Transitions and changes
has become a symbol of the recent economic boom of
The first years of the 21st century have thus far been marked by the rise of a
global economy and
consumerism, mistrust in
government, deepening global concern over terrorism and an increase in the power of
 The long term effects of increased
globalization are not known, but there are many who are concerned about its implications.
Arab Spring of the early 2010s led to mixed outcomes in the
Digital Revolution which began around the 1980s also continues into the present.
Millennials (born c. 1981–2000), having been born before the turn of the century, give way to the rise of
Generation Y &
Generation Z in Western countries.
contemporary history, the 21st century essentially began in 1991 (the end of
Short Twentieth Century) with the
United States as the sole
superpower in the absence of the
Soviet Union, while
China began its
rise and the
BRICS countries aimed to create more
balance in the
global political and economic spectrum.
The completion of the
Human Genome Project in 2003 marks the continual rise of life sciences, making mankind's long-held dreams, such as curing cancer, more realistic.
 By the 2010s,
gene therapy, first performed somatically in late 1990 and heritably in 1996, showed promise but remains an experimental and emerging technology.
Assistive reproductive technology developed in the 1980s, such as
polar body biopsy and
preimplantation genetic diagnosis, has allowed for the selection of genetic traits, and, along with the advent of
ultrasound, has increased the number of boys and decreased the number of girls in many countries, most notably in China and India but also in other Asian and eastern Europe countries.
 This began in the late 1980s in China and India and after the
fall of communism in the Balkans and Caucasus regions, concurrent with both the advent of
capitalism in those countries and the widespread availability of reproductive technology.
While digital telecommunications technology became widely used by most of the world, concerns about
stress from the overuse of
mobile phones, the
Internet, and related technologies remain controversial.
By 2013, about 80% of the world's population used
 An estimated 33% owned personal computers in 2010,
 and 46% used the Internet by 2016, compared to about 1% in 1996.
The distribution of modern technology is not equal – in 2012 it was estimated that 1.5 billion people, or about 20% of the world's population still lacked access to
electric power, with many more having only intermittent or poor access.
International Energy Agency estimates that 83% of the global population has access to
electricity as of 2013 with the percentage projected to increase to 88% by 2030.
world population was about 6.1 billion at the start of the 21st century. It had reached 7.3 billion in 2015, and is estimated to reach about 9.37 billion by the year 2050.