I'd make the argument that the movable type printing press had a greater impact upon technological advance, cultural change, preservation & dissemination of knowledge, etc., than anything prior.
You'd be right to do so as well. Even the entire premise of the Bookworm series is watching this change happen in an alien society :D
In the recent era...a lot traces back to the Moon Race; so much is traceable to the technological developments involved with that effort, it's unreal. Couple that with DARPANet, which evolved into the modern Internet...the last gasps of the Cold War's technological competition have proven profoundly influential.
Although one can point back as far as the 1880 Federal Census for some of the foundational technological developments of modern computing; the Hollerith punch card & IBM were direct results of how long it took to process the information, in that Herman Hollerith was involved with that process and came up with the punch card tabulating machine in 1884; I used a version of those cards during the period I was a Computer Science major in 1980-1982 for writing programs in COBOL and FORTRAN.
Some of my earliest memories are of watching Gemini launches on TV in day care...I just checked the dates in Wikipedia, I would have been four when the earliest manned mission was launched.
As a slight aside there isn't really many countries in the world that have changed as much as Ireland has in the last 30-40 years (I don't know every countries progress but in Ireland culturally and socially it's been a massive upheaval). There are too many things to go into here.
I reiterate. It is such a different world now!
Better ctrl-c that phrase for every couple of years from now on....