2000s in science and technology

This page contains major developments and trends in Science and Technology for the 2000s decade.


Computing and Internet

* A huge jump in broadband internet usage globally, for example from 6% of U.S. internet users in June, 2000 [cite web|author=Bethea, Neil, Jacob Williams and Yiwen Yu|title=Broadband services in the United States|quote=Growth of Broadband Users:June 2000:total:4,367,434|publisher=Ohio State University|month=June|year=2003|pages=9|url=] to what one mid-decade study predicts will be 62% by 2010 [cite web|last=Sharma|first=Dinesh|title=Study: Broadband penetration to surge by 2010|date=2005-08-02|publisher=CNET News.com|url=http://news.com.com/Study+Broadband+penetration+to+surge+by+2010/2100-1034_3-5815756.html] . However, by February 2007, it had already exceeded 80% usage, and signs show that it will continue in its current trend. [cite web|url=http://www.websiteoptimization.com/bw/0703/|title=US Broadband Penetration Breaks 80% Among Active Internet Users|publisher=WebSiteOptimization.com|month=May|year=2007]
* Boom in music downloading and the use of data compression to quickly transfer music over the Internet, with a corresponding rise of portable digital audio players typified by Apple Inc.'s iPod, and more recently Microsoft's Zune. Digital music sales rise, accounting for 6% of all music sales in 2005. [cite web|title=Digital Music Sales Booming|date=2006-01-19|author=Associated Press|publisher=Wired News|url=,70045-0.html]
** The first iPod is launched by apple 2001, and grows to iconic status throughout the decade. As with the 90's Apple design inspires consumer electronics design fashions, in this case favouring a minimalistic white plastic look.
* Google and Yahoo search engines increases trafficability of the internet and "to Google" becomes a verb.
* Flash technology reaches the point of being able to make video players. As a result, YouTube, a website which allows uploading and viewing videos, is created. YouTube's popularity grows explosively and it is acquired by Google.
* Due to an increase in ability to store data, USB flash drives rapidly replace zip disks and 3.5-inch diskettes.
* Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003 become the ubiquitous industry standard in personal computer software.
** Although Microsoft does release new versions of Windows and of Office, they are widely criticized by the public and receive little acceptance. POV-statement|date=September 2008
* Open source and free software continues to be a notable but minority interest, with versions of Linux gaining in popularity, as well as the Mozilla Firefox web browser and the OpenOffice.org document editor.
* Blogs, portals, and wikis become common electronic dissemination methods for professionals, amateurs, and businesses to conduct knowledge management.
** Wikipedia began and grew rapidly, becoming the largest encyclopedia and most well known wiki in the world.
* Wireless networks are becoming ever more commonplace in homes, education institutes and urban public spaces.
* Peer-to-peer technology use: internet telephony (Skype), file-sharing.
* The entire videogame industry's profits surpassed the movie industry's in 2004.
* The tech bubble burst for the most part in late 2000 and after three years of negative growth the market began its rebound in 2003 and has continued to see moderate growth through 2006.
* Social networking websites like Myspace and Facebook gain in popularity.
* Smartboards in schools gain acceptance and are adopted rapidly during the middle years of the decade.


* Digital cameras become very popular due to rapid decreases in size and cost while photo resolution steadily increases. Sales of film reel cameras diminish greatly as a result.
* Graphic cards become powerful enough to render ultra-high-resolution (e.g. 1920x1200) scenes in real time with substantial detail and texture.
* Flat panel displays begin displacing cathode ray tubes.
* Digital switchover starts being enforced for television
* OLED (Organic light-emitting diode) technology revolutionizes display technology, making it possible to "print" screens on everyday objects.
* Digital video recorders (DVRs) allow consumers to modify content they watch on TV, and to record TV programs and watch them later, leading to problems as consumers can fast-forward through commercials, making them useless and saving TV show for later viewing, causing a downfall of TV viewing.Fact|date=September 2008
* Internet usage surpasses TV viewing in 2004. Satellite TV loses its ratings as network television ratings gradually increase.
* An increase in online DVD rental services such as Netflix.
* DVDs, and subsequently Blu-ray Discs, replace VCR technology as the common standard in homes and at video stores, although inexpensive VCRs and videocassettes can still be found at some thrift stores and discount stores.


* Major advances in Hybrid vehicles such as the Toyota Prius, Ford Escape, and the Honda Insight.
* Greater interest in future energy development due to global warming and the potential exhaustion of crude oil. Photovoltaics increase in popularity as a result.
* Many more computers and other technologies incorporated into vehicles such as Xenon HID headlights, GPS, DVD players, self-diagnosing systems, advanced pre-collision safety systems, memory systems for car settings, back-up sensors and cameras, in-car media systems, MP3 player compatibility, USB drive compatibility, keyless start and entry, satellite radio, voice-activation, cellphone connectivity, adaptive headlights, HUD (Head-Up-Display), infrared cameras, and Onstar (on GM models).


s became highly common, and are expanding quickly in third-world countries [] [] .]
* Due to the major success of broadband Internet connections, Voice over IP begins to gain popularity as a replacement for traditional telephone lines. Major telecommunications carriers begin converting their networks from TDM to VoIP.
* Videophones are cheap and abundant, yet even by mid-decade, they had not received much attention.
* Due to improvement in mobile phone displays and memories, most Mobile phone carriers offer video viewing services, internet services, and some offer full music downloads, such as Sprint in 2005 and more common use of Bluetooth. This leads to an almost saturation of cell phone ownership among the public and a sharp decline in the use and locations of payphones.


* Emerging use of robotics, especially telerobotics in medicine, particularly for surgery.
* Home automation and home robotics advance in North America; iRobot's "Roomba" is the most successful domestic robot and has sold 1.5 million units. (Others of interest include: Robomower, and Scooba as of May 2006)
*The first robotic vehicle completes the DARPA Grand Challenge in 2005 and becomes the first vehicle to be able to navigate itself with no external interference.
* Humanoid robots improve considerably, to the point of retailing as toys. This is typified by RoboSapien.


* Corrective eye surgery becomes popular as costs and potential risk decreases and results further improve.
* GPS (Global Positioning System) becomes very popular especially in the tracking of items or people, and the use in cars. Games that utilize the system, such as geocaching, emerge and become popular.
* The Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster occurred in February 2003.
* RFID (Radio Frequency ID) becomes widely used in retail giants such as Wal-Mart, as a way to track items and automate stocking and keeping track of items.
* Self-serve kiosks become very widely available, used for all kinds of shopping, airplane boarding passes, hotel check-ins, fast food, banking, and car rental. ATMs become nearly universal in much of the First World and very common even in poorer countries and their rural areas. [cite web|first=Simon|last=Williamson|title=Why run Windows on an ATM?|quote=Remember, a lot of banks in third world countries have ATMs.|date=2003-11-26|format=blog|url=http://simonwillison.net/2003/Nov/26/windowsOnATMs/]
* SpaceshipOne made the first privately-funded human spaceflight. (June 21, 2004)


* Astrophysicists studying the universe confirm its age at 13.7 billion years, [cite web|author=WMAP mission | title = The Age of the Universe with New Accuracy | url = http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/m_mm/mr_age.html|date=2006-03-16|publisher=NASA] discover that it will most likely expand forever without limit, and conclude that only 4% of the universe's contents are ordinary matter (the other 96% being still-mysterious dark matter and dark energy).
* The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Mission successfully reached the surface of Mars, and sent detailed data and images of the landscape there back to Earth. Whilst NASA's original mission timeline of 3 months was wrongly speculated, the Mission was overall tremendously successful in the long term, as the MER Mission continues until this day, lasting more than 3x the projected length.
* The Human Genome Project was completed. (2000)
* National Geographic and IBM fund a research project which traces every living human down to a "Scientific Adam". Human Genealogy Project. (See The Genographic Project)
* On July 29, 2005 the discovery of Eris, a Kuiper Belt object larger than Pluto, is announced. In August 2006 Pluto is demoted to a "dwarf planet" after being considered a planet for 76 years. Other "dwarf planets" in our solar system now include Ceres and Eris.
* Space tourism/Private spaceflight begins with American Dennis Tito, paying Russia $20 million USD for a week long stay to the International Space Station.
*The Voyager I spacecraft entered the heliosheath, marking its departure from our solar system.


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