St. Bernard of Clairvaux once mentioned that the road to hell is usually paved with good intentions, and he might have been right. Technology is supposed to help us and inventors expect that their new inventions have a positive effect on people but some end up in a terrible way. Some inventions have benefited the world entirely; more have helped the people and hurt them as well, while others made the continent hell of a place. Some brilliant insights have ended causing a lot of pain and destruction that their inventors have regretted coming up with such ideas.
1. The AK-47
The Avtomat Kalashnikova Model 1947, described merely as AK-47 was invented by the Mikhail Kalashnikov, a Russian. His comrades in the Russian army complained about the dangerous rifles that they were using and how ineffective they were. Motivated to bring change, he built an AK through his machinery skills. According to Washington Post, AK is now the most prolific and effective of all combat weapons. In some countries though, you can acquire an AK-47 almost for free, and the gun has reached millions of unnecessary hands. Kalashnikov introduced a weapon that was cheap, lighter and survived the most extreme climates, and earned himself a hero status for coming up with the best assault rifle of the time.
Kalashnikov passed on in 2014 living long enough to see the extensive damage done by his creation. Violent functions and terrorist groups found ways found ways to manufacture the AK, and the weapon has been the favorite for Islamic extremists like Al Shabab, ISIS, Boko Haram, and Taliban. By 2009, a 100 million AKs had been produced, and half of them were counterfeit and in the wrong hands. Probably the world would be a little different place if the AK was never introduced, or never went outside the Russian military camps. The damage seems to be never-ending.
2. The pop-up ad
The pop-up add is pretty annoying. Have you found yourself yelling after another pop-up ad leaps in front of the content you were reading? Well, Google advertises on websites and pays the owners for helping them reach the viewers. Those ads that Google advertise are not pop-up ads, but there are browser viruses that might hook to your browser and start generating annoying pop-ads. The pop-up add was invented by Ethan Zuckerman. He is not related to Mark Zuckerburg though. The names don’t even look alike. This invention doesn’t have the damage similar to AK-47’s, but internet users surely feel the pain.
The idea of pop-up ads was funded by a business model, and Zuckerman was supposed to analyze users’ homepages to send target ads that were better for them. In the process, he created the most hated tool. According to the inventor, the intention was to allow adverts to appear when users opened a page without affecting the content of the page. There were complains that people were buying banner ads they didn’t need, and a significant company clicked an ad leading to a page that marketed anal sex. Ouch!
3. Leaded Petrol
In the early 20th century, industrialization was essential in superpower nations. Industrialization had a part to play in the World War I and II which were not even supposed to happen. Millions of lives were lost, millions more developed health complications and the environment was under attack because it was seen as more space for more factories. However, the world had not seen the worst until the discovery of tetraethyl lead which caused irreversible environmental damage. At the time, car makers were looking for a solution for engine “knocking.” The lead-based compound boosted octane levels when mixed with gasoline, and many thought it was a miracle substance and soon enough, many cars were using it worldwide.
Putting lead in petrol is now described as one of the worst mass poisonings to ever occur on earth. The noxious fumes cars were emitting were inhaled by people and kids were the most vulnerable suffering some degrees of brain damage. A British chemist, Derek Bryce-Smith warned about the risks of leaded petrol in 1954, but his report was dismissed. However, his warning gained traction, and about 20 years later, countries started to burn leaded gasoline. There are some countries today which still use leaded petrol posing a threat to their citizens.
4. The Airplane
Everyone knows Orville and Wilbur Wright for inventing and flying the first plane. It’s a history lesson that is inspiring and mind-blowing. The brothers were devoted to safe practices in aviation and determined to make the pilots and passengers safe while airborne, but they never thought that their invention would be used to hurt and maim the people who had no means of flying. In 1909, the US Army bought planes from the brothers to use them for observation, but when the First World War came to reality, airplanes played a vital part in the destruction.
The war was so intense that it looked like the end of the world, and bombs dropped from the air made it more hell-like. Guns went silent afterward, and planes that survived went back to the hangers. However, peace would last a few years, and Hitler would challenge the other superpowers as a show of might. Soon later, the engines were running in the air, carrying and dropping bombs. The peace that the world had enjoyed was short. According to the inventors, planes were meant to bring peace, but they were wrong. Planes have been our favorite interstate and international mode of transport, but we can’t forget about 9/11.
5. The Internet of Things, IoT
The Internet of Things is one of those inventions that were meant to make our lives easier through the internet. The idea is still a good one developed by smart minds. However, there are also intelligent minds with entirely negative intentions. The art of extortion has evolved, and now some criminals don’t have to kidnap your family member and ask for ransom, they have to hack into websites and withhold relevant information, including government security agencies. Internet of things hasn’t been spared as well. IoT allows you to watch the security of your home from the cameras, know what is in your smart fridge, and turn on your thermostat while away, all with your phone.
There are problems with the technology though. If your router has a weak password, your home Wi-Fi network can be hacked easily. In 2014, close to a million devices were hacked and turned into spam e-mails sending botnets. Cameras have been the most targeted by robbers who have embraced this amazing invention and offered hefty amounts to talented hackers. Your cameras could be used to show the security situation of your home and the items you own. Many people have become victims to such.
John Sylvan invented K-Cup. The single-serve plastic coffee and yogurt pods were very helpful at first. At least people were able to carry the drinks and not necessarily having them at the restaurants or home. It turns out that those coffee pods which you feed to Keurig machine are polluting the environment. Anything that destroys the environment hurts the world. Plastic wastes are blocking drainages, chocking water sources and killing the living organisms.
The cups aren’t recyclable or biodegradable, and as many countries are banning plastic bags, the K-Cups are filling up landfills around the world. Good news is that Keurig is now offering better alternatives with are recyclable and hopes that by 2020 100% of the cups will be recyclable. Meanwhile, some countries are still using the K-Cups.
7. Agent Orange
Agent orange was meant to boost food security by speeding up flowering of soybeans. However, it would defoliate the soy if sprayed in higher concentration. The discovery was made by an American botanist known as Arthur Galston. The agent orange was created through a hormone known as triiodobenzoic acid(TIBA). Later on, warfare scientists found the research and thought on how to use it for destruction. So, the created a chemical weapon and called it Agent Orange.
The U.S. military used the chemical to destroy enemy crops in Vietnam at the height of the Vietnam War to weaken their enemies. However, that wasn’t the only damage done. Thousands of Vietnamese children were born with congenital disabilities, and an equal number of adults ended up with lifelong health problems. The chemical was banned in 1971, but the damage done is still felt today.
8. Google Earth
The spectacular Google app allows us to tour around the world from our smartphones by giving us detailed views of anywhere, except North Korea and some restricted areas for “security reasons.” There are several places on earth that in the 90s and beyond were hidden from the world’s eyes, but now Google Earth has allowed everyone to see it except for some places that intelligence agencies and government have concealed. However, the powerful tool has also done some little harm to people.
According to some news sources, some murder cases have been traced back to Google Earth. Attackers have used the app to scope out homes, the neighborhoods, and buildings before staging their inhumane acts. It was reported that terrorist who orchestrated the Mumbai terror attacks used Google Earth to plan the action in 2008. Thieves in England used Google Earth to search churches with lead roofs to steal them and sell them on the black market.
9. Pepper Spray
Pepper spray was invented in 1960 and was created with Noble Intentions. The agent was used to deter dogs from attacking US Postal Service carriers. The discovery was successful until FBI put their hand on it. Kamran Loghan, the inventor, wrote the guide on how it should be used, and it was sent to the police departments. That was after FBI pushed to develop weapons with pepper spray. The spray was five times hotter than the natural pepper, and it could cause breathing difficulties, severe cough, temporary blindness, and a long-lasting burning sensation.
The spray saved hundreds of lives and had been used a couple of times by the US police. Even though the spray was meant to maintain law and order, it caused suffering. The worst event was during an incident at the University of California when police sprayed protestors. The effects were shocking to millions of Americans and the whole world at large.
10. The Atomic Bomb
Einstein is famous for his equation E=mc2, and it assisted warfare scientists to create a bomb that scares the world to date, the atomic bomb. Julius Robert Oppenheimer was the brain behind the nuclear weapon, and his research led to the black holes. After the first bullet in World War II was shot, Robert dedicated himself to creating an atomic bomb. At the pick of the war, the US retaliated Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor by dropping the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The damage is still felt to date. Chernobyl was also affected by large-scale leaks.
The world needed peace, and to ensure that it lasted long, thousands of nuclear weapons were made, and now everyone is pointing them at each other, afraid to launch first. Regardless, the world is left in fear every time world powers threaten each other with nuclear apocalypse. A weapon that was supposed to end the world war keeps us out of the vice hoping that none will be used.