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Science

People are sharing things they would 'dis-invent' if they could, and it's food for thought

Even the inventors themselves regretted making some of these things.

coffee pods and a vape
Photos by Jisu Han on Unsplash (left) and Renz Macorol on Pexels (right)

Some things haven't turned into the great inventions they were meant to be.

Humanity is amazing, truly. The way we're continually advancing in nearly every arena of learning, the scientific discoveries we've made, the technologies we've created, the innovative improvements that are constantly being made—it's all quite remarkable.

But in all of this forward movement, we haven't alway struck a healthy balance. Technological and scientific advancements are only a net positive when they are tempered with wisdom, thoughtfulness and conscientiousness of the greater good, and there are notable times when those virtues have been lacking.j

Reddit user /leo_78 asked, "If you could dis-invent something, what would it be?" and people's responses highlight how vital it is to think about the consequences of innovations and inventions before they get put out into the world. (In fact, as we'll see, some of the people who came up with these inventions even regretted it later.)


In no particular order, here are some of the top answers:

1. Pop-up ads

"The creator of them even apologized creating them." – ChefExcellent13

"I remember when they went away for a bit and then made a resurgence with mobile. Trying going to any website now that sells something and give it 2-3 secs and you have a “Want 15% off?!” Pop up. Infuriating." – drhiggs

"Any intrusive ads really. Usually when I'm watching Twitch, there will be ads randomly playing right in the middle of the actions/fun parts." – Claudia-Roelands

2. Household appliances tied to subscription services

"We're looking at YOU, H.P.!" – SuperEP1C-FA1L-GUY

"Yo, wait, wtf? When did this happen? You telling me I have to pay $9.95 a month or something so that my dishwasher works? I'm so confused." – Parada484

"A friend of mine had a CPAP that would stop working if you stopped paying. She's dead now. Those two things are not directly related but her health issues that led to her death were certainly not helped by her sleep apnea." – PixelOrange

"Yo, what? I'm hacking anything that comes into my house so that it's dumb as rocks, I don't need super intelligent robots, I want dumb hammers hammering away at dumb nails." – TheUnkindledLives

3. Coffee pods

"Coffee Pods -- they are disgustingly wasteful." – Anim8nFool

"The k-cup inventor regrets how much extra trash they cause." – LittleOrangeBoi (It's true, he does.)

"I won a Keurig through a work raffle. I already hated the idea of it and did some research. The guy sold all his shares in the company before it took off. He tried making reusable ones but Keurig got all legal on his ass before there was enough pressure for them to make their own, but most people just use the disposable ones anyway.

In 2015, enough k-cups were made (and dumped into landfills) to wrap around the planet over 10 fucking times. What an environmental disaster.

I donated the machine to a non-profit my wife works with and they are adamant about using reusable k-cups and not the single use pods. Also I don't drink coffee so it was wasted on me anyway." – vonkeswick

4. Landmines

"Landmines. Seriously. They f**k up people long after wars are finished." – NaughtyDaisyDelight

"There’s an estimated 800,000 TONS of unexploded ordnance still in Vietnam, that would take hundreds of years to clear out. For context, the bomb dropped in Hiroshima had a yield of about 15,000 tons of TNT." – Redshift_1

"There is also the so called red zone or zone rouge in France - from Word War 1...

The zone rouge was defined just after the war as "Completely devastated. Damage to properties: 100%. Damage to Agriculture: 100%. Impossible to clean. Human life impossible" (Wikipedia) – Drumbelgalf

"I think it’s the most nefarious war machine ever invented. Infrastructure can be rebuilt, land can heal, people can forget and move on. But landmines are forever until some poor child or civilian steps on them and is maimed or killed. You can argue that nukes are worse, but at least we don’t really use them." – WeatherfordCast

5. Impossible-to-open plastic packaging

"The packages they put scissors in… that you need scissor to open. Wtf?" – AnxiousTelephone2997

"Out of everything you could've chosen you chose this one and I 100% get it.." – waveradium

"i get so many papercuts trying to open that sharp strong plastic sealed packaging." – i4mknight

"I would expand that to all single-use plastic packaging." – boondoggie42


6. On-screen tipping prompts…or just tipping in general

"The tipping option when I check out on those computers at the checkout counter." – PotatoshavePockets

"Maybe tips in general. Just pay people for the work they do." – Euphoric_Wolf7227

"This is getting so bad in Canada the default options are starting at 18% and go as high as 25%. I have to hit "other" to enter the long time cultural standard of 15% nevermind that I'm being prompted this on take out and fast food." – ReeG

"It's so refreshing travelling outside of NA to countries that don't do tipping. You go to a restaurant or to just do stuff and the price is what it actually costs you." – 0neek

People added plenty of other things like child beauty pageants, the 24-hour news cycle, the medical insurance industry, HOAs, vapes, reality television and more.

With most of the things people shared, it seems like someone could have or should have foreseen the problems they would create, which highlights how care and compassion for humanity must be at the forefront of innovation and an integral part of the decision-making process of what gets produced and what doesn't.

What would you add to the dis-invention list?

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