What technological advance has caused more harm than good?

You know what they say “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.

The cell phone.

I just received one the day before the Championship, and nice as it is to be able to remain in contact with people whereever they are, I’m starting to get irked by it a bit.

Why, you ask? Simple–before I had one, if I was at my phone in my room, I’d answer it and chat. If I didn’t want to talk, I could either ignore the call or, to lose that distraction completely, go elsewhere. Now, especially since my mom expects me to have it on and with me, I can’t do that.

And if that’s not enough, I simply have to draw on my experience as a cashier at the local Piggly Wiggly. You would not believe how hard it is to conduct a transaction when they’re yammering away on their phone.

Cell phones, as far as annoyance goes. But man’s ability to create nuclear power is definitely the most harmful.

“Man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life.” - JFK

i somewhat agree. However, nuclear weapons have also added stability to the world because large-scale nations are less willing to fight knowing that it might end up with the whole world in ashes. You could really argue either way.

Escalators. I mean, I get the purpose of elevators, those who are in wheelchairs, those who have strollers etc need a way to get up and down, but stairs that walk for you? I mean, come on, how lazy can we get?

That’s true, and it was even more so true before this new era of terrorism. But now, nuclear is becoming so (relatively) common that all it takes is one terrorist group to get one missile and the whole world is in ashes.

Even more so…the power sidewalk. You know, those things that they put in some airport terminals that stretch the entire length of the concourse. the peak of man’s laziness. a floor that walks for you. gimme a break.

ummm the Segway? a machine that walks for you everwhere you go
it is really cool though.

Yeah but Segways can make President Bush look ridiculous, so they’re ok

He dosnt need a Segway to do that, all he has to do is talk

Alright friends, Election was in 2004. This is 2005. Let’s steer a bit away from politics eh?

I’d have to say that the worst invention I’ve ever seen in terms of effects on society would most definitly have to be Dance Dance Revolution. Don’t get me wrong, I love DDR, but it has definitly bred a generation of teenagers who think that they can dance. :slight_smile:

  • Genia

I think the point of those in airports is so that people can get places faster, by continuing to move under their own power while on them, thereby getting people places twice as fast.

Hmm, I dunno about you guys, but I think I speak for all of the teams that got from the Airport to their hotel downtown in Atlanta when I say that powered sidewalks and escalators are marvelous. On our way back to the airport, we were all really tired and when we got to the second down escalator (the extremely long one) in the Marta station and were horrified to find that the down escalator had been almost entirely disassembled and the only way down was the steep staircase. Not bad in terms of excercise, not good in terms of having to balance so much equipment and luggage at once!

Other than cellphones, I think that the development of mass media has done more harm than good. This is purely a personal perspective, but I truly feel that the expansion of television networks and other forms of mass media have cut right into humanity’s own creative vein. Just look at what happens when you walk up to someone on the street and tell them that you build and compete robots - they ask if it is anything like “Battle Bots”, which, IMHO, is about as far away as you can get from the true meaning of FIRST. Maybe I’m just a curmudgeon, who knows.

As I’m going into broadcast journalism, I would be interested to hear more of your opinion on this. IM me sometime, spartychica08

This is going to be an earth shattering revelation but television holds the potential for such great good but bows down to the popular pressure and has the whole country watching reality (gag cough) shows like they are the fix for everything. How embarassing for a couple to be yelling at each other on international TV. There are times when I truly am embarassed to admit I am a television engineer. I wonder whether the current terrorist movements are not a direct result of TV coverage gone amuck. It covers the bad guys and shows other idiots how to be bad too. This is one that you can fix, though. Start writing to TV executives and let them know how really angry you are. They listen to groups of people and so do sponsors. You can make a difference.

Nuclear power is a problem for me in that there has been little real thought in disposing of the waste. Although all of us want the electricity, we are not really concerned about the consequences. I believe we need to look to the future of energy and stop thinking that our natural resources are unlimited.
OK, I’ll step down now and let someone else have the soapbox for a while.

Not to disagree Al, but that arguement could be used against almost all technological improvements in communications. Gutenberg’s printing press made information (beneficial or harmful) more easily distributed; radio signals have been used for saving lives during disasters and also as triggering mechanisms for weapons; the internet provides an encyclopedic database of knowledge, but also provides a means for whackos like Heaven’s Gate to recruit and influence others.

Technology has always been a double-edged sword.

This is interesting.

First thing that comes to my mind is gunpowder. It was used almost exclusively for weapons - cannons, and later firearms, that caused previously unheard of carnage on the battlefield

and leading to the carpet bombing of WW2 in which millions of people were killed by bombers who were so far away they could not even see the people they were killing

60 million dead in WW2 alone, almost all from gunpowder based weapons

by compairson, less than 200,000 people have died to date from nuclear weapons.

That is a very interesting answer. I must have taken it for granted that there were no inventions used almost purely for harm. I wonder if gunpowder really did increase the death rate. Does anyone have any statistics on percentages of populations that died in pre-gunpowder wars? I know that something like 10% of the populations of Germany and Russia were killed during World War II.

MTV. I just killed 20 brain cells by saying “MTV”. Oops, there’s another 20. I better quit while I’m ahead. :rolleyes:

Oh yeah, and the microwave oven.

PSP…I am supposed to studying and this thing is too distracting…ahhh d$%^ you sony…