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Inventions That Negatively Impacted Society The Most

"Reddit user Madbonkersbean asked: 'What Invention has most negatively impacted society?'"

A hand holds an Iphone that can collapse
Photo by Onur Binay on Unsplash

Innovation is the key to life.

So they say.

Innovation moves society forward.

But is all motion progressive motion?

Most of the time, the effects of said forward thinking are felt far too late.

Redditor Madbonkersbean wanted to discuss the "progress" of life and its faults, so they asked:

"What Invention has most negatively impacted society?"

Go Away

"Pop-up ads... even the inventor hated it."

- wtiger430

"Especially on mobile. So infuriating trying to read an article but a bunch of popups and a video player you can’t close block 80% of the screen"

- Chogihoe

internet asl GIF by Wet CementGiphy


"The thing that has the most negative long-term impact on society is probably going to be something affecting us right now that we have yet to experience the full ramifications of. My bet is on the widespread presence of plastic in literally everything."

- badgersprite

"Some friends are doing microplastics research and how it gets from the environment into some of their target species."

"It's in the water, in the air, in the bugs, they're in the organs of the species that eat those bugs and drink the water. They had to swap labs to a higher biosecurity because the microplastics from the air filters were showing up in the samples. It's truly incredible. It's EVERYWHERE. The effects on the targets were beyond the scope of their study and honestly, what's the point, you literally cannot escape it. It's intermeshed INSIDE OUR CELLS and never goes away."

- Last-Apartment1742


"Adding lead to gasoline, adding lead to house paint, using lead pipes... I know that lead is a fundamental element, but exposure to lead in our environment causes cancer and brain damage."

- Count2Zero

"My sister used to eat peeling lead paint off the walls in the early 70's. Her life has pretty much been the 'crisis of the week' and one basket case problem after another from around 1980 to the present. She couldn't make a good decision if you made it for her."

"I'm not joking. I want to feel sorry for her - I used to. But she's also a malicious, jealous person, and at about 40 years old, I gave up on kindness and went no-contact."

- toTheNewLife


"Kid-friendly 'Youtube shorts.' I just feel like it ruins the attention span of children, giving them short/one-minute attention spans over time. They just get sucked into that s**t. I know it's not super significant compared to other inventions that could've negatively impacted society. I'm trying to think of something that might not have been mentioned here yet... lol."

- Bojack89

Body Destruction

"Cigarettes killed 100 million people in the back 80 years of the 20th century alone."

- FausttTheeartist



- Robertorgan81

"This should be higher on the list. Almost all waterproof products and stain-resistant products contain PFAS. Even fast food wrappers contain them. It is found in the majority of water supplies and 90% of people’s blood and we don’t fully understand the health effects. It does not degrade and accumulates in the food chain."

- pipocapop

The Killer

"Sugar has been killing us all for at least 70 to 80 years. I don't know when it was first introduced on a large scale, but that stuff is almost in everything. It is responsible for obesity and the latest research indicates it is also responsible for Alzheimers (they call it stage 3 diabetes). I suspect it's also destroying our gut microbiology as well, which is linked to auto-immune diseases, making refined added sugar a killer on a large scale. It's just not as obvious as smoking, lead, alcohol or asbestos. Oh, yeah; sugar is also fermented into alcohol, which is a killer as well."

- PvtDazzle

The Feed

"Infinite Scrolling and I daresay algorithms that feed into an echo chamber."

- Swimming_Sun_1225

"I've seen this personally with my parents. They're not very tech-savvy so they just read whatever news comes up on their feeds. The problem is, you click on one or two articles of a similar bent and the algorithm picks up on that and starts showing you more like it, and less of other content. It makes it much easier to tune out what you don't like."

"They've gone from being moderate (maybe just a bit right of center) to pretty conservative over only the past few years. It's hard to blame them because all the content they see shows them one very specific point of view.'

"To be clear, and not to be a centrist, but this goes for all sides. I think social media algorithms are a very big part of what is radicalizing people and pushing them to the far sides of the political spectrum and it is unfortunate."

- throw23me

Ill Effects

"Asbestos. I feel very bad for the people who were unknowingly affected by it."

- beligerentMagpie

"Asbestos is funny because, on the surface, it's like a miracle substance, but it has such detrimental long-term effects. But even all the way back to Roman times, they were aware of the ill effects of too much asbestos exposure."

- AdminsAreCool

half life tech GIF by Feliks Tomasz KonczakowskiGiphy

Shine Bright

"LED headlights. Forget that guy."

- ProbablyBigfoot

"I felt this same exact way. Until I bought a newish car with them. Good lord, what a difference.

"I have a 1991, a 2016 (halogens), and a 2019 (LED). The 91, I might as well be holding my cell phone flashlight out the damn window. And I honestly still think the jump from the halogens to the LEDs is more significant. I can see deep into the woods on either side of me, which is lovely in deer country."

"I think the issue is aim/spread. The DOT needs to regulate this shit so the beams stay out of oncoming traffic. It shouldn't be difficult to do, I've seen some of the crazy German tech in modern cars. Self-adjusting headlights isn't a hard ask lol."

- The_Shepherds_2019


"Junk food."

- yic0

"Along with soda."


"I’d expand that to ultra-processed food. Modified starches, artificial sweeteners, and stuff that masquerades as dairy and fat so that products can have longer shelf life and be mass-produced. These are all in items that are marketed as 'healthy' (eg the fat-free craze of the 80s and 90s that persists today), but there are studies that suggest they are actually changing our bodies’ hormonal responses to food, and massively contributing to the rise in overweight and obesity since the 70s.."

- poisonivyuk

What's it Worth?

"Shareholder Value."

- PamelaOfMosman

"Shareholder value being a corporation’s only duty is a legal fiction. A corporation can balance out investors, employees, and the community any way they want, as long as they clearly disclose this in investment disclosures."

"During an Apple investor meeting a big institutional investor ranted at Tim Cook about Apple’s generous pay and benefits. He said he would like to see some of those funds 'in his own pocket.' Cook said 'If you don’t like it, don’t buy Apple stock.'"

- Renaissance_Slacker


"Daylight Savings Time, at least where I live. You go forward an hour for spring and summer months, and you go back an hour in fall and winter. If you don't adjust very well to change, it can be a real bi**h."

- Flat-Investigator-96

Be Smart Daylight Saving Time GIF by PBS Digital StudiosGiphy

Not all ideas are good ideas.

Maybe inventors need more of a check to be put in place before implementation.

Daylight savings alone proves that some ideas were never meant to stand the test of time.

Thanks to social media the invention of the internet now feels like a work in progress.

For all the good it did, the bad can match it.

"Progress" can be difficult.

And will always have consequences.