Things That Didn’t Exist A Decade Ago

Things That Didn’t Exist A Decade Ago

Things That Didn’t Exist A Decade Ago

So much has happened in these past few years, for most people life post-pandemic looks quite different to life before. We tend to forget how fast things change. For many of us the 90s feels like yesterday.

So let’s take a look at some of the things that weren’t around in the year 2012. What has the world gained, seen and experienced in the past decade which we couldn’t before?

A decade of inventions, events and experiences

Let’s take a look at some things which emerged in the past decade.

Social media emojis

Yup, it’s true! While many chatting platforms already had emoji and emoticon options before 2013, using emojis to react to content only became available on mainstream social media in 2013.

Tesla moves into energy

Yup, it’s true! While Tesla had a range of vehicles available before 2013 under Tesla Motors, they only moved into energy in 2013. Tesla Energy was launched in 2015 and its first factory opened in 2016. Its first solar initiatives started that same year with the acquisition of SolarCity. In 2017 the company changed its name to Tesla Inc. to indicate that it offered a range of services (not just cars).


While the social media platform which is such a hit with youngsters, it has not seen much uptake by older generations, although the number of older users is growing steadily. This is partly due to the presence of celebrities like Will Smith, Gordon Ramsay, Terry Crews, Howie Mandel and Jimmy Fallon on the platform.

International streaming subscriptions

Before 2013 international video and film streaming didn’t exist (at least not legally). The first international service of this kind was Netflix, but the company’s streaming-only services were only launched in 2010 in the USA, and the bouquet of shows and films were highly limited. It slowly started expanding across borders but only ramped up their international footprint in 2013. In 2016 they would also expand their list of films and series to include Hollywood productions, local series and films, foreign films and exclusive content. Today there are various streaming services available, the most popular being Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Showmax and Disney+.

Consumer-oriented biometrics

While things like facial recognition, voice recognition and fingerprint sensors definitely existed long before 2013, the mainstream use of these biometrics for consumer-facing products only occurred in the past decade, with apps and sensors being used to unlock phones, make calls, authenticate users when making transactions and so forth.

Global social challenges

The hit film Pitch Perfect was released in 2012, but it’s only the extended version which included the cup song by Anna Kendrick, and the official music video was only released in 2013. Following the release, videos emerged the world over of mostly kids mimicking Kendrick’s actions. The global participation coincided with the boom of ‘Gangnam Style’ clips as viewers tried to emulate Psy’s moves. Since then the world has seen a wide range of challenges, often linked to humanitarian movements or charitable causes and some which are rather nonsensical. Including the Harlem Shake, ice bucket challenge, Kylie Jenner lip challenge, bottle flipping, try-not-to-laugh challenge, Jerusalema, bottle cap challenge,


Before 2013, IoT had been used in various business, industrial and city planning areas to optimise particular processes, but it only became a part of our daily lives in the public arena in 2013. The concept of IoT is simply that of multiple devices, functions or equipment collaborating to provide a seamless experience or process which optimises efficiency in one or many ways – such as using Alexa to switch on your TV and search Google for a recipe, voice/movement activated fridges, smart traffic lights which respond to traffic flows, automated garbage sorting with the use of sensors and so forth.


Something which will have seemed completely unfathomable in 2012 is the idea of the UK ditching the EU, and yet despite some outrage and confusion around the North-South Irish border, things went ahead.


Can you believe it? While travel restrictions due to health or security hazards have existed for ages, it wasn’t until Covid struck that the world experienced what it feels like when all borders are shut down, when planes are grounded, curfews put in place, stores close, schools shut and everyone is confined to their homes.

The rise of “Fake news”

The term fake news is certainly not something new and the concept isn’t either, but it wasn’t until the last decade that it gained loads of traction. The difference from its former usage, however, is that the past decade has not only seen a massive influx of misinformation into the media and news, but people have also started using the term as an argumentation tactic a la Trump whenever they don’t agree with information they receive. The term is therefore a rather ironic one.

Cancel culture

Something most older people aren’t that familiar with (unless they were in the firing line themselves) is cancel culture. The phrase was first used in 2014 after an activist spread the hashtag #cancelColbert after the presenter had made racist remarks on his show, but it wasn’t until 2019 that it would gain mainstream traction. Cancel culture follows in the footsteps of the #MeToo movement. While #MeToo is seen as a movement for positive change, cancel culture, however isn’t always as noble. The phenomenon generally involves a sweeping outrage against a particular person or organisation which acts as a social sanction. While these movements weren’t that successful historically, they have become highly effective in boycotting celebrities, politicians and brands – usually to detrimental effect.

Some famous names who got cancelled include: Dr Seuss, Amber Heard, Harvey Weinstein, Marilyn Manson, Justin Timberlake, J.K. Rowling, McAfee, GoDaddy

Cloud computing

Cloud computing was available in a sense before 2014 (with things like AWS, iCloud, IBM smartcloud and Oracle cloud), but 2014 that cloud computing as it exists today was used (as well as multiclouds). It was only in 2016, however, that cloud computing went from ‘developer-friendly’ to developer driven. This sparked the development of cloud vendors, allowing developers to find the app tools they need ‘in the cloud’.

What will the next decade bring?

Hard to tell what we’ll see in the next ten years, but hopefully the changes ahead will be mostly good.

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