Bill Gates in 2018 is many things: billionaire philanthropist, respected tech pioneer, and Reddit darling. But it's easy to forget just how much the Microsoft founder has shaped modern technology.
It turns out he made a series of predictions nearly 20 years ago that were eerily forward-thinking. Maybe he's a time traveler, or just absolutely brilliant, but you can decide that for yourself.
The internet of 1999 didn't allow these shopper-friendly tools, but apps and sites that compare everything from grocery prices to flights have been a mainstay for years now.
This prediction is straight out of the dumbphone era, but now that smartphones exist, this prediction has totally come true.
Does anyone not pay their bills online at this point? And services like WebMD have expanded into online chats to allow patients to communicate with real doctors.
This took awhile to come to fruition, but Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and others have revolutionized our world.
With the advent of dirt-cheap digital cameras and wifi connecting everything, it's pretty common to see people with constant security feeds of their home.
This sounds kinda like social media, where you log in to a website that gives you a unique, personalized experience.
Google is all over this these days, sometimes to a creepy extent. Basically, online services know almost everything about us in 2018.
Turning on the game in 2018 often involves firing up Twitter as well, as online engagement throughout the game has become a mainstay.
Again, Google was a pioneer in this field. I bought socks online a week ago and have been seeing nothing but sock ads in Chrome ever since.
This is a standby at this point. TV shows and sporting events constantly direct viewers to engage on social media or check out contests related to the programming.
Town halls have given way to municipal websites that encourage people to email, rather than call or visit. Facebook groups have also provided this.
Interests that used to occupy small niches have gone mainstream because, rather than forming a small local club, like-minded people from around the globe are able to connect through online communities.
Services like LinkedIn provide job-seekers and employers with persistent information on candidates, rather than relying on physical resumes.
For proof, ask yourself this: When was the last time you applied for a job without involving email, job sites, or online applications?
Our "gig economy" means that many independent contractors are paid for specific jobs, rather than being hired on full-time.