The 2010s

A decade where global economies sought to recover from the crash of 2008, and tech giants became the new superpowers.

57 million
Internet of Things
The sharing economy

The Rise of Artificial Intelligence

The 2010s witnessed a remarkable surge in the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies, particularly in the realms of machine learning and deep learning.

These advancements have revolutionized various industries, from healthcare and finance to transportation and entertainment. For instance, AI-powered algorithms have enabled the creation of self-driving cars, while machine learning has facilitated the development of personalized algorithms to recommend content on platforms like Netflix and Amazon.


One of the most notable AI breakthroughs in the 2010s was the emergence of deep learning, a subset of machine learning that utilizes artificial neural networks to mimic the human brain’s decision-making process.

This technology has led to significant advancements in natural language processing, image recognition, and speech synthesis. For example, Google’s DeepMind developed AlphaGo, an AI program that defeated the world champion of the ancient Chinese board game Go, a feat previously thought to be impossible for a machine.

The Gig Economy

The gig economy grew rapidly in the 2010s with the rise of freelance and contract work on platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and Uber. This provided flexible work opportunities for millions of people, but also disrupted traditional industries like taxis.


However, the gig economy raised concerns about job security, worker rights, and income inequality, as many gig workers lacked benefits and protections. Despite these challenges, the gig economy continues to expand, with an estimated 57 million Americans participating in freelance work as of 2019

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the interconnected network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings, and other objects that are embedded with sensors, software, and connectivity to exchange data and perform automated tasks.

As everyday devices became increasingly connected and capable of sharing data the 2010s has seen a significant growth of this industry.

These developments have led to the introduction of smart homes, where appliances, lighting, and security systems can be controlled remotely through smartphones or voice-activated assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home.


The IoT has also had a profound impact on industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, and healthcare. For example, IoT-enabled sensors can monitor soil moisture levels in real-time, allowing farmers to optimize irrigation and conserve water.

In healthcare, wearable devices like Fitbit and Apple Watch can track vital signs and provide personalized health recommendations. As the IoT continues to expand, it is expected to play an even more significant role in shaping the future of business and technology.

The Growth of Virtual Reality

The 2010s marked a turning point for virtual reality (VR) technologies, as advancements in hardware and software made immersive experiences more accessible to consumers.

Companies like Oculus, HTC, and Sony released VR headsets that allowed users to explore virtual worlds and engage in interactive experiences. These developments have had far-reaching implications for various industries.


For instance, VR has been used to train medical professionals in surgical procedures, allowing them to practice in a risk-free environment.

In the gaming industry, VR has given rise to a new generation of immersive experiences, with titles like Beat Saber garnering widespread acclaim.

Although critics are quick to point out both VR hardware (devices) and software (experiences) have a long way to go, its applications are expected to expand further, transforming the way we live, work, and play.

The Emergence of Blockchain


The invention of blockchain technology in the late 2000s laid the foundation for a new era of digital currencies and decentralized applications.

Blockchain is a complex technology, but at a very simple level it is a way of decentralizing computer networks. Rather than relying on a single, privately owned server for conducting transactions online, blockchains allow transactions to be conducted on a decentralized network of computers. This means no one individual or organization has control of the network.

The 2010s saw the rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which leveraged blockchain’s secure, transparent, and tamper-proof ledger system to facilitate peer-to-peer transactions without the need for intermediaries like banks.

Blockchain technology has also found applications beyond cryptocurrencies, with industries such as supply chain management, healthcare, and real estate exploring its potential to improve efficiency, transparency, and security.

For example, IBM and Walmart have collaborated on a blockchain-based system to track food products from farm to store, enhancing traceability and reducing the risk of contamination.

The Growth of E-Sports

The 2010s have witnessed the meteoric rise of competitive gaming, or e-sports, as a mainstream form of entertainment.

With millions of fans tuning in to watch professional gamers compete in titles like League of Legends, Dota 2, and Overwatch, the e-sports industry has grown exponentially, attracting significant investment and sponsorship, as well as viewing-platform businesses, like Twitch, acquired by Amazon.

E-sports tournaments now offer substantial prize pools, with The International, an annual Dota 2 championship, boasting a record-breaking $34 million prize pool in 2019.


The growth of e-sports has also led to the establishment of dedicated arenas, collegiate programs, and even the consideration of e-sports as a potential Olympic event. As the industry continues to evolve, e-sports is poised to become an even more prominent fixture in the world of sports and entertainment.

The Rise of Subscription Services

As companies like Netflix and Spotify revolutionised the way consumers access content on demand through a subscription model, traditional industries that typically sold packaged goods like CDs or DVDs, were deemed obsolete.


This subscription model has expanded to other industries as well, including software (Adobe Creative Cloud), meal kits (Blue Apron), and even clothing (Rent the Runway).

The success of these services can be attributed to their convenience, personalization, and the ability to provide consumers with a seemingly endless array of options. As more businesses adopt subscription models, the way we consume products and services is likely to continue evolving, as well as the prevalence of advertising within these services.

The Emergence of 3D Printing

The development of 3D printing technology in the 2010s has had a transformative impact on various industries, from manufacturing and construction to healthcare and fashion. By enabling the creation of complex, customized objects layer by layer, 3D printing has opened up new possibilities for innovation and efficiency.


In healthcare, 3D printing has been used to create prosthetics, dental implants, and even human tissue for transplantation. In the automotive and aerospace industries, 3D-printed components have reduced production costs and improved fuel efficiency. As 3D printing technology continues to advance, its applications are expected to become even more diverse and far-reaching.

The Growth of the Sharing Economy

As platforms like Uber and Airbnb continued to expand, they have come to define the sharing economy. By connecting individuals with underutilized assets (such as cars or homes) to those in need of these resources, these platforms have disrupted traditional industries and created new opportunities for income generation.

It is also noteworthy that Airbnb does not own hotels and Uber does not own cars, significantly lowering the barrier to the startup capital needed to create global businesses.

The sharing economy has also given rise to other innovative platforms, such as TaskRabbit (for outsourcing everyday tasks) and Turo (for car rentals).

However, the growth of the sharing economy has not been without controversy, as concerns about worker rights, safety, and regulatory compliance have emerged. Despite these challenges, the sharing economy continues to thrive, reshaping the way we think about ownership and consumption.

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