Sometimes, I ask myself about what is the most influencing breakthrough technology in human life? The criteria I ask first that it must be substantial, it must be ubiquotus and found in most every tool, device or anything people use.
My first answer is Transistor. Why? First, it is one of the tremendous invention in 21st century. Secondly, it can be found almost in any household's equipment. Don't believe me? Look at cellphones, TVs, radios, video consoles, computers, cars, airplanes, spacecrafts, security systems, weapons, medical equipments, kitchen appliances, network devices (router, switches, PSTN), satellites, even in our body (pacemaker), ..., and the list would go on and on. Currently, there is almost nobody can live without it.
The second place is taken by LASER. The invention is so great that it has advanced many other sciences and technologies and used in many applications. It is used in medical equipments (e.g, laser surgeries), in telecommunications, industries, military, mining and oil industries or energy in general, basic science research (Cyclotron, etc.), instruments, biotech industries, entertainment (in discotiques, in all cd/dvd players) and even toys!
The inventors should've got double nobel laurates (yes, I know, they all got nobel laurates in the past, but seems it is not enough considering how much their invention has changed our life forever).
The third one is for the invention of computer or the Internet.