We could easily fill up an entire article with the devices and technology that we’re thankful were invented. But what about the opposite? Surely there are things that are the bane or scourge of your existence. Is there some technology or device you wish hadn’t been invented?
Ada couldn’t think of a single technology or device, but she does consider Windows Vista to be a blunder. At the same time, she has to be thankful for it, as “it made me ditch Windows completely and switch to Linux for everything.”
Ryan feels fitness trackers “lull people into a false sense of security when it comes to their overall fitness, diet, and health.” He sees people feeling because they walked 10,000 steps in a day that it means they can eat whatever they want. He realizes that in the hands of people who understand the metrics they can be a useful tool but thinks “a lot of people lack the general understanding of how their bodies function and how a multitude of lifestyle choices contribute to overall health.”
Phil realizes it’s controversial, but he’s going with the Internet. While he loves it and needs to look up obscure facts 24/7, “it’s also responsible for everyone being addicted to instant gratification.” He feels having to wait to get answers “built anticipation and commitment” and that you got the most out of that information because of what you put into it. “Ease of acquisition makes it more disposable.”
Andrew feels there’s good sides and bad sides to having seemingly every technology available to us – “nuclear power, but nuclear bombs; faster travel, but more pollution; a worldwide network of human knowledge, but less privacy.” Some technology has cost more than it’s given, “but given that any new technology tends to have an impact on future technologies, it’s arguable that their indirect value actually increases over time.” He doesn’t think we would have lost much in human value if the ENIAC project was killed at the time, but to go back in time now and kill it, leads to a paradox of coming back to a different reality.
Yet there are also things that could have been done better. He wishes there would have been a focus on nuclear power using Thorium instead of Uranium/Plutonium, but the incentive was on developing weapons. He’s not a fan of the way big data turned out – “it developed in a very piecemeal, siloed way where we were pretty much just patching holes in the silos as we found them.” He hopes that there will be a way to give people control over their own identities and data, but we have an entrenched system. There will always be unforeseen consequences, so he’s sure “we’ll be running into double-edged technology for quite some time to come.”
Alex wishes land mines weren’t invented. He feels “as a society we need to think about what future technologies might exist and start thinking about the kind of role we want them to play in our lives.” He uses widespread facial recognition as an example, with it being on the verge of becoming a reality. Should facial recognition be permitted by private companies? He figures we should start deciding now before it’s too late.
Damien has the “for the win” answer with “guns.” He doesn’t see a use for them other than killing. He adds he “wouldn’t be surprised if a ‘smart gun’ is already in the works.”
I’d like to piggyback on both Damien’s answer and Andrew’s. It’s true, there are good and bad sides to all technology. It’s like human nature in a way. We become gluttonous. We do such wonderful things with technology – we’ve saved lives with it – but we also seem to push it to its limits to where it then becomes harmful and takes lives. Yes, guns are made for killing, but they were used to kill animals that provided food, yet now that killing has become sport. And once we developed semi-automatic rifles, the sport has become killing humans.
This topic has gone much deeper than I ever intended it to when I initially asked it. It became so thought provoking on a number of different levels. We’d like to hear your opinion, whether it’s a simple device you wish didn’t exist or whether it’s the ideas brought forward by a technology that has gotten out of hand. Is there some technology or device you wish hadn’t been invented? Join our thought-provoking conversation in the comments section down below.