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Chantel Brink
Chantel Brink
March 21, 2024 ·  5 min read

40 Things That Didn’t Exist 40 Years Ago

In the whirlwind of technological advancement and societal evolution, it’s fascinating to take a moment and reflect on the myriad of innovations that have shaped our lives over the past four decades. From the emergence of the internet to the revolution in personal computing, the world we inhabit today would be virtually unrecognizable to someone transported from 40 years ago. Let’s journey through time and explore 40 things that didn’t exist back then.


Selective Focus Photography of Person Holding Turned on Smartphone
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In 1982, the concept of a handheld device that could connect you to the world at your fingertips was pure science fiction.

Social Media

Photo of Laptop Near Plant
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Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have transformed how we connect and communicate with each other.

GPS Navigation

Turned on Black Gps Monitor
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Getting lost on a road trip was a common occurrence before GPS technology became accessible to the masses.

Wireless Internet

Office devices. Smart phone. Creative tools.
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The ability to access the internet without being tethered to a modem was inconceivable in 1982.

Streaming Services

Netflix on an Imac
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Binge-watching your favorite TV shows on platforms like Netflix and Hulu was a distant dream.

Digital Cameras

Woman In White Shirt Holding Analog Camera
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Film cameras dominated the market, and the idea of instantly capturing and sharing photos was yet to come.


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Kindle and other e-readers have revolutionized the way we read books, making libraries portable.

Electric Cars

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With concerns over climate change growing, electric vehicles have become increasingly popular alternatives to traditional cars.

Online Shopping

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The convenience of browsing and purchasing goods from the comfort of your home was unimaginable 40 years ago.

Artificial Intelligence

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AI has infiltrated various aspects of our lives, from virtual assistants to self-driving cars.

Blockchain Technology

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The foundation of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, blockchain technology has the potential to reshape industries.

Read More: 10 Things You Should Avoid Eating on a Cruise

Biometric Security

Finger scan
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Unlocking your phone with your fingerprint or face was the stuff of science fiction in the 1980s.

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

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Immersive technologies have transformed entertainment and education.


Grey Quadcopter Drone
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Once reserved for military use, drones are now utilized for photography, delivery services, and more.

3D Printing

3d printer. Home lab
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The ability to manufacture objects layer by layer has opened up endless possibilities in manufacturing and prototyping.

High-Definition Television (HDTV)

Turned-on Flat Screen Smart Television Ahead
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The crystal-clear picture quality of HDTV sets a new standard for home entertainment.

Bluetooth Technology

Close-up of a Radio in a Car
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Wireless connectivity between devices has made syncing and sharing data seamless.


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The democratization of video content creation has given rise to countless creators and communities.


Yellow Smiley Emoji Painted Eggs
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Communicating with tiny pictographs to express emotions was a concept yet to be realized.

Electric Skateboards and Scooters

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Eco-friendly alternatives to traditional transportation have gained popularity in urban areas.

Fitness Trackers

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Monitoring your health and activity levels with wearable devices was unheard of in 1982.

Online Dating

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Finding love through the internet was a novel concept that has since become commonplace.

Selfie Sticks

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The rise of smartphones gave birth to the phenomenon of the selfie, necessitating tools to capture the perfect shot.

Voice-Activated Assistants

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Controlling your home devices and accessing information with voice commands was unimaginable four decades ago.

Online Gaming

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Multiplayer gaming communities and esports leagues have transformed gaming culture.

Read More: 11 Things I’m Teaching My Kids By Age 10

Reusable Rockets

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SpaceX’s advancements in rocket technology have made space travel more cost-effective and sustainable.

Gene Editing

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CRISPR technology has opened up possibilities for treating genetic diseases and altering DNA.

Hybrid and Electric Vehicles

Hybrid car
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The push for greener transportation options has led to the widespread adoption of hybrid and electric cars.

Instant Messaging

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Communicating in real-time with people across the globe was a futuristic concept in 1982.

Cloud Computing

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Storing and accessing data remotely has revolutionized how businesses operate and individuals store information.


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Competitive gaming tournaments with huge prize pools were unheard of in the 1980s.

Smart Home Devices

Brown Speaker on the Table
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Controlling your home’s lighting, temperature, and security remotely was the stuff of science fiction.

Online Learning Platforms

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Access to educational resources and courses from top institutions worldwide has never been easier.

Digital Music Streaming

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The days of buying physical CDs or cassette tapes are long gone, thanks to platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

Instant Translation Tools

A Person using a Laptop
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Language barriers are no longer insurmountable obstacles, thanks to real-time translation apps and devices.


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The rise of digital currencies like Bitcoin has disrupted traditional financial systems.

Electric Toothbrushes

Electric Toothbrushes
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The humble toothbrush received a high-tech upgrade, promising cleaner teeth and healthier gums.

Space Tourism

Space Tourism
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Companies like Virgin Galactic and SpaceX are paving the way for civilians to travel to space.

Plant-Based Meat Alternatives

Plant based burger
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Concerns over environmental sustainability and animal welfare have fueled the popularity of plant-based meat substitutes.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

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Access to free or low-cost courses from prestigious universities has democratized education.

As we marvel at the innovations that have transformed our world over the past four decades, it’s exciting to imagine what the next 40 years will bring. With technology advancing at an exponential rate, the possibilities seem limitless, and the future promises to be even more extraordinary.

Read More: 15 Things You Need to Do When You Move into Your New Home


  1. “50 words that didn’t exist 100 years ago” Daily Inkling. Kimberly Palmer. November 14, 2013.
  2. “50 years of changes: 6 money problems that didn’t exist then” Review Journal. Cynthia Measom. October 30, 2021.
  3. “20 things we don’t do anymore because of technology” USA Today. Kim Komando. May 5, 2017.
  4. “40 Things That Didn’t Exist 40 Years Ago” Good Housekeeping. Brie Dyas. October 10, 2017.