On Thursday, TIME released its annual 100 Most Influential People list, which each year recognizes the individuals who are truly changing the world. One notable distinction with this year's list is that more than just a handful are in the world of technology: Whether it's founding a life-changing service, running a gargantuan website, or continuously creating unthinkable innovations, these individuals are helping to shape the modern world. While you might be familiar with one or two of them already, it's worth getting to know all of TIME 100's most influential tech leaders, because you'll likely be hearing their names for a long time.
Every year, TIME magazine carefully considers countless nominees, elected by past TIME 100 alumni and staff members, culling the 100 individuals most deserving of being included on the esteemed list. The final 100 are then broken into categories like Icons, Leaders, and Artists to highlight their contributions to their respective fields. Some of the outstanding individuals recognized on this year's list include SNL producer Lorne Michaels, singer and one-man brand Kanye West, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
While there isn't a tech category, a large fraction of those honored in the Titans and Pioneers sections are in the technology industry. These are the people who continue to revolutionize the world and their substantial presence on the list underscores technology's ever-growing influence.
Tim Cook is a man who needs no introduction. The Apple CEO, who succeeded Steve Jobs after his death, has continued Jobs' legacy while ushering the company into a more profitable and socially responsible era. If you're enjoying your iPhone 6 and iPad Mini, you can thank Cook for those.
Holmes' dream of making the world a healthier place started when she was just a sophomore at Stanford University, when she launched her own company. Today she's the CEO of Theranos, a health technology and medical lab company that has made blood testing more efficient. In her TIME blurb, Henry A. Kissinger calls her "striking, somewhat ethereal, iron-willed."
She may not be a household name, but her company certainly is. Wojcicki is the CEO of YouTube, aka how many of us spend a third of our day. Before heading up Google, Wojcicki hosted Google's first office in her garage in the late '90s. Under her leadership, YouTube has secured itself as a can't-live-without platform.
Though he may be best known as the co-founder of LinkedIn, which has become a crucial networking service for professionals everywhere, Facebook might not exist today if it weren't for Hoffman. He was responsible for introducing a young Mark Zuckerberg to Peter Thiel, who gave the company its first angle investment, along with Hoffman himself.
In his TIME blurb, journalist Hannah Beech notes that Lei is often compared to Steve Jobs. The founder of Chinese electronics company Xiaomi, which is the third largest smartphone distributor in the world, has not only brought innovative products to China but cemented the country's place in the global tech market.
As the CEO of Microsoft, Nadella has a pretty important role in the tech landscape. However, it's his knack of pushing the envelope with reckless abandon that has made him so successful. Fellow tech CEO Aaron Levie writes about Nadella: "Satya is basically the star of one of those teen movies where the parents go out of town and the kid takes control of the place. And it’s been great."
Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna
Modeled after bacteria's evolutionary ability to kill viruses for self-protection, Charpentier and Doudna have created gene-editing technology, called CRISPR-Cas9, that allows scientists to manipulate genetic material. The applications could be groundbreaking for treating HIV, cancer, and virtually any other disease. In other words, it could be the medical breakthrough that we've been waiting for for centuries.
Regular people all over the world are earning extra income these days with Airbnb — in some cases, as much as six figures — and they all have Chesky to thank. But that's not how he originally envisioned his startup; Chesky started Airbnb as a way to connect the world and create an international community through hosting travelers. The extra income is just icing on the cake.
Once a child laborer in a garment factory, Lai overcame some pretty major odds to found clothing company Giordano and Next Media, the largest-listed media company in Hong Kong. And now he's using his hard-earned power to help other underdogs, supporting the recent student-led protests in Hong Kong and risking punishment from the government.
Every day, Sarkeesian faces online persecution just for believing women should be represented more positively in video games. Despite receiving death threats and constant harassment, she continues to fight for gender equality in the gaming community with her web series Tropes vs. Women in Video Games. As tech blogger and former Star Trek actor Wil Wheaton puts so eloquently, "Anita is a feminist for the digital age."
Images: Getty Images (9), Feminist Frequency