In 2016, people expected a continuation of trends from previous years, but several surprising events occurred, changing the world as we knew it. While some events were positive, others were negative or politically charged. This article delves deep into the biggest surprises of 2016, highlighting events that kept the world captivated.
Donald Trump Wins the Presidential Election
The election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States was one of the biggest surprises of 2016. Though many predicted that Hillary Clinton would secure a victory, that was not the case.
The election affected Americans in different ways, with some in favor of Trump’s policies while others found it difficult to accept. The ramifications of this event were so significant that it inspired mass protests globally, including the Women’s March.
The Travel Ban
After taking the oath of office, President Trump instituted an executive order that placed a travel ban on seven predominately Muslim countries. This event sparked anger worldwide, and it resulted in immense backlash. Those affected by the ban were not allowed to enter the United States, leaving many stranded.
The travel ban’s effect on global relations was tremendous, as it could have led to a disruption in diplomatic ties between the United States and Muslim countries. The order went through several revisions, with one version cleared up by the Supreme Court.
The Brexit referendum held on June 23rd 2016, resulted in the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union. The event was a surprise for many, as it went against what was expected before the referendum.
The process of Britain leaving the EU was long and complicated, leaving many skeptical about the nation’s prospects for the future. Several businesses panicked as they were unsure whether to move out of the UK or to stay and ride the storm.
Terrorist attacks occurred globally in 2016, with notable events such as the Nice attack in France, the Orlando nightclub shooting in Florida, and the Berlin Christmas market attack. These attacks were devastating and claimed several hundred lives.
The terrorist attacks left many feeling helpless, and as such, governments around the world tightened security. The events spurred debates on how to better prevent future terrorist attacks and address radicalization issues within the society.
New Technology Advances
Alongside the negative events that occurred in 2016, considerable advances in technology were made. One such development was the evolution of virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR).
Virtual And Augmented Reality (VR/AR)
Virtual Reality, which offered users an immersive and interactive environment, dominated 2016. The technology had a significant impact on fields such as gaming, education, health care, and tourism. The creation of VR games allowed users to step into a new world, while in healthcare it was used for stress relief and surgical training.
Augmented Reality, on the other hand, added a new layer of information to what is already in the user’s surroundings. One of the most notable examples of this was the success of Pokemon Go, a game that took the world by storm in 2016.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
2016 also saw an increase in the technology of Artificial Intelligence. Elon Musk’s ‘Open AI’ initiative began, whose goal is to develop AI technologies that help humanity while eliminating the risks that come with it. This endeavor services such fields as health care, education, agriculture, and transport, among others.
The developments in AI have led some to worry about the potential for AI to surpass human intelligence, a development that would have consequences for humanity.
The scientific world experienced some significant breakthroughs in 2016, with discoveries that will have a considerable impact on the field and beyond.
The Discovery of Gravitational Waves
This discovery was one of the most significant breakthroughs in physics history. The discovery of gravitational waves proved Einstein’s theory of general relativity comprehensively, as it showed that massive objects like black holes could merge into one.
The potential to discover more of these waves opened up new possibilities in astronomy, where they could be used to observe galaxies and other cosmic events.
The Zika Virus Outbreak
Zika virus, a mosquito-borne infection, was first discovered in Uganda in 1947. In 2016, the virus resurfaced in Brazil and was found to be linked to microcephaly, a condition where newborns are born with underdeveloped brains.
The outbreak’s effects were felt globally as the World Health Organization declared it a public health emergency of international concern. It led to travel restrictions, and many people were skeptical about participating in the Olympics held in Rio, Brazil.
Scientists discovered that it is possible for humans to travel through wormholes in 2016, which opened up a whole new world of possibilities for space exploration. If successfully explored, wormholes could reduce travel time to planets and galaxies that are far away.
While this is a fantastic new development in space travel, there are significant uncertainties about the practicalities around using wormholes for human transportation.
The Bottom Line
The unexpected and impactful events in 2016 shaped the world we live in today. From the election of a new US president, to the travel ban, to advancements in technology and significant scientific discoveries. These events showed that change is inevitable, and that different developments can have positive or negative consequences for individuals and communities.
- BBC News: Year in Review: What happened in 2016?
- Forbes: Five Futuristic Predictions For Artificial Intelligence in 2016
- National Geographic: Top Scientific Discoveries of 2016
List of Common Questions
- Q: What was the biggest surprise of 2016?
- A: The election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States was one of the biggest surprises of 2016
- Q: What were the terrorist attacks that happened globally in 2016?
- A: Notable events include the Nice attack in France, the Orlando nightclub shooting in Florida, and the Berlin Christmas market attack.
- Q: What new discoveries were made in 2016?
- A: Scientists discovered gravitational waves and that humans can travel through wormholes. There was also an outbreak of the Zika virus in several countries.