In­vent­ing the Fu­ture

Bloomberg Businessweek (Asia) - - FOCUS ON/ DAVOS -

1781 Scots­man James Watt pa­tents a ro­tary mo­tion steam en­gine. 1830 The Liverpool & Manch­ester rail­way be­gins reg­u­lar com­mer­cial ser­vice.

1844 The Morse tele­graph en­ters com­mer­cial use. 1876 Alexan­der Gra­ham Bell de­vel­ops the tele­phone.

1878 Thomas Edi­son creates the in­can­des­cent light­bulb. 1886 Karl Benz is granted a pa­tent for a com­bus­tion en­gine for “auto-mo­biles.”

1907 Leo Baekeland makes Bake­lite, the first ther­moset­ting plas­tic.

1913 Ford Mo­tor en­gi­neers the first mov­ing as­sem­bly line for au­tos at its High­land Park fa­cil­ity in Michi­gan.

1916 Clarence Bird­s­eye pi­o­neers a flash­freez­ing sys­tem for preserving food.

1933 Boe­ing in­tro­duces the twin-en­gine, 10-pas­sen­ger 247, the first mod­ern com­mer­cial air­liner. 1934 E.I. du Pont de Ne­mours creates ny­lon.

1942 En­rico Fermi and col­leagues at the Univer­sity of Chicago achieve the first con­trolled, self-sus­tain­ing nu­clear chain re­ac­tion.

1947 A team at Bell Labs in­vents the tran­sis­tor.

1955 IBM en­gi­neers de­sign the first disk drive for ran­do­mac­cess stor­age of data.

1958 En­gi­neers at Texas In­stru­ments and Fairchild Semi­con­duc­tor in­de­pen­dently de­velop the in­te­grated cir­cuit.

1960 Dig­i­tal Equip­ment in­tro­duces the first “compact” com­puter, priced at $125,000 with­out soft­ware or pe­riph­er­als.

1964 Bri­tish en­gi­neer Les­lie Phillips makes car­bon fiber. 1964 Two pro­fes­sors at Dart­mouth de­velop the BA­SIC com­puter pro­gram­ming lan­guage.

1970 The first CD-ROM is patented by James Rus­sell.

1971 In­tel in­tro­duces the 4004 four-bit mi­cro­pro­ces­sor, which it dubs a “com­puter on a chip.”

1972 E-mail is pi­o­neered on the Arpanet net­work, us­ing the @ sign in a mes­sage ad­dress. 1981 The IBM Per­sonal Com­puter goes on sale.

1982 The Fed­eral Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion ap­proves com­mer­cial cel­lu­lar phone ser­vice.

1985 Mi­crosoft re­leases Win­dows 1.0. 1991 The World Wide Web be­comes avail­able to the gen­eral pub­lic.

1998 Two Stan­ford Ph.D.s in­cor­po­rate Google. 2002 Ama­ be­gins its foray into cloud com­put­ing.

2004 Darpa’s Grand Chal­lenge for self­driv­ing cars draws 15 en­trants. (Not one man­ages to com­plete the 142-mile course.)

2007 The Ap­ple iPhone de­buts. 2011 IBM’s Wat­son de­feats two hu­mans on the quiz show Jeop­ardy!

2015 GE en­gi­neers 3D-print a mini jet en­gine.

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