This is the 21st century. Of course, you already knew that. It began on January 1, 2001, and will end on December 31, 2100. Perhaps, you knew that too.
But that is not the point. The world is growing at a fast pace. The world population began the century at 6.1 billion and grew to about 7 billion within a decade. New inventions are being made. Have you heard of the selfie stick? Now, you can even take a selfie on a stick! Gone are the days of having your giant head (assuming your head is as big as mine) block out everything else in sight.
There is a debate among experts and the general public on how to pronounce specific years of the 21st century in English. Experts suggest that since former years such as 1805 and 1905 were commonly pronounced as ‘eighteen oh five’ and ‘nineteen oh five’, the year 2005 should naturally have been pronounced as ‘twenty oh five’.
The early years of the 21st century were pronounced as ‘two-thousand and five’, with a change taking place in 2010, where pronunciation shifted between ‘two-thousand and ten’ and ‘twenty-ten’.
With new technologies and the trend towards implantable electronics, it is only a matter of time before human bodies are composed more of inorganic materials than organic.
These electronic implants include digital wristwatches, horns, etc.
Where some people might be going more for shock value, others see body modifications as a form of art or self-expression. Teeth sharpening, ear elongations, lip plates, nose studs and giraffe necks, to name a few, beauty truly lies in the eye of the beholder.
The rise of multitasking has been fuelled by technology and by social
change as well. Your friends can reach you on your work email account at 10 o’clock in the morning, while your boss can reach you on your mobile phone at 10 o’clock at night. You can do your weekly shopping while sitting at your desk and you can handle a work query in the queue at the supermarket. Students do everything at once; flipping through homework while chatting on WhatsApp, listening to music and watching Game of Thrones.
21st Century worker-citizens need to be able to locate, assess, and represent new information quickly. They need to be able to communicate this to others, and to be able to work productively in collaboration with others. They need to be adaptable, creative and innovative, and to be able to understand things at a ‘big picture’ level.
The 21st century years have thus far been marked by the rise of a global economy and Third World consumerism, mistrust in government, deepening global concern over terrorism and an increase in the power of private enterprises.
Active conflicts continue around the world, including civil wars and xenophobic attacks. Nigeria has witnessed Boko Haram menace. Violence continues in the Arab–Israeli conflict.
Genocide still remains a problem in this century with the concern of the war in Darfur and the growing concern in Sri Lanka. Low estimates on the deaths in Darfur stand around 200,000 deaths with 2.5 million in displacement.
Concerns about stress from the overuse of mobile phones, the Internet and related technologies remain controversial.
Increasingly, the legal, social and military battle led by governments
against drug cartels around the world show little results in ending drug trading and consumption, and a constant increase in the lives taken from this struggle.
Horrible diseases have become pandemic. In 2014,Ebola virus broke out, prompting the largest ever epidemic, with more than 20,000 cases. AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria each kill over a million people annually. Antibiotic resistance, flu variations and SARS remain causes of concern.
Technology developments show no sign of slowing. Since the introduction of smartphones and tablets with 3G and 4G, mobile devices are connected with the internet.
Social networking has emerged as a popular social communication. Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google Plus, etc are major examples of social websites to gain widespread popularity.
Same-sex marriage has slowly become more accepted, and has become legal in some countries. Battles over pro- or anti-gay legislation has provoked much activism in the streets and on the Internet.
Microcredit lending has also started
to gain a profile as a useful anti-poverty tool in some parts of the world.
Climate scientists have postulated that the earth is undergoing significant anthropogenic (human-induced) global warming. The resulting economic and ecological costs are hard to predict.
The increasing popularity of digital formats for entertainment media such as movies and music, and the ease of copying and distributing it via the Internet and peer-to-peer networks, has raised concerns in the media industry about copyright infringement.
At the start of the 21st century, sports were very popular. Football is the most popular sport worldwide with the FIFA World Cup the most viewed football event. Clubs and jerseys. Football fans use their clubs’ accesories (jerseys, wristbands, portraits, keyholders, etc) to demonstrate “Hey, this is my football club. Y’all got any problem with it?”
With all these, I’m not sure if we can actually say the world has become a BETTER place. Maybe. Maybe not.