Here’s the ways technology impacted your life in 2016

There was no shortage of news from the world of technology in 2016, good and bad.

While we made big steps towards a world of self-driving cars, this year also saw one of the biggest hacks of all time.

Here’s the ways technology made a big impact on our lives in 2016.

You were asked one more question at airports

“Do you have a Samsung Galaxy Note 7?”

Airport staff weren’t interested in a smartphone recommendation. The were worried about the phone exploding mid-flight.

Despite being well received by critics, the first reports of the phone exploding came from South Korea less than a week after it went on sale.

It was recalled, then replacement devices started exploding, so Samsung recalled the device again. Airlines worldwide banned the devices on flights.

Finally after stopping all sales, Samsung permanently discontinued production of the Galaxy Note 7.

Experts think the whole debacle could cost Samsung up to $17 billion and tarnish its other phone products.

You forked out for some fancy new headphones

Apple pulled the wraps off the iPhone 7 in September and as expected, the company removed the 3.5mm headphone jack that’s been the industry standard since the Walkman.

Along with the announcement, the tech giant showed off its new wireless headphones. People got mad.

But tech analysts said this was just the latest in a long line of moves by Apple to try and steer the technology market.

Whether or not it pays off is yet to be seen. Not long after, Google announced its big push into the smartphone market with the Pixel. Complete with headphone jack.

You got super mad about #censusfail

Holy cow were you upset about the 2016 census, which was conducted online for the first time.

The website crashed on census night and didn’t come back online for 40 hours.

We’ve since found out there were DDoS cyber attacks from overseas, but that problems could have been fixed by turning a router off and on again.

Don’t worry though, in a Senate committee inquiry looking at the whole shemozzle, the ABS promised it had learned its lesson and the 2021 census would be much better.

You got the chance to log off from real life

This was the year virtual reality stopped being an interesting (and expensive) experiment and became a full blown consumer product.

Sony (Playstation VR), Facebook (Oculus Rift), Samsung (Gear VR) and Google (Daydream) all launched virtual reality headsets this year.

With the world’s largest companies pushing the technology, Australia’s virtual reality industry is calling for more investment$US2.16 trillion by 2035.

And it’s not just gamers making use of the technology. Alzheimer’s Australia is using virtual reality to help people with dementia, reducing the need for medication.

Robots can now do another thing better than you

Self-driving cars took some big leaps towards becoming a reality this year.

The United States adopted its first nationwide guidelines on self-driving cars (including requirements that the cars make ethical decisions).

Back home, the wraps came off the first self-driving car to be developed in Australia

Advocates say the cars could go a long way to reducing road trauma and congestion.

You got the chance to be the very best, like no-one ever was

For a hot minute in 2016, Pokemon Go was all anyone could talk about.

The augmented reality game was installed on more smartphones than dating app Tinder and had more daily users than Twitter…for a while.

It was even going to save Nintendo.

Then people started crashing cars while trying to snare a Charmander and a player even discovered a dead body while playing in the US.

While it’s no longer as popular as it was, at least for a moment in 2016 we stopped talking about the things that divided us, and all went for a walk to catch a Snorlax instead.

You had to change your passwords

It seems like everyone and everything was hacked at some point this year.

An email hack plagued Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president. The CIA now says Russia was behind the hacking.

Yahoo revealed more than a billion user accounts had been stolen in one of the biggest hacks in history and a group called Fancy Bears leaked private medical records of athletes from the World Anti Doping agency.

And that’s just to name a few.

TL;DR: If you haven’t already changed your password this year, you should have

You had to read a lot more than just the headline

Oxford Dictionaries picked “post-truth” as the Word of the Year, and the explosion of fake news had plenty to do with it.

Experts say the proliferation of fake news in 2016 influenced the US election and it can be surprisingly hard to pick the real from the fake.

Facebook, where many bogus news stories spread, said it would introduce tools so users could help stop the spread of fake news.

So along with taking the time to change your password, from 2016 it’s best to take a critical eye to the news you read on the internet.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.


© 2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. Read the ABC Disclaimer here

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