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NerdyKeith's avatar

What are the most useless pieces of tech to ever be invented?

Asked by NerdyKeith (5464points) November 23rd, 2016
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33 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

anything made by crapple

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Nes power glove.

janbb's avatar

Google glasses

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I’m not enthused by the Internet of Things (IOT). I don’t want a smart refrigerator.

Zaku's avatar

So many possibilities!

I feel like several of them are in my car:

* Rear-view mirror with light sensors and mirror whose reflectivity is electronically adjusted by computer so it can detect when bright lights behind me might be interfering with the driver, and so adjust the reflectivity. This is supposed to make it so the driver has no need to adjust the mirror the prevent being blinded by bright lights from behind, so the ability to flip the mirror manually for that purpose has been REMOVED. Guess what high-tech doesn’t actually seem to work at all? Result: screwed up rear view mirror.

* Super smart computer-controlled headlights with bulbs that cost hundreds of dollars controlled by a computer which costs hundreds of dollars. Computer has some unknown unfixable malfunction that causes it to flash the high beams randomly. Requires over $600 or disabling the high beams. Result: No usable high beams.

* Car alarm with all sorts of sensors everywhere. Guess what? One of them goes off incorrectly randomly sometimes, meaning car makes bloody awful noise randomly. Result: Disconnect car alarm.

* Little plastic flap window shades that can cover insides of some car windows to help keep sun out. Except they break almost immediately, and become distracting noise-making flapping things that need to be removed at expense.

Other candidates not in my car:

* Electronic voting machines. Solve no actual problem, but create all sorts of opportunities for hacking, vote tampering, failure and lack of trust of voting results.

* The grip pieces on the plastic safety covers on many Trader Joe food products, where they use so much glue that you have to use a knife to cut them off anyway, and trying to use the grip will sooner bend the walls of the container than peel the lid off.

* Starkiller Base.

* The plastic ties on bags of Costco bagels, that usually destroy the bag they tie up before I can get them off.

* Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, or Star Wars, program. Would not have worked and if it had, would have put the Soviet Union in a place where they might consider attacking the US to stop it being deployed. Fortunately, the Soviet Union imploded (not due to Reagan’s cowboy diplomacy nor SDI) before that became an issue. Program thankfully scrapped.

* Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) – destroying the ozone layer for the sake of spray products.

* Lobotomization – let’s stick a pick into someone’s brain through their nose and stir to improve their psychological diagnoses.

* Digital Rights Management (DRM) – instead of realizing that we should shift business models to reward content creators and producers in different ways now that it’s easy to cheaply share data everywhere, let’s try the impossible task of trying to track who has the right to use certain data in any electronic device, and criminalize people to try to protect corporate profits in the old physical media model where it wasn’t actually illegal to share content.

* The man bra .

* DDT – the insecticide that also kills or screws up almost everything else, just more slowly.

* Agent Orange – the tactical defoliant that causes horrible problems for your thousands of own soldiers and even more civilians, causes birth defects, etc.

Zaku's avatar

@Tropical_Willie If you don’t like the Commodore 64, what do you think of the Commodore PET? Seems to me the C64 was a pretty good computer when it came out. Comparable to the Apple II and Atari 800.

CWOTUS's avatar

Slot machines

Sneki95's avatar

Touch screens, especially the touch screen keyboards on cellphones.

ucme's avatar

Our first butler was somewhat short sighted so we fitted a sat nav to the vacuum cleaner, I mean, it was just a recording of the wife yelling “watch out for the bloody cat!!” but still…

Dutchess_III's avatar

THE COMMODORES WERE A GREAT GROUP!!! What is wrong with you people?

cazzie's avatar

I lead a very low tech life. I hate anything with built in obsolescence. I need a new cell phone for Christmas because this one decided not to make any sound in my ear when I try to talk on it. It is literally giving me the silent treatment. Passive aggressive tech.
I hate car alarms and see absolutely no point in them. No body thinks there is a theif if the go off. They are just loud and obnoxious. They are not car protection. They are sleep deprivers and should be banned.

Dutchess_III's avatar

One time a car alarm went off at 3 A.M. It went on and on, and I was getting pissed. Why the hell didn’t the owner DO something? I finally got up….and realized it was MY car going off! It was a 98 Pontiac. I’d had it for about 6 months, and didn’t even know it HAD an alarm.
I had no idea what to do.
Well, the first thing, of course, is to go out and examine it. As I stepped off the deck, the alarm on my other car started honking! Scared the shit of me! It was like the freaking Twilight Zone! WHAT is going on??
Well, as for the second car, my daughter, who was about 12 at the time, thought maybe the alarm switch on the remote for my second car might shut off the first car and unbeknownst to me (I didn’t even realize she as up) keyed it. But it didn’t work. Just made things twice as bad.
Finally the cops showed up! I had NO idea what to do! I don’t know that I even had a remote for that car! After about 20 minutes they disconnected the battery for me.
I was late to work the next day.

ucme's avatar

The ashtray on a motorbike has to be one of the worst.

Brian1946's avatar

The late-50’s, early-60’s Snark missile.

Even back then, television and telephony already gave us the ability to deliver snark at electronic speeds! ;-o

josie's avatar

The trash compacter. It takes 20 pounds of garbage and turns it into…20 pounds of garbage.
My parents had one. My dad sort of smiled and shook his head every time my mom turned it on.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Lol kitchen trash compacters, yes that is a weird thing. I saw one recently and was taken aback. “Whoa, this was kind of common when I was a kid. WTF!”

cinnamonk's avatar

@josie *20 compact pounds of garbage

filmfann's avatar

RCA’s DiscO Vision. It was a needle in the groove movie player. Total POS.

Even worse than my idea for an Amish chatroom website

Dutchess_III's avatar

I like my trash compactor, but I only use it for cans. I can get 3 trash bags of cans in the compactor and it crushes them down to a nice, neat little box, which I then recycle.

We picked up up for $5 at a garage sale, and Rick installed it.

janbb's avatar


Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Stomping aluminum cans into disks is one of my favorite things. The robots will not take that from me.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

Overly-huge, 1980s boomboxes. Did the bass really need to be that heavy, and did music ever need to be that loud? How many batteries did those things consume? When a portable device grows to the size of a footlocker, it’s time to reconsider.

1980s leg warmers. They looked stupid, and they didn’t warm anyone’s legs.

1980s shoulder pads. I remember when every female garment, including a t-shirt, came with pads (which I promptly removed). A salesclerk once lectured me about how oversized shoulders create a lovely silhouette and the illusion of a slim waistline. My response? No, shoulder pads look weird and unnatural, and the effect doesn’t fool anyone.

Ok, the last 2 items don’t qualify as technology, but I’m on a roll.

Ah…the 80s… Yep, even 35 years ago, I was already an old fuddy-duddy!

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have to cut the shoulder pads out of almost every dress shirt I buy. My shoulder’s are already broad!

cazzie's avatar

show off

ragingloli's avatar

SUVs are pretty retarded.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Who me, @cazzie? LOL! I look like a freakin’ freak with shoulder pads!

ragingloli's avatar

You look like this, do you not?

DominicY's avatar

@janbb I was going to say Google Glass as well, but I wouldn’t be surprised if somehow this takes off in a few years and everyone says “remember when people mocked the Google Glass?” Or maybe we will just continue to mock it, because it seems pretty stupid and useless to me. :P

janbb's avatar

@DominicY I actually tried it on once when it was in beta testing and found it ridiculous but the techie who was actually testing it liked using it. However, I haven’t seen it go anywhere and I think they may have withdrawn it. But you’re right, it may be a prototype for more sophisticated wearable interfaces down the road.

ragingloli's avatar

The problem with Google Glass was that it made you look like a cock.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Samsung has patented a contact lens display so you don’t have to look like a cock while you ignore those around you like a dick.

It’s bad enough already with smart phones, it will only get worse.

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