inventions make our lives better. For every solar panel pumping out clean energy, there’s a gas-guzzling ATV running over Bambi. They’re loud, bad for the environment and they flip over a lot. Don’t get us wrong. We love new gadgets as much as the next gearhead. Geeking out on the sleek design of a new electric car or drone distracts from our daily miseries. Witnessing a new medical device or ocean-cleaning robot gives us hope for the future. Still, technology is a double-edged sword.
And we don’t mean doubled-edged sword in a good kill-more-attacking-zombies way. No, it’s more like in a bad cut-off-your-fingers-and-everyone-laughs-at-you way. Sure, some of the following inventions are cool, useful or fun. Some may even help people in certain situations, even while hurting more in others. We may even love some of these contraptions, but we’re not sold on their benefit to humanity. We run down 10 inventions that humanity might be better off if it had never invented in the first place.
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10 inventions that would have been better off never existing
CRISPR-Cas9 is a genome-editing technology that can remix our genetic code, which is just what a scientist in China did to at least three children last year. He was imprisoned for illegal medical practice, but locking away this powerful new technology will be impossible, so get ready for your new boss to be a super baby.
The first fast-food joint, a White Castle, opened in 1921, and American waistlines have grown a lot since then. Fast food is tasty and convenient, but it’s also a major factor in why over 30 percent of Americans are obese and contributes to heart disease, diabetes and a whole lot of diarrhea.
All-Terrain Vehicles are a great way for lazy people to see nature while destroying it. The Jigger was the first such vehicle, and could actually move in water too, meaning you could truly harm any environment on Earth without getting off your butt.
The first iPad was introduced in 2010, and with every new model, hundreds of millions of older machines become toxic e-waste. E-waste causes serious harm to human health and the environment, which makes us wonder if these sleek, overpriced tablets are really worth it.
Active Sonar systems help navies find and kill each other, which we guess is good? However, they also cause whales, dolphins and other sea life to beach themselves all over the world, which doesn’t bode well for the future of the ocean ecosystem most of the human race depends on for protein.
Jet skis are like the ATVs of the sea in that they are just as loud, bad for the environment and accident-prone. Not only have coked-up douchebags probably run over millions of animals on these, but they’ve also all spilled billions of gallons into the ocean from those dirty two-stroke engines.
The first credit cards were issued in New York in the 1940s. While these little plastic rectangles are quite handy, they are contributing hundreds of billions to the U.S. consumer debt crisis, which is definitely above our credit limit.
Apple Airpods aren’t as bad for the environment or human health as some of the other entries on this list, but what they lack in evil they make up for in just awful design. Not only do most people require third-party ear tips to keep the things from falling out, but they also have no volume control, short battery life and are easier to lose than your mind while reading presidential tweets.
Firearms were first invented in China around 1,000 years ago, but they’ve come along way from those first bamboo fire lances. In 2019, 15,292 people died from gun violence in the U.S., and that’s excluding the roughly 23,000 more who used guns to commit suicide, and that’s not even getting into deaths from firearms in wars.
As if X-ray security scans, face masks, hidden fees, uncomfortable seats and rapidly spreading novel diseases weren’t enough reasons to hate flying, the environmental impact of aviation is one more. A long flight can release as many emissions as hundreds of cars do in a year, so maybe we’d be better off if we had never spread our wings.