Most inventions were made with the idea to bring progress to humanity, not to harm it. However, that is not always how things turn out. A prime -and sad- example of this can be found in the life of Alfred Nobel. Most people know his name as the creator of the Nobel Peace prize without a second thought as to what drove him to make such an award.
The tragic truth is that Alfred Nobel invented dynamite with the intent to help with industrial uses. After seeing the horrendous usage of his invention to kill so many people so easily he lived the rest of his life under the weight of an all-consuming regret. That led him to use his fortune to create an award for those who have done incredible things for humanity and peace.
Redditor IndependentHungry840 wanted to know other inventions that met a harmful ending and asked:
“What invention has done more harm than good?"
Constant media panic…
“24 hour news media. It is absolutely one of the most toxic, miasmic, foul things we could have ever come up with." wiredsignal
“What makes it worse is the "news" isn't just news, it's ONLY bad news. There's never an hour of only uplifting, happy stories that happened today. It's just a constant barrage of fear-mongering and misery." AdamNRG
Lead poisoning causes lower IQ and behavior disruption…
“There used to be lead in gasoline; they thought it would improve engine performance. Not only did it ruin people's lungs, many believe that it caused an increase in violent crime, because things like muggings almost disappeared after lead was taken out of gas.” doowgad1
“I'm pretty sure it was proven that after the invention of leaded gasoline, the average IQ dropped. And leaded gas was around for a pretty long time.” Marksman18
“Violent crime massively spiked in the US from about 1970-2000, right when atmospheric lead concentration spiked as well.” Agent_Orange7
Smoking is just bad all the way around…
“Cigarettes. Supposed to relieve stress and help the user feel in control due the nicotine inside which is of course highly addictive. Not to mention the myriad of other harmful things inside of them (Methanol/Rocket Fuel, Arsenic, Stearic Acid/Candle Wax, etc.)" Toa-Magnus
“The worst part is, cigarettes replaced tobacco pipes, which have substantially lower health risks, due to the fact that you don't inhale from a pipe at all, just "sip" the smoke and blow."
“Cigarettes' ease of use and popularity has also lead to tons of small tobacco growers just going straight out of business because the high temps cigs burn at and the filtered tip make the actual quality of the tobacco "less important" insofar as our friend Big Tobacco is concerned. Not to mention that same accessibility making childhood smoking much easier to pick up and hide."
“If you're a long-time smoker and have trouble quitting, you could at least consider transitioning to pipes, the learning curve isn't steeper than a few nights in google, and the smoke smells way better for bystanders than everyone's favorite acrid cancer stick. I mean, it ain't good for you, but it's leagues better than cigarettes." Strudel_Meister
This right here!
“Private prisons, the peak of modern slavery, prisons are meant to be reforming facilities/keeping criminals in check, not a business but if your country thought slavery was okay back then, why it wouldn't work now.” PsychologicalTart602
Education time: Part of the dehumanizing experiences to which prisoners are subjected work to only further isolate them from society making it more difficult to reintegrate upon release. The psychological damage and lack of prosocial connectivity coupled with social stigma and scare resources helps ensure a continuation of the crime cycle with extraordinarily high recidivism rates.
This means the United States prisons stay full so they can keep lining the pockets of the private ownership essentially incentivizing the people who run these correctional facilities to keep any true rehabilitative programming to a bare minimum.
Asbestos, not the fire proof miracle we thought…
“Asbestos insulation." Ancient-Pause-99
“I live where the asbestos mine just shut down ten years ago. You can't get your house tested for asbestos because it's literally in everything, so even brand new houses would test positive from the surroundings. All the other rocks from the mine were used all over in sidewalks, roads, Street lamps, etc.” RoselleLS
Eli Whitney’s inventions…
“Whitney's cotton gin in the 1790's. Made slavery profitable. When I took a class on antebellum economics a argument that had support was that before the 1790s slavery was in decline.” CSMURPHRUN
“Then Eli went on to develop mass production and gave it to the North allowing them to mass produce rifles with interchangeable parts. This led to the North's victory. Eli Whitney had arguably the largest impact on American history of any single person. Essentially providing the tools to start the civil war then end it.” Louis_A_Devil
Social Media Platforms…social media followers GIF by The Orchard FilmsGiphy
“Social media ironically has made it harder to actually socialize with people and imo is responsible for a huge portion of social anxiety around the world." BradRogriguez
|“The issues caused by social media are much deeper than just lack of in-person connection and social anxiety. Mental health overall in teens and young adults is on a decline, and misinformation is spreading rampantly, people are even more divided than ever ideologically” kiwidog8|
“the original social media."
“The guy who invented the megaphone said he felt responsible for Hitler's rise. Before that, the most people you could really talk to at once was like 100. After that, one speech can reach millions.” skeetsauce
“Oh sh*t. The megaphone was the original social media.” Shermione
The lie detector test…
“Polygraph test. Its a stress test, in no way was it ever supposed to a ‘lie detector’. The inventor was beyond horrified and destroyed at the ‘monstrous misuse of his technology by law enforcement’.” MurrayMan92
“I think the way Keurig has evolved is hilarious. They started with the hugely wasteful cups that lots of people used. Eventually people realized how wasteful they were and pressured Keurig to make reusable cups. Now they're just a normal coffee machine.”
“They came from nowhere, invented a new technology, and eventually just ended up using the same old technology as their competitors and somehow ended up coming out on top” Lemon_Tile
While good intentions proceeded these inventions there certainly were grave consequences. It shows the bad sides of humanity in that if it can be weaponized it will be.
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What is a great modern invention? Well, if you ask me what is one of the most impactful inventions made on the last century the first thing that comes to mind is accessible birth control. The ripple effect of women having a say over their bodies has led to vastly increased rates of higher education, workforce development, increased wages, and lower rates of poverty.
In fact, places that have greater access to birth control have less of a wage gap and allowed for long-term career investments. Something we take for granted has allowed families to plan within their means and women to have control over their futures.
Redditor pewpew420420 wanted to know what others thought were the most impactful inventions to date.
"What is humans greatest invention?"
The answers really brought out how far the human race has come.
Hold my beer, no really…
“Alcohol. It's a known fact the brewing of beer is actually what made it so humans could build large cities. Before brewing beer and making alcohol, water born illnesses were a major problem."
“But of course after you make water alcoholic, or brew something, it kills all of the bacteria or whatever in water that would get you sick. Civilizations were literally built on alcohol, it was the only method they had to sterilize water, before modern times and methods." JohnTrovolta4RealDoe
It paved the way for freedom of information…
“The printing press” TheBeardedTinMan
“Without it only the richest and more powerful of people could learn to read fluently. All of humanities knowledge would be locked up for only those important enough and rich enough to learn to read. And essential information could easily be lost in a single moment due to accidents.”
“The ability to copy information allowed us to protect knowledge and pass it on to every single person. To add on to it, the bible is probably the single greatest book to have ever contribute to humanity, and not because of the Christianity, but because it was the book that paved the way for all people to learn reading. The church taught the poor and illiterate to read so that they could read the bible. And from there, people branched out to other forms of information.” bshaw0000
Instant access around the globe, pretty amazing when you think about it…
“I would argue that the Internet, allowing for nigh instant communication and sharing of information to the vast majority of the inhabited globe has done more for the development of modern technologies than one could ever possibly grasp.” Verbophile
“We owe a lot to the invention of the transistor. In under 100 years we went from postal mail to the internet where all of humanity's knowledge is at our fingertips and information travels at literal lightspeed. Its crazy to think that we are the first generations to incorporate electronics in our daily lives.” Animus0724
“A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify or switch electronic signals and electrical power. Transistors are one of the basic building blocks of modern electronics.”
“It is composed of semiconductor material usually with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. Definitely important for all electronics!” pewpew420420
The domestication of man’s best friend…Siberian Husky Dog GIF by Gone to the Snow DogsGiphy
“Dogs. No, hear me out. I mean, we didn't invent them, in the way that we've invented modern domestic pigs, cows, chickens etc, but the archaeology proves that we've been co-evolving with them for almost as long as we've been human, so in a very significant way we invented them while they also invented us."
“Canis domesticus wouldn't exist without humans, and while wild ancestral canids would be fine without us, adapting to live alongside canis domesticus is likely one of the best things we ever did and vice versa."
"Got a dwelling (cave) that'll still be yours if you go out hunter-gathering because you have a loyal friend to guard it? Thank a dog. Got a herd of domesticated animals that won't just wander off, so you can get meat, milk, wool and leather? Thank a dog."
"Or maybe you're fully vegan and know you can survive the winter because mice and bunnies haven't eaten your vegetable patch/orchard harvest/grain store? Again, that's thanks to millennia of good bois and girls, just choosing to hang out with humans."
"And yes, contemporary dog-fashion is an obscenity and a sin, and no we haven't always treated our best mammalian friends well. But seriously. One of my great hopes for humanity is that one day, maybe, we can evolve to be good enough to deserve them." Competitive-Yak-7284
“Soap! Just soap has saved more lives than any other invention.” mopageboy
“That's crazy talk! Now let me just go put my nasty hands inside every woman in this maternity ward...Seriously amazing how transformative this was and how much resistance it encountered.” theMistersofCirce
Waste management systems stopped many common illnesses.
“The sanitary sewer has done so much to improve human life and health that I have to go with it.” Astoriana_
“I don't really think we could reach the population we have now without it. Cities of the density they are now could only exist along rivers and even they would be horrendously diseased. And any large city inland would pollute the river so badly that downstream all the way to the ocean would be all but unlivable.” Fearlessleader85
Vaccines save lives.Stay Home Fact Check GIF by INTO ACTIONGiphy
“Vaccines/Modern medicine.” Iwannabeacowboybaby0
“I truly appreciate not having to die from smallpox or an infected blister or a cracked tooth. It blows my mind when I think about how recent a development this is in the span of modern human existence.” theMistersofCirce
Now if only people would listen to the science…
“Medicine and scientific research. Not only has it giving us longer life spans. But doctors and nurses (including scientists) are able to figure out what's wrong and can even cure said diseases. Where would we be now without this research? Unfortunately, most if us would either be in a huge amount of pain or some of us would be dead.” CharlotteLouise25
“Mathematics. It gave us the ability to better understand and define our universe. Not to mention almost everything humans invent and create requires math.” TinCanMan_
Indeed the first revolutionary discovery…
“Fire control. It was the first of all the inventions that caused a f**king revolution" EvanOrizam
People Explain Which Conspiracy Theories They Believe Are 100% True | George Takei’s Oh Myyy
“The firearm. Prior to its invention every method of injuring another human being (rightly or wrongly) involved the strength of the user to some extent. This meant that the bigger and stronger still had an advantage.”
“The firearm erased that. Now, even the smallest, weakest, and even somewhat disabled have the capability of injuring or killing the biggest and strongest. There is a powerful equality in that.” PromptCritical725
“The steam engine. Everything that came out of industrialization came from the progress the steam engine provided.” Illustrious_Wasabi30
It has allowed for solid construction…
“Has anyone said the screw yet? Archimedes used screws to irrigate upland farms in Greece, they hold cars, phones, computers and almost everything else together and their basic function has been adapted to bottle tops and plumbing. Its in so many things that would be impossible without it, yet its almost never mentioned as one of the greatest inventions.” Smart-Professional26
“It's no where near done but, CRISPR. CRISPR is basically a way to genetically modify life. If we get good enough at it, we could have the ability to end ALL DISEASES including cancer and we might increase life expectancy by decades or more. The implications of this are immense and I really hope that humanity will get to use it in the future. We could end global suffering with it, isn't that insane?” Elon_huskx
A love of music…
“Music. We are masters of the harmonic series in a way no other animal can compare. Many things like affection, tools, sex drive, or even societies and governments are not unique to humanity. Birds may sing and crickets may chirp, but only we can lay claim to unlocking the fullest potential of the harmonic series. Our use of music seems to only be bound by the physical laws that govern our universe.” IsignalREI
“Diplomacy and democracy with the advancement of government. Without it we'd just be concerned for the necessities of self preservation rather than community interest. Also without it there is little to sanction the wealth required to invent and sustain such marvelous things.” swaidyMF
“Objectively, it's the plow…”
“Objectively, it's the plow. It created farming and allowed people the time to stay in one place and think about innovations. This led to the type of scholarship where one could read a book about useful inventions and see that humans have already agreed on an answer to this question; it's the plow.” Omniparent
“Farm? I mean most of the things inventions come from are beget from a mindset of invention. When we stopped hunting and gathering to cultivate we became able to tend to our fallen and from there we built cities.”
“Arguably our transition into a civilized people was gaining the ability to mend a broken leg but we could only do that with a reliable food source time and care from an individual sacrificing their own hunting and gathering. Our first farmer would defend the greatest invention as farming until his dying breath, the inventor of something like the toilet would laugh at the assumption of it being the greatest invention. Farm final answer” manlymanmanman925
These inventions impacted the human race in many different ways. Now that we have such access to research and technology, the sky is the limit on what new amazing invention awaits us next.
The phenomenon that is the human brain is one of the most incredible things on this planet. We are the only species that has been able to create amazing feats, like transportation, technology, arts and entertainment. Humanity has the potential for so many amazing inventions.
Humans also have the ability to create things of our own destruction or demise. As brilliant as cars can be, they have been known to cause a few accidents. Smartphones and television has given us access to infinite information and entertainment at the touch of a button. Over time, these devices have been known to cause some serious health problems.
We went to Ask Reddit to find out what inventions we are just simply better off without.
Redditor numbnerve asked:
"What is one invention that we'd be better off without?"
Let's try not to get too worried over this list of terrible inventions.
Landmines shouldn't be used anymore.
"Landmines. I'll tell you why:"
- "They render large tracts of land completely unusable."
- "They are expensive and difficult to remove safely because there is seldom documentation of where they are placed."
- "They are cheap, plentiful, easy to place, and deadly."
- "They kill/maim livestock and wild animals."
- "They kill/maim innocent people decades after conflicts have ended. Many times the victims are children because they can't read or don't understand warning signs."
"This is a great answer. They really are truly horrible, and hurt people long after whatever stupid war has gone down."
"I was going to say Twitter but I have to admit this is worse."
"You're not wrong. Twitter is the landmine of the internet. You said something stupid when you were younger but as you grew older, you realized your stupidity and changed for the better. Great right? Then bam, your tweet from years passed gets used against you. And you have people freaking the f*ck out like they never did or said stupid sh*t before."
"But landmines really do suck. There's actually a country in Africa that has rats that detect land mines. They're friggin adorable."
We all love to hate 'em.
"You mean, autodialer services that scammers use. Companies exist to provide autodialing phone services. F*ck them."
"A smaller but related issue is calling different businesses and hearing a robot on the end. To navigate through all their hoops, especially when it's a voice response system, and only find that you landed in the wrong section and have to do the whole thing over, is extremely frustrating."
"For questions about your account, press 1. Oh your question was about billing, you should have pressed 2 for billing. Oh, your question about billing is why you were billed twice, you should have pressed 3 for dispute resolution. Oh your dispute was due to a processing error, you should have pressed 4 for bookkeeping. Oh bookkeeping only has access to your account for records and inquiries so we can tell you your payment history and the like, so if you want to know why you were billed twice... you should have pressed 1 for questions about your account."
"Then once you finally get to a person they send you to someone else who then puts you on hold."
"And then your call just magically loses connection."
A lie detector test is so inaccurate.
"YES! There is no device that can "detect lies". Having a device monitor your pulse and heart rate is not a lie detector test, it is a device that monitors your pulse and heart rate."
"Or a printer. One of my favorite scenes in The Wire."
A truly unsustainable practice.
"It destroys the habitant of fish just so we can squeeze every bit of a fish from an area..."
"Sometimes fisherman will just toss bad nets into the ocean. If they're in an area with a strong current they'll move on their own and become whirling nets of death. They'll catch anything they come into contact with and kill it. Divers have reported seeing these nets with the skeletons of thousands of sea life still stuck."
"Commercial fishing nets make up 50% of ocean plastics. And yet the industry got everyone focused on drinking straws instead..."
So many people suffered... for a specific kind of ceiling?
"Asbestos in popcorn ceiling."
"Asbestos in general too many people (including myself) have lost grand parents or parents to mesothelioma."
"Fun fact (actually not fun at all fact): you are more likely to get other lung cancers than mesothelioma from asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma just is a slam dunk for lawyers since you basically can only get it from asbestos exposure."
"Technically, mesothelioma isn't a lung cancer, although it typically develops in the tissue that holds the lungs in place. But you're not wrong, it's almost guaranteed that the cause was asbestos exposure, and there's a good chance that exposure was due to or precipitated by some degree of corporate negligence or dishonesty. Sadly, due to the various types of asbestos that were predominantly used, and the diverse range of exposure sources, a lot of mesothelioma restitution ends up with corporations fighting it out over how much each of them should be liable…and often, after confirmed diagnosis, the plaintiff has at most a very gross and painful year or two left and in my experience seldom lives to see a decision made in their favour."
"The problem is, the corporations aren't necessarily wrong to dispute their varying degrees of culpability, and often it's like they're saying 'yeah ok we were all beating on this guy but you were the one who got all crazy and brought out the lead pipe, and I think that's when you killed him'. And when you factor in splitting hairs over which cancer is the main boss-cancer, it gets even hairier."
"Mesothelioma tort law was the saddest thing I've worked with I think, and it's why I abandoned pursuing a career in law."
Subscriptions for products you pay for already.
"Any product that you pay for, and then have to pay a subscription to use."
"Subscriptions for any service that absolutely does not need to be a subscription. And by that I mean Microsoft Office."
"Adobe is fully subscription. You don't pay an initial fee for the software. That said, f*ck Adobe and subscription models."
Though some of these inventions are minor inconveniences, some of them have serious consequences or are actually life threatening.
Over time, humans will continue to evolve and reinvent what we know the world to be like today. The question remains though: Do we actually need any of this? Just because it makes our lives more convenient, doesn't mean we need to have it.
Not all inventions vastly improve our lives.
They can complicate things. Technological advances, for example, have increased rapidly and made our lives so much easier.
The internet and smartphones are incredible inventions, and we can't imagine life without them. But they do come with complications.
When we rely so much on virtual transactions and something goes wrong, I always lament about how interacting and communicating with a person is more reliable for finding solutions.
Advanced tech – sometimes we can't live with them, but we definitely can't live without them.
But there are other inventions that have raised concerns. To find out more Redditor idc_aboutusernames asked:
"What invention has done more harm than good?"
Whoever thought these enhancements in life were a good idea were very shortsighted.
It's Over Our Heads
"Some of the older ones have asbestos in it too! So keep that in mind if you have a roof leak or ceiling damage."
"Those low flow toilets that result in you wasting more water because you have to flush it multiple times to get it to take a log down."
"Best solution I've seen is a toilet with two buttons, one for a half flush, and one for a full flush."
"The 24-hour news cycle."
"At a certain point reporting facts stopped being the primary goal of such channels, instead they report whatever will keep viewers watching."
"Works ok for a 30min news segment, but with 24 hrs that ends up over sensationalizing every little story."
These inventions proved to be more harmful than benefiting society.
"Polygraph test. Even its inventor, John Larson, regrets his invention upon realizing how law enforcement would exploit the average citizen with it."
Tap Tap Tap
"Lobotomy. Worst Nobel Prize winner ever."
"It's such a f'ked up thing that so many people AT THE TIME knew was f'ked up."
"I mean, it was essentially a way to make people with diseases easier to take care of by rendering them half dead. There was barely a pretense of it *actually* treating an illness. Monstrous."
"Leaded fuel, CFC... uhm basically anything Thomas Midgley was involved with."
"Agreed, lead poisoning was a well known thing at the time. CFC's punching holes in the ozone layer would be an understandable miss."
These inventions are just obstacles preventing us from getting the things we see but can't get.
Not A Toy
"Those plastic containers that are like crimp plastic stitch welded around the entire edge and it's super thick plastic that will slice your sh*t open."
"Wrap rage, also called package rage, is the common name for heightened levels of anger and frustration resulting from the inability to open packaging, particularly some heat-sealed plastic blister packs and clamshells."
"Rigged claw machines. Like seriously, f'k you i just want my squidward plush."
While they are convenient, I think Keurig machines cluttering offices are not necessary for the home. Besides, K-cups are harmful to the environment as they wind up in landfills due to their difficulty of being recycled.
I much prefer taking the time to grind coffee beans and brew my coffee with my Cuisinart coffee maker.
Not only is a fresh pot of coffee noticeably more bold and delicious, making your own potted coffee is a lot cheaper than spending loads on replenishing your K-cup supply.
I'd much rather save my money and the environment.
As seen on TV. That line reverberates through all of our minds. Right? I haven't fallen for the, call me know and order group, thankfully. But I have enjoyed their commercials. And I have been duped by the other mediums. I'm still waiting on some things I ordered off of Facebook. And who doesn't owe money to the... buy 9 CDs for a cent group? But once and awhile the product is real and the "scam" is a deal.Redditor u/drichm2599 wanted to know what items we need to start buying by asking... What "as-seen-on-TV" product really works as advertised?
A lot of the Shark Tank folks have made their way to tv to hock items, and it worked, and people are happy! So there has to be some truth to a few things. Let's see what items we should all look for...
The Cleansecleaning up mr clean GIF by ADWEEKGiphy
Oxy-Clean is pretty amazing.
I no longer consider Oxy-Clean an ASOTV product. It is a part of everyday life.
I work for an HVAC supplier and our delivery box truck struck the awning of a restaurant and put a 6"x6" hole in the 'box' part. Threw some flex tape on that witch and it's been sealed for over eight months so far, including a rough winter.
That leaf filter thing for your gutters. Haven't worried about them in awhile and even set up my parents house with them so they didn't try to climb a ladder.
These have been around in various forms for years, but in my experience they pop out, animals get in them, crapt gets under/through them, and within a couple of years they're just a crooked eyesore that make gutter cleaning that much harder. Are these newest ones actually better? Have you checked under them since installing? No gunk? How do you clean roofing gravel out, or does it really not accumulate?
For the PetsWell Done Applause GIF by MOODMANGiphy
Those gloves that you pet your dog with and it desheds them. They really do work, and true to the commercial the hair also comes off in one clean pull. My dogs love them too.
I was given a Hurricane Spin Mop. I really liked it. That was years ago. I considered buying another one, but damn, $30 for a mop is a lot. They do work nicely though.
Mops take a lot of abuse, if you buy cheap ones you'll have broken/shredded mops pretty fast. $30 for a mop wouldn't kill me if it lasted multiple years.
Actually that brings me to mine, which isn't infomercial level, but the Swiffer Wetjet is pretty awesome because I don't have to mop anymore at all. My whole house is 120-year-old hardwood. I used to do Murphy's or white vinegar, but dragging a mop bucket up and down stairs every week sucks hardcore. Wetjet gets the floors truly clean, dries super fast, and doesn't involve buckets. I wish they'd make a Murphy's scented Wetjet but that's probably just me.
I'm getting that dog shedder thing. And well... Oxy Clean is a miracle. But that is old news. Maybe I need to be watching more TV at 3am. Or at least set the DVR for the sales. What else is being missed?
Hugs...So Excited Dancing GIFGiphy
The Snuggie was a freaking damned miracle. You can argue that it's just wearing a robe backwards but have you tried that? the arm holes are all wrong.
Green Gobbler. My bathroom sink was all clogged up and I remembered laughing my butt off to Penguinz0 dubbing over the Green Gobbler commercial. So I figured why not buy some at Home Depot and try it out.
That stuff unclogged my barely functioning sink like nobody's business, my God.
For the Girlscancer bras GIFGiphy
Those little circle things you can use to turn your regular bra into a racer back bra. They're amazing.
I have a Slanket (same concept, different brand) and use it every winter. During the pandemic, I was working from home in a room that gets very cold. I could run a heater, but that tends to just make the room too warm and gives me headaches. I tried a blanket, but couldn't use my hands on the keyboard without opening myself to the cold air.
So I grabbed the Slanket and used that. It kept me warm while I typed away without giving me headaches. If I had a meeting that required video, I simply took out my arms and pulled the Slanket below the camera view.
Of course, now it's getting warm so it's time to put the Slanket away until the cool air returns.
The slap chop. Admittedly, I don't own THE slap chop, I have the pampered chef version, but for mincing garlic or onions it saves a ton of time.
The Snuggie saved my life. I lost it and now I have to re-order as soon as I finish this piece. Trust me, if you haven't Snuggied, you haven't lived. Looks like product sales have stepped it up a bit. I'm watching.