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The Greatest Inventions of the Past Decade

When the 2010s began, smartphones were in their infancy, artificial intelligence had few consumer-facing applications, and self-driving cars were a sci-fi fantasy. A lot has changed. As 2019 comes to a close, here’s a look back at some of the best and most important inventions of the decade.

1. ​Google Assistant

Unlike the early iterations of A.I. that could, say, identify faces in photos or beat you in chess but not do much else, Google Assistant is clickbet88 perhaps the closest thing yet to what’s known as general artificial intelligence. The Assistant, installed on the Google Home smart speaker, Google phones, and other devices, converses with people primarily by voice. At your command, it can compose messages, make calendar reminders, or scan the internet for answers to questions–sometimes with a dose of humor–and can instantly translate spoken words into 27 different languages. When it comes to accurately understanding what you want, it’s leaving Siri and Alexa in its dust.

2. Crispr

The technology is still in its early days, but there’s no denying the world-changing potential of the gene-editing system known as Crispr. Essentially a process for slicing out undesired strands of DNA–i.e., disease–and replacing them with new ones, the tech is being used by scientists and startups to try to cure diseases from sickle cell anemia to cancer. An ongoing patent battle between Berkeley and MIT over who owns the right to license the technology hasn’t slowed down its use. A Chinese scientist revealed in late 2018 that he’d created genetically modified human embryos, so it’s entirely possible we’ll look back in a few decades and say this is where humanity went wrong. But here’s to being optimistic.

3. SpaceX’s Reusable Rocket

Say what you will about Elon Musk the Twitter user–his ideas are visionary, and when he executes, his inventions can be world-changing. SpaceX spent much of the decade developing its reusable rocket system. In December 2015, when its Falcon 9 rocket launched, delivered a payload into orbit, and then landed at Cape Canaveral, it ushered in a new era of space travel. A Falcon 9 launch costs about $62 million, or $2,500 per pound of cargo–one-quarter of what it cost a decade ago–which has helped make space accessible to startups. And it could also come in handy if, you know, we ever need to abandon Earth entirely and move civilization to Mars.

4. ​Venmo

The concept is extraordinarily simple: Send money to people instantly by tapping a few buttons on your smartphone.Launched by college roommates Andrew Kortina and Iqram Magdon-Ismail in 2010, Venmo created a new way for people to split their dining bills or pay their rent and left a generation wondering how their predecessors ever settled IOUs. The company, which was purchased by PayPal in 2015, boasts 40 million annual users–a digital customer base larger than that of most major banks–and expects its 2019 payment volume to exceed $100 billion.

5. Nest Thermostat

Who would have guessed there would be a market for an attractively designed thermostat? Tony Fadell, the inventor of the iPod, and former Apple engineer Matt Rogers. The pair founded smart thermostat company Nest in 2010, a surprising pivot after designing one of the most popular gadgets in history. Nest’s thermostat lets you preprogram a temperature schedule. It learns your habits over time and, based on motion sensing and devices that are connected to your Wi-Fi, can tell whether someone is home and adjust accordingly. This all lowers the amount of energy your home uses when you’re not home, saving customersmoney and the planet from unnecessary carbon emissions. It’s perhaps no surprise then that Google paid $3.2 billion for Nest in 2014.

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