8 Technologies We Wish Were Never Invented

By Mikey Rox on 8 July 2015 0 comments

Remember when we couldn't wait for the future? It was gonna be awesome…with a capital AWE. Flying cars, hover boards, robot maids, and automated everything would make our lives easier, happier, shinier.

Except that didn't happen. We got some of those things for sure, but many of the futuristic enhancements and conveniences that we thought were going to change our lives for the better have revealed themselves to have very dark sides — or at least unfavorable consequences.

What are they? Take a look at a few of my picks for technologies that we wish were never invented, then add your own in the comments section below.

1. Mobile Phones

There's no denying that mobile phones have innumerable benefits — like being able to call for help in an instant — but our reliance on our mobiles increasingly has become a detriment to our health and relationships, the latter of which has spawned a term of its own known as "technoference." This problem has only exponentially increased with the advent of smartphones. And perhaps that's where the real issue lies. We didn't have so many mobile phone-related problems when we were using phones like the now-primitive StarTAC or Razr.

Do you even remember those? Those phones served one purpose — to make and receive calls (and maybe play a very bare-bones game or two). Nowadays our mobile phones are essentially tiny, quite powerful computers in our pockets that give us too much 24/7 access to almost everything in our lives, and we can't seem to peel our faces away. There's probably no turning back from this downward spiral — until, of course, Mother Nature gets fed up and decides to flip the switch — but this short film about smartphone overuse exists to put the state our lives in perspective until then.

2. Texting

With mobile phones came a host of other technologies that became even more popular with the introduction of smartphones. Texting, or short messaging service (SMS), is one of them. And while I'm an avid texter myself — it's quick, easy, and efficient — I also can recognize how my reliance on SMS has affected my desire for other forms of communication, specifically voice calls. Now I send calls to voicemail because I can't be bothered — and I know I'm not alone.

I'll totally text you back after I listen to it, though. So I guess there's that.

3. Online Dating

When online dating first became a thing, we had limited technology to upload or send a dozen selfies; there was no such thing as sexting; and it was still a time in our culture when folks liked to get together one-on-one to hang out and get to know each other better.

Fast forward 15 years and this "swipe right, swipe left" world we live in leaves much to be desired, as we're more likely to hook up with someone we find attractive to feed our need for immediate gratification (a collective personality disorder that many of us suffer from as a result of all this technology) than choose to spend quality time together — because what for when there's somebody else waiting for you with the flick of a finger?

4. Video Games

I'm not a gamer. Never have been, and never will be, which is perhaps why I don't understand the draw or benefit of video games. Aside from pure entertainment value, what purpose do video games serve? To waste time? To psychologically damage users? To make kids overweight? Of course, all of those arguments have a rebuttal — and perhaps they're perfectly valid (i.e. video games can be used for learning, and there are video games to help people get fit) — but overwhelmingly most video gamers are not spending their time playing Reader Rabbit or wobbling on the Wii Fit.

5. Selfies and Selfie Sticks

Love my selfies! Everybody with whom I'm connected on social media will tell you that I'm no stranger to a sunny-day (or bathroom) selfie, but, like my affinity for texting, I'm self-aware enough to recognize that this kind of incessant narcissism isn't healthy. Quite frankly, I fear that it may lead to self-image problems down the road — specifically as I start aging more rapidly — but, then, isn't that justification that I should get in all the beautiful, tight-skinned selfies while I can?

As for the selfie stick, well, that's only perpetuating the selfie craze (though admittedly, I love my selfie stick, too), causing people to put themselves in danger in the pursuit of the perfect selfie. People are hanging off cliffs and buildings (seriously!) and in the middle of busy streets, and the issue is posing enough of a problem in Los Angeles that there are sidewalk murals scattered around West Hollywood urging selfie takers to stay out of the road. Because — splat!

6. Fracking

Unless you've been living under bedrock for the past few years, you've heard about fracking (also known as hydraulic fracturing) — the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground to release natural gas and petroleum. It's a hot-button issue, especially during election season as it pits profit makers against environmentalists due to the potential dangers fracking poses to the planet and human beings. The debate sometimes gets so heated that veteran news anchors lose their heads and start kicking guests off the air for having a difference of opinion. Very professional.

Still, studies that have been conducted are iffy at best — even the latest released by the EPA leaves room for error — and the long-term effects of the practice may not be discovered until it's too late. Paging Erin Brockovich!

7. Robo Calls

Yep, we've become so lazy as a society that live people can't even call you at dinnertime to annoy you anymore. Now we have pre-recorded robocalls to inform you about the prize you've won, the credit card for which you qualify, or the candidate for whom you should be voting. There's absolutely nothing redeeming about robocalls — unless it's a case study on how to effectively waste resources in the United States — but at least you don't have to feel bad about hanging up the phone as soon as you hear Michelle Duggar on the other end.

8. Nuclear Weapons

As a result of their invention, civilization as we know it rests in the hands of a few powerful world leaders who could decide to end it all with the press of a few buttons...

And you thought this article was just going to be about smartphones.

What are some technologies you wish were never invented? Let me know in the comments below.

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