allow you to play them without a computer and can model your entire body and play within virtual worlds with every bit of the power of any of the consoles.


3. Computing...The areas that have allowed VR to take off pretty much with storage. What computer before 2010 could have 16g of ram or dare I say 32g of ram? Not very many for the home market as far as I can tell. SID cards and SSD can hold a impressive amount of data. Some ssd's now boost over 1 tb of storage space allowing laptops to have that level of storage.


4. Deep fakes when it comes to A.I...Couldn't have been imagined before the last decade as much of a threat! But it certainly is now.


5. Quantum computing. This has taken off and is doing things that were once felt decades in the future even 10 years ago.




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By far, the technology that has seen the most rapid and impactful advances over the past decade is Deep Learning, and machine learning more broadly.  It is used for:
* Virtual Assistants
* Speech Recognition
* Speech Synthesis
* Image recognition
* Face Recognition (China, alone, would not be what it is today without it)
* Fraud Detection
* Optical Character Recognition -- to digitize documents
* Search Engines (where would be be without Google?)
* Music Recommendation (still a work in progress)
* Advertising 
* Streaming Movie Recommendations
* Removal of Illegal and Repugnant Content from Servers 
* Content Moderation on Social Media
* Robots (and impact is only just beginning)
And that's only a small partial list of the reach of this technology!  -- it dwarfs all the others out there today.  And 10 years ago, it was a mere shell of what it is today.
And it's not finished yet.  Here is a relevant tweet:


"I think that we are still massively underestimating Deep Learning... every year we thought 'ok, deep learning goes this far'..

Nope! It actually goes further.

And the next year,

'okay, we are really done, this is peak deep learning...'

Nope! It goes still further.""




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I'll list what I consider important below from this list.



2015:   SpaceX’s Falcon 9 lands back on Earth  

Serial entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX made history when the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket successfully landed back on solid ground at Cape Canaveral in December 2015. The implication was huge: rockets which were historically one-time use engines were now reusable, potentially saving the space exploration industry billions of dollars.


2. Could be said to be part of this deep learning and A.I discussed about above.

2014: Amazon Alexa

Amazon introduced the world to Alexa in 2014, bringing the Internet of Things (IoT) into our homes. A voice-activated virtual assistant that can perform pre-set functions out-of-the-box such as set timers, share the current weather, create lists, access Wikipedia articles, Alexa has since grown both in popularity and functionality. With thousands of Alexa Skills extending its capabilities, one can now ask Alexa to order pizza, dim the room’s lighting, jot down a shopping list and automatically place an order, and more.


3. 2016: Oculus Rift

Four years after its first crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, the first commercial version of Oculus Rift launched in 2016, rekindling interest in virtual reality (VR) all over the world. Oculus overshot its funding goal many times over before its acquisition by Facebook. Oculus Rift focused on gaming at launch, but its success led to more competition and innovation in the fields of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Put simply, the Oculus Rift made virtual reality more affordable (though not too much!) for the masses. newer products like Oculus Go—a more portable VR headset—and Microsoft’s Hololens, an AR headset, continue to show many potential applications and benefits. Hololens, in particular, has helped surgeons to understand a patient’s unique anatomy quickly and accurately, while the police have used it ‘record’ and revisit crime scenes!


Add onto this the Oculus Quest that has as much power as any attached to computer headset as a standalone and you have a very healthy and promising future!



Google’s driverless car gets a driving license

Many companies developed driverless car technologies simultaneously, so it’s hard to pinpoint an exact year when driverless cars became ‘real’. But Google’s car getting an official driver’s license from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles feels like a significant landmark for driverless car technology.

Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

    Born Again Singularitarian

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Simple answer from me. Certainly not the tech itself, but its deployment: solar power. And I suppose you can include electric vehicles into that mix.


The success of solar & EVs in the past decade has been nothing short of miraculous. We started with around 40 gigawatts of installed capacity worldwide in 2010 and are now moving towards the 700 GW range (when many predicted that 200 GW was the highest we'd do at the start of the decade).

As far back as 2014, it was clear that some amazing growth was occurring in the field of solar power. 

Solar power supplied about 3% of global electricity demand in 2019.

Reminder that it reached 1% in 2015. And as Kurzweil has said before, once it reaches 1%, then due to exponential growth, it's already half-way there. This after decades of otherwise modest growth. It took 60 years to get to 1% and then just five more to (more than) triple that to 3%.


I want to remind people where electric vehicles were circa 2010 vs. where they are today. IIRC, the number of purely electric vehicles in 2010 was around 50,000. As of today, it's well over 6 million (it was 5.6 million in 2019). 


There's a lot of room for growth, but it's still been amazing to see.

And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.

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