People Divulge Which Inventions Have Done More Harm Than Good For Society

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As time trudges on, technology seems to advance at a lightning pace.

Way back when it began with simple tools like wheels and arrows. Then came irrigation and buildings.

After that, industrial machinery was a game changer, followed by computers and the internet.

But despite every generation’s rose-colored descriptions of the future, has it all been for good?

That’s what Redditor idc_aboutusernames wondered when they posted the question:

“What invention has done more harm than good?”

One you may have heard about. 

“Imma go out on a limb and say the polygraph test” — throwrahousearrest

“Polygraph test. Even its inventor, John Larson, regrets his invention upon realizing how law enforcement would exploit the average citizen with it.” — Arctic_Cobra71

More than one person had planet Earth on the mind.

“Coffee pods. Even the creator deeply regrets his invention and the environmental impact it has had.” — Lasting_Wonder

“Individually packaged foods and snacks.”

“I work at a grocery store and it’s abhorrent to me how much crap there is and how well it sells. I mean, Christ, yesterday I stocked ‘Nutella to go’ packs that are… Nutella with pretzel sticks. They’re tiny and come in small plastic tubs.”

“Or those large bags of Reese’s cups that come individually wrapped, or these ridiculous 1oz bags of freeze dried fruit that we sell which are absurdly popular, especially for how relatively expensive they are at $3 a bag.”

“I get that plastic itself isn’t bad, but this is egregious to me, especially with how much my generation (I’m 34) has had overuse of landfills drilled into our skulls.” — drlavkian

One person offered up a surprising choice. 

“There’s been really interesting discourse relating to the cotton gin. Prior to the cotton gin, many farmers did not consider cotton to be a worthwhile crop to grow, as it was so tough to process due to the seeds in cotton that the amount of slaves it would take just to process a small amount by hand would cost more than the cotton they would produce.”

“With the invention of the cotton gin, a few number of slaves could process essentially as much cotton as you could produce.”

“This skyrocketed demand for slaves in the Americas, and while slavery obviously had existed for quite some time in America, the invention of the cotton gin doubled the amount of slaves in 10 years, and multiplied fivefold by 1850.”

“This invention propelled the chattel slavery of the South to new heights, you could make the argument its invention profoundly compounded all racial issues in America since its inception.” — grahamster00

This one may have been written at work. 

“40 hour work week. Who decided you need to work this much in order to make enough money to even be considered worthy of survival?”

“I could understand that regularly having people commit to 40 hours of hard work thats equally distributed would hypothetically improve efficiency and push us toward a better future, but holy fu** is it not working.”

“Mental health issues, goverment dependency, and poverty shouldnt be an issue for the employed. The current wage disparity between minimum wage and livable wage is a joke.” — codeblue94

Recent inventions were on the chopping block too. 

“Airbnb. Started as an opportunity for people to rent out a spare room and meet travellers. Has morphed into a short-term rental platform where wealthy second home owners let entire homes or apartments at the expense of local communities.”

“Residents in once peaceful neighbourhoods are forced to endure all the impacts that come with living next to makeshift unregulated hotels and group accommodation.”

“Loud parties any night of the week, a steady stream of strangers in apartment blocks or residential streets, parking congestion, masses of rubbish, security issues, loss of community all become commonplace.”

“Long-term rentals dry up because Airbnb is more lucrative and local businesses, in some cases even local hospitals, can’t find staff as they have nowhere to live. Long-term locals find themselves kicked out of their rentals to make way for another more lucrative Airbnb.”

“They are left with nowhere to go as other long-term rentals have gone the same way and it’s pushed prices up so much that buying a property is no longer an option.”

“Residential neighbourhoods become a smattering of hotels without the volunteers and local people that once gave the place the sense of community that attracted many visitors to the area in the first place.”

“Most Airbnb users wouldn’t be aware of the detrimental impacts Airbnb can have for local communities.” — Overall-Reception-59

One Redditor went after the mundane. 

“Soft close toilet seats. Either all toilets should have them or none should. The current roulette is too stressful.” — 476c796e

“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** open.” — RacingboomThePleb

Some things are just too good to be true. 

“Slot Machines. Once you get a taste of winning some money back, it gets eaten up in no time. You might think you can beat the system, but that’s how they suck you in and take you for all you are worth.”

“These things are rigged to payout when a lot of money has been fed into them so you have to be extremely lucky to get the big jackpot.” — Missrcl

A few were clarified within the past year. 

“Data mining and ad delivery services disguised as social media.” — sev1nk

“Facebook. It was a Pandora’s box, but we didn’t realize it until a decade later.” — mrsal511

“The 24-hour news cycle” — BSH72

And there are no shortage right here on the internet.

“Pop-up ads. Think of all the malware and viruses that people have fallen victim to because of pop-up ads, plus they are just annoying. Even the inventor of them apologized for creating them.” — -eDgAR-

“Targeted ads and internet trackers. These have done a lot of bad and practically no good.” — Anzuweeb

Finally, do not forget about the lungs. 

“Cigarettes. Those things ruined my life. I don’t smoke them anymore and have had to resource to other things. Peer pressure and wanting to fit in is an a**hole” — Sam_in_peas

“Asbestos. Now people are getting rid of it” — sc4rii

It’s a list that might make you stop and look around the next time something new and exciting comes out.

Written by Eric Spring

Eric Spring lives in New York City. He has poor vision and cooks a good egg. Most of his money is spent on live music and produce. He usually wears plain, solid color sweatshirts without hoods because he assumes loud patterns make people expect something big. Typically, he'll bypass a handshake and go straight for the hug.