It’s fascinating to think about what inventors really had in mind when they came up with new ideas.

And it’s also interesting to ponder whether they could really comprehend where their inventions would eventually go and what kind of impact they would have on the world.

Folks on AskReddit shared what inventions they think did more harm than good.

Let’s take a look.

1. You’ve seen it everywhere.

“Popcorn ceilings.

Some of the older ones have asbestos in them too!

So keep that in mind if you have a roof leak or ceiling damage.”

2. Wasting water.

“Those low flow toilets that result in you wasting more water because you have to flush it multiple times to get it to take a log down.

Best solution I’ve seen is a toilet with two buttons, one for a half flush, and one for a full flush.”

3. Agreed.

“The 24-hour news cycle.

At a certain point reporting facts stopped being the primary goal of such channels, instead they report whatever will keep viewers watching.

Works ok for a 30 min news segment, but with 24 hrs that ends up over sensationalizing every little story.”

4. What’s your score?

“Credit card scores.

“Hi yes can I purchase car?” “Do you have credit?” “Uh…no I’ve been using cash to buy things. ” “Then sorry, no. Must have credit. ” “Ok can I apply for some credit then?” “Sorry, we can’t give you credit because you have no history of credit.””

5. All mixed up.

“The polygraph test.

Even its inventor, John Larson, regretted it upon realizing how law enforcement would exploit the average citizen with it.”

6. Very annoying.

“Pop-up ads.

Think of all the malware and viruses that people have fallen victim to because of pop-up ads, plus they are just annoying.

Even the inventor of them apologized for creating them.”

7. Bad news.

“Individually packaged foods and snacks.

I work at a grocery store and it’s abhorrent to me how much c**p there is and how well it sells. I mean, Christ, yesterday I stocked “Nutella to go” packs that are… Nutella with pretzel sticks.

They’re tiny and come in small plastic tubs. Or those large bags of Reese’s cups that come individually wrapped, or these ridiculous 1oz bags of freeze dried fruit that we sell which are absurdly popular, especially for how relatively expensive they are at $3 a bag.

I get that plastic itself isn’t bad, but this is egregious to me, especially with how much my generation (I’m 34) has had overuse of landfills drilled into our skulls.”

8. ABA.

“Applied Behavior Analysis. Used a ton in kids with autism.

If I recall correctly, it’s almost like a dog training method where you have a behavior from a child and you reward the child when the behavior is exhibited.”

9. Everyone has an opinion…


Despite little amount of the population using it, it still brought a toxic culture to the world.

We didn’t need to hear about every person’s opinions about everything.”

10. It’s ingrained in us.

“The 40 hour work week.

Who decided you need to work this much in order to make enough money to even be considered worthy of survival? I could understand that regularly having people commit to 40 hours of hard work thats equally distributed would hypothetically improve efficiency and push us toward a better future, but holy f**k is it not working.

Mental health issues, goverment dependency, and poverty shouldnt be an issue for the employed. The current wage disparity between minimum wage and livable wage is a joke.”

11. Done a lot of harm.

“‘The war on drugs’ and the opioid crisis.

Greatest pyramid scheme off all time.”

12. Hmmm…

“Social media, without a doubt.

Detrimental to mental development and leads to cognitive decline (especially Twitter, studies say), leads to a lack of diversity of opinion, produces insanely unrealistic and niche expectations that are harmful to young people especially.

And the list goes on.”

13. History lesson.

“There’s been really interesting discourse relating to the cotton gin.

Prior to the cotton gin, many farmers did not consider cotton to be a worthwhile crop to grow, as it was so tough to process due to the seeds in cotton that the amount of slaves it would take just to process a small amount by hand would cost more than the cotton they would produce.

With the invention of the cotton gin, a few number of slaves could process essentially as much cotton as you could produce. This skyrocketed demand for slaves in the Americas, and while slavery obviously had existed for quite some time in America, the invention of the cotton gin doubled the amount of slaves in 10 years, and multiplied fivefold by 1850.

This invention propelled the chattel slavery of the South to new heights, you could make the argument its invention profoundly compounded all racial issues in America since its inception.”

14. That’s a hot take.

“Al**hol as a beverage.

Like it or not, if al**hol as a beverage was discovered today, it would be illegal.”

15. Major problems.

“Lead in paint.

Doctors were telling us it would cause severe neurological problems for about 80 years before the US finally listened and banned it.

There are houses in the US today that still have lead paint.”

16. Going way back.

“The cotton gin.

Yeah it alleviated the work of slaves but it catapulted the demand for slavery and some historians note it as one of the causes of the American Civil War.”

17. Done a lot of damage.

“High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Used to sweeten food, enhance flavor, and add texture and volume, HFCS is a cheap and easily mass-produced ingredient that’s become a prime culprit of the US obesity epidemic. Why? Well from 1970 to 2000, there was a 25% increase in “added sugars” in the US.

After being classified as GRAS, HFCS began to replace sucrose as the main sweetener of soft drinks in the United States. At the same time, rates of obesity rose.”

18. Be careful with that thing!

“It has to be the guillotine.

A French device which appeared during the French Revolution because France still employed gruesome methods of execution which were faulty at times. The guillotine was invented as a means of quick painless execution, but it was so efficient that it led to an increase in its usage during the following years, as the punish rate skyrocketed.

Needless to say, the good intentions of its creation turned bad quite quickly… Talk about having a happy trigger finger.”

19. My teeth hurt.

“Soda/sugary drinks.

Drinking sugar drinks contributes to obesity, diabetes and other diseases. Yet it’s available EVERYWHERE you go. And it’s cheap to buy.

It also doesn’t help that soda in aluminum cans are lined with BPA that can cause high blood pressure. And soda is also packaged in plastic bottles that also contain BPA which can enter the blood stream and cause cancer.

If the sugary drinks don’t get you first… The packaging will.”

20. It adds up.

“The keurig cups.

From what I recall the guy that started that whole thing regretted it because of the amount of garbage those little single use keurig cups waste.”

21. A forever chemical.

“Teflon. A cancer causing chemical used in everything from baby bottles to fabrics to cookware and everything else.

Teflon is a “forever chemical” and is detected globally in humans, soil, drinking water, food and animals.”

22. Weapon of war.

“Machine g**s.

The inventor of the AK-47 said something along the lines of, “I would have preferred to have invented a lawn mower.””

23. Seems to be out of control.

“Cable news

It’s nonstop mind control now.

They tell folks what to buy (which they do now by calling it a shortage, results in mass panic.) I’m sure someone holds shares in whatever they tell as it’s just getting odd now.

They tell folks where they should vacation and not vacation.

They tell folks what brands they should and shouldn’t buy.

They tell folks who they should and shouldn’t vote for. This is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.

Yes, they pass all this off as opinion peices, people just take it as the truth and not an opinion.”

24. Echo chamber.


Echo chamber, ego inflating, self importance and attention seeking galore.”

25. People have strong feelings about it.


Started as an opportunity for people to rent out a spare room and meet travelers. Has morphed into a short-term rental platform where wealthy second home owners let entire homes or apartments at the expense of local communities.

Residents in once peaceful neighborhoods are forced to endure all the impacts that come with living next to makeshift unregulated hotels and group accommodation.

Loud parties any night of the week, a steady stream of strangers in apartment blocks or residential streets, parking congestion, masses of rubbish, security issues, loss of community all become commonplace.

Long-term rentals dry up because Airbnb is more lucrative and local businesses, in some cases even local hospitals, can’t find staff as they have nowhere to live. Long-term locals find themselves kicked out of their rentals to make way for another more lucrative Airbnb.

They are left with nowhere to go as other long-term rentals have gone the same way and it’s pushed prices up so much that buying a property is no longer an option.

Residential neighborhoods become a smattering of hotels without the volunteers and local people that once gave the place the sense of community that attracted many visitors to the area in the first place.

Most Airbnb users wouldn’t be aware of the detrimental impacts Airbnb can have for local communities.”

What invention do you think did more harm than good?

Let us know in the comments.

Thanks in advance!