id=”article-body” class=”row” section=”article-body”> “Selfie,” one of the words that defined the decade aren’t all bad. I just can’t say the same for selfie sticks.
CNET This story is part of The 2010s: A Decade in Review, a series on the memes, people, products, movies and so much more that have influenced the 2010s. The decade we know as the 2010s is in its final days. Over the past few months, as part of CNET’s Decade in Review, we’ve looked back at the last 10 years with retrospectives including the best films of the decade, the top memes, the worst tech trends and 50 incredible people who left us.
Now I present 25 words, phrases and terms that tell the story of tech since 2010. Some explain deeply complex topics and others, well, are a bit frothier. So break out your dictionary and start marking in the margins, because these are the words added to our lexicon, or gaining new relevance. (And if you’re a wordsmith, I have a list of the decade’s top quotes as well.) Of course, there are many more buzzwords I didn’t cover, so list your suggestions in the comments.
In computing terms, this means a set of rules or a step-by-step process for performing a task. As a word it’s far older than the decade we’re finishing, but it’s gained notoriety over the past few years as the influence of social media has grown. Companies such as Facebook and Twitter use algorithms to determine which posts they present to you and in what order. Or in YouTube’s case, an algorithm decides which videos are in the “Up Next” box. Most of the time these algorithms work well, but they’re also being blamed for presenting hoax news stories, creating filter bubbles (where you only see information that reinforces your beliefs) and recommending teen videos with hateful content. In response to the criticism, some services have tweaked their algorithms to give their users more control over what content is shown.
Robots like Sophia are an obvious example of AI, but the technology is far more extensive.
Like CNET’s Jon Skillings, I’m going to defer to John McCarthy, the man who coined the term, to define it. He described artificial intelligence as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs.” By “intelligent machine,” he meant machines that can mimic things the human mind can do, such as solving problems or learning new information and adapting to it. And I’m not just talking about robots. Examples include self-driving cars and voice assistants (see below), but the topic is also controversial (as in, AI could have the power to end humanity). Machine learning is the branch of AI that teaches computers to learn tasks or recognize patterns on their own, while deep learning is an area of machine learning that’s about recognizing relationships in data.
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Language naturally evolves and expands over time, adding new words, changing the meaning of others and sending others still to the vocabulary pasture. And during the 2010s, one of the most common words in the English language expanded to a new part of speech when “because” became both a conjunction and a preposition. Today there’s no need to follow it with a pesky excess word like “of.” Rather, just follow it with an appropriate noun, like “I was late because sleep.” It’s also a way to conveniently explain complex topics in an ambiguous way. “Dark matter exists because science!” And it’s a way to be ambiguous about simple topics. For example, “I didn’t finish doing that because reasons” is especially popular.
Netflix: Perfect for binge watching and chilling.
Angela Lang/CNET Binge watching
Especially popular with streaming content, which is programming that’s delivered over the internet rather than a traditional cable channel, this is the viewing of several episodes of a television program (or parts of a film franchise) in rapid succession. Binge watching is also possible with DVDs or content saved on a DVR. Though Netflix content is binge-watchable, Netflix and chill has a, well, different meaning. It’s actually a euphemism for hooking up (though I suppose you could watch an episode or two before the sex). It was true even in the pre-Netflix era: As Dorothy Zbornak wisely said in a 1986 episode of The Golden Girls, “Honey, beware of anybody who says ‘no calories,’ ‘absolutely no charge’ and ‘let’s just lie on the bed and watch television.'”