There can be no doubt that the twentieth century
is one of the most remarkable in human history for its previously unparalleled rate of technological
advances and scientific discoveries, a rate that continues to this day. In fact, there were so many new gadgets invented
and discoveries made in the last century that it’s difficult to pare the list down to
just the ten (which is why there will be a number of glaring omissions from my list). However, I think I have managed to whittle
it down to those ten innovations or technologies that have had the greatest influence on humanity—both
positively and the negatively. And so, without further ado and in no particular
order, here are my nominees for the Most Important Inventions of the 20th Century of the twentieth
century. 10. Nuclear Power Nuclear power was to the twentieth century
what steam power had been to the nineteenth: a game changer. Suddenly humanity had a power source that
didn’t pollute, was efficient and practically unlimited, and so had the potential to change
the planet overnight. Unfortunately, it was a two-edged sword in
that this same energy source could be used to create the most destructive weapons in
history, threatening human survival with its very presence. Additionally, while nuclear power plants didn’t
spew pollutants into the air, in the hands of the truly incompetent they had the capacity
to render whole regions radioactive and, as such, uninhabitable for generations (as was
demonstrated at Chernobyl in 1986). However, it is hard to deny the overall positive
impact nuclear power has had. The fear of mutually assured destruction probably
prevented the world from experiencing a third world war and, when operated safely, nuclear
power plants truly are a superb and cost-efficient energy source that has the capacity to power
entire cities. The only question is whether we’re mature
enough to handle that power into the next century. 9. The Personal Computer It’s difficult to imagine our world today
without computers. Of course, they have been around since World
War Two, but they were clunky, massively expensive things that had all the calculating power
of a brick. When Steve Wozniak and Stephen Jobs introduced
the Apple in 1976, however, it changed everything and the rest is, as they say, history. Today, of course, they are everywhere and
we have become so dependent upon them that many people almost feel naked without one. For some, they even provide the very means
of maintaining a livelihood: we use them to keep track of our finances, write books, design
logos and sell real estate. Plus, they are rapidly replacing the stereo
and television in their ability to entertain us with music, movies, and games. Makes it hard to understand how our ancestors
did so well without them, doesn’t it? 8. The Airplane Just as the locomotive made the world a smaller
place in the nineteenth century, the airplane did the same for us in the twentieth century,
shrinking our planet to the point that a person could fly anywhere in the world in a matter
of hours. Not only have they made travel quick and safe,
but aircraft provide many other services as well: from crop dusting and fighting forest
fires to overnight delivery of packages and chasing hurricanes. They have also revolutionized warfare, turning
battle into a long-range affair fought at arm’s length by machines of such sophistication
that the way wars are fought has completely changed. Of course, they’ve also been responsible
for leveling whole cities and bringing war to the civilian population—who had rarely
been directly affected by war until the twentieth century—but then no invention is perfect. 7. The Automobile Though under development in Europe during
the nineteenth century, the automobile didn’t really become a practical and reliable source
of transportation until the twentieth century. Once it did, it changed everything; overnight
the horse and buggy became quaint anachronisms while much of the country was paved over to
make room for endless ribbons of asphalt. It also brought about a revolution in the
market place, suddenly making it possible to truck in goods that otherwise would be
impossible to acquire. Most of all, Henry Ford’s assembly-line
production style made the automobile affordable and accessible to the average person (before
Ford’s Model T was introduced in 1908, only the fabulously wealthy could afford a car). The automobile gave everyone a degree of mobility
and personal freedom our forefathers could only dream of, and turned entire generations
of teenagers into raging revheads. 6. Rocketry While the rocket was first invented and used
by the Chinese over three thousand years ago—and used occasionally by the Greeks and Romans
since —it wasn’t until the twentieth century that it came into its own and became more
than just a dazzling amusement or a largely harmless but still effective “terror weapon”
for ancient armies. In the twentieth century, rockets became bigger
and more powerful. Most importantly, they became controllable,
which suddenly made them useful both as weapons of war and, even more vitally, as our means
of accessing outer space. Without the rocket, it is safe to say we would
not only have never gone to the moon or visited every planet in our solar system. Rockets also place satellites into orbit around
our planet, so without them we also wouldn’t be able to use GPS, predict the weather, make
international calls or, for the most part, even use our cell phones much of the time. 5. The Submarine Though submersible vessels had been used in
the past (the CSS Hunley during the Civil War) and the first true submarine was invented
in the 1880’s, it wasn’t until the twentieth century that the modern submarine came into
its own. What started as an irritating, but still deadly,
weapon in World War One grew into a monstrosity in World War Two- sinking more than any other
type of weapon used. Today, with the advent of nuclear power—which
gave the submarine nearly unlimited range and endurance—it has become the capital
warship in every first-class Navy in the world and as such has effectively rendered naval
warfare of the past obsolete. How effective is the modern submarine? Ask anyone who has ever served on one. They’ll tell you there’s only two types
of ships in the world: submarines and targets. ‘Nuff said. 4. Antibiotics Until Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin
in 1928, almost any little bug that someone picked up was potentially fatal. Once penicillin—and later a whole range
of other antibiotics—came on the scene, however, death due to bacterial infection
became rare, resulting in a greatly reduced mortality rate and much longer life-span. It also rendered many scourges of the past—from
small pox and typhoid to gonorrhea and syphilis—obsolete or, at least in the case of venereal disease,
something easily treatable. 3. Television Yes, I know it destroys brain cells and renders
people emotionally and psychologically damaged, but really, where would we be without the
boob tube? It is society’s baby-sitter, news source,
teacher, entertainer, and story-teller. When in competent hands, television can even
be useful at times. Mostly, though, it fills our days with vapidity
and all manner of inane and obnoxious commercials, and is the single greatest reason that families
no longer eat in the kitchen or dining room anymore, but instead huddle in the living
room around their television eating microwavable food and spilling soft drinks on the sofa. Still, even while we pretend we hate it, we
can’t help but seeing what’s on tonight. Worse, most of us would have no idea what
to do with our time without it, which is probably the saddest commentary of all. 2. The Internet
Image result for first internet The computer rendered the typewriter obsolete
and made writing in long-hand a thing of the past, but it took the internet to truly turn
the computer into the monster it is today. While the airplane shrank our planet to the
point that one could fly from New York to London in six hours, the internet made it
possible to be there in a few seconds. It allows truth to make it into and out of
repressive countries, it foments revolutions, and spreads lies at the speed of light. It also gives anyone the ability to buy and
sell almost anything imaginable, find and torment old school mates, watch the latest
you-tube videos, and even find their perfect life partner, all for a few bucks a month. Oh, and you can also get useful information
off it if you don’t mind scrolling through 15,000 hits to find out just how long snails
really live. Where would we be without it? 1. Radio Few people today can appreciate the impact
the advent of radio had on the twentieth century. Not only did it suddenly make it possible
for a person to be heard from hundreds or even thousands of miles away without the use
of a wire (quite an accomplishment in the first years of the century) but it was the
center of family life through the end of the Second World War and into the doldrums of
the fifties, when it was gradually replaced by that new-fangled contraption, the television. Today, it seems to only be useful in the car
as a means of keeping the driver from falling asleep behind the wheel or as a tool of talk
radio designed to rile the masses. In its day, however, it was every bit as vital
to existence as the television, the computer, the microwave, and the cell phone are to us

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Glaring omissions? Simon, who are you trying to fool? We KNOW you, You guys are just going to produce a More best Inventions, then a part 2, 3, 4, 5… until you have thoroughly covered the subject from every possible conceivable angle.

  2. 5:35 I haven't watched or owned a TV since 2010. It's going obsolete, these days anything remotely worth watching is getting streamed and torrented anyway. As a bonus the ads have also been removed.

  3. Tesla’s Free Energy, which has been suppressed for a 100 yrs. Maybe it will get its comeuppance this next century… 🤔

  4. With out doubt the most important inventions . But It's depend circunstances. To improve our lives or cause catastrofrophe?!

  5. "… rarely affected by war before the 20th Century"? Really? I think you might find that there were quite a few civilian deaths in war long before the 20th Century. Ever read the Bible?

  6. Probably the biggest omissions form the list are the transistor and microchip. They are the things that make most of other items on the possible.

  7. The transistor. Without it, life as we know it wouldn't exist.
    Edit: Transistors somehow made possible or improved upon everything on this list.

  8. The first submarine was the turtle it was use in the revolutionary war. The first and only time it was used it failed but made it back to land and was destroyed to keep it from falling into the wrong hands

  9. I get along quite well without a TV. I took my one and only TV to the dump over 10 years ago. Now my computer, well I could not get along without it.

  10. The thermos. It keeps cold things cold in summer and hot things hot in winter. How do it know?!

    /very old, bad joke

  11. 1:50
    Script written by an Apple fanboy? Woz and Jobs didn't invent personal computer. They didn't even build the first mass-marketed PC.

  12. You should do one similar to this but with most important inventions in human history (the wheel, electricity,etc…)

  13. Population of world

    1/2 billion in the year 1500
    2 billion in 1927
    Expected – 8 billion in 2020

    It took a hair over 400 years to quadruple the world population. Its taken less than 100 years to quadruple that again.

    What changed? In the 1928 the first antibiotic was discovered. Maybe the antibiotics made us smarter somehow because about 50 years after technology unfolded exponentially.

  14. A thought past through my mind and as the last feeble neuron fired I heard the word 'antibiotic'. The thought ? Antibiotics. The only one of the top ten designed to save lives. You could have mentioned 'jelly babies' or' Marmite'.

  15. You're quite wrong about Jobs and Wozniak "inventing" the personal computer. They were pipped to the post by about twenty years by Olivetti, surprisingly, who invented the Programma 101. This was a personal computer that was used by the hundred by NASA, amongst many others, to put man on the moon.

  16. Without restroom cabinet filled with all sort of vitamins and medicines.
    Our lifespan would be as short as it was hundred years ago.

  17. In the captions:

    "The most important inventions of the 20th Century of the twentieth century".

    Glad we got THAT out of the way. It'd be interesting to see what the most important inventions of the 21st century of the twentieth century or of the 20th Century of the twenty-first century.

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