The mathematical algorithm and page ranking system created by Google for returning search results pretty much changed everything about our lives. Whether you’re writing a book, doing research for your job, or looking to order a pizza, typing a couple of random words into Google or Microsoft’s Bing will give you all the information you could possibly need. It’s fast, comprehensive, and automates a process that would literally be impossible for us to perform on our own.
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Forgot to reset your thermostat before you went on vacation? Want to program your electric range to start dinner before you arrive home? Need to turn your security system or lights on or off? All of these tasks, and lots more, can be accomplished remotely from anywhere in the world with an Internet or Wi-Fi connection. Convenience aside, the ability to do things like program your thermostat also contributes to energy efficiency and saves you money.
Photo: Steve Marcus / Reuters
Here’s an innovation that definitely comes with an asterisk. Surveillance and security systems help protect our homes and businesses, they’ve helped catch and prosecute criminals, and are used to monitor public places that could be vulnerable to terrorist attacks. But this also means that the portion of our everyday lives that Big Brother is watching has increased exponentially just in the last decade.
Minimally-invasive surgical techniques that previously required surgical incisions have helped reduce hospital stays and recovery time. Britain’s National Institute for Health Research Imperial Biomedical Research Centre states that, “In surgery, advances in medical imaging have permitted detailed pre-operative planning and intra-operative surgical guidance. One of the most promising advances in surgical technology is the introduction of robotic assisted MIS [minimally invasive surgery], which allows procedures to take place that would otherwise be prohibited by the confines of the operating environment.”
Both Amazon and eBay launched in 1995 and led the way for the thousands of e-commerce sites that followed and have transformed the way we shop. Booking travel, doing cost comparisons, and buying everything from clothes to cookware and speciality soap to a sofa online is now something that’s simply a part of every day life.
Lawrence Karol is a writer and editor who lives with his dog, Mike. He is a former Gourmet staffer and enjoys writing about design, food, travel and lots of other stuff. @WriteEditDream | Email Lawrence | TakePart.com