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  • By Joy Santamarina

How golden is your tech?

We are now into the “ber” months of September, October, November, and December which means that the year 2020 is almost over. 2020 has been a truly remarkable and surprising year for the whole world wherein life as we knew it changed and we are living, in what many have called, the new normal.

2020 is milestone year for me, not because of what is happening now, but because I turned the ripe, golden age of 50 this year. I strangely don’t feel old and still feel as young as if I’m only 22 years old.

This has got me thinking about how much technology has changed since 1970, the year I was born. After a bit of research, the results show how “golden” the tech we use so often these days actually are.

Here are five examples:

  1. The birth of modern computing is touted to have started in the 1970s with the world's first general microprocessor, the Intel 4004, coming out in November 1971. It was a 4-bit central processing unit (CPU). Today, Intel still makes the best CPUs with its 10th Generation Intel® Core™ i9 Processors deemed as one of (if not the) best and fastest processors available. Top of the range features up to 10 cores, 20 threads and DDR4-2933 memory speeds… which means super-fast.


2 The 1970s also saw the beginning of the video game era. Remember Atari? The first commercial arcade video game, Computer Space, was released in November 1971 by Atari founders Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney in partnership as Syzygy Engineering. Soon after Atari was founded and they released Home Pong, the first of many home video game consoles. Today, there are more than a million available video games online, in consoles, and apps.

3 The first-ever cellular phone was invented in the 1970s. It was invented by Motorola in 1973. As a way to celebrate the invention, Motorola senior engineer Martin Cooper cheekily called rival telecommunication company Bell Laboratories to inform them that they were speaking through a mobile phone. Since then, the world has come to embrace the technology so much. According to GSMA real-time intelligence data, it is estimated that 13 billion people in the world use mobile devices. That is 66.5 percent of the world’s population. Of this number, Statista, a German company specializing in market and consumer data, estimates that 3.5 billion will be using smartphones by the end of 2020.


4 At some point today, you will probably use this invention. Ray Tomlinson, an American computer programmer, invented the first email program in 1971. He used the ARPANET system, which was the precursor to the internet, and used the @sign to separate the user name from the machines. You will most probably use email today because it is estimated that daily email usage will breach the mind-boggling 300 billion mark in 2020.

​5 Probably not as techy, but one of the most enduring toys ever invented also had its humble beginning in the 1970s. The Rubik's Cube was first invented in 1974 (and patented the year after). It was invented by Erno Rubik, a professor, who devised it as a means of helping students understand the concept of three-dimensional problems. It has become one of the world's most popular puzzle games of all time. From its humble beginnings in the classroom, an estimated 350 billion Rubik’s cubes have been produced worldwide, not even counting the numerous replicas, remakes, and copycat products made.


There are many more technological advances made in the 1970s which give me pause and a greater appreciation of how truly golden my age is.

Enduring technologies continue to help enable people around the world in their day-to-day lives. And many more have brought fun and happiness. At times, it may seem like an addiction — the way people are glued to their mobile phones or how kids seem to always be playing video games these days. However, it is really up to us to determine how to best we use the products and technologies available us.

Joy Santamarina is a consulting principal in the APAC region specializing in the telecommunications, media, and technology industry. Send feedback to

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