What One Invention has Ruined Society the Most?

We can all agree that humanity has achieved remarkable progress over the previous century—from cellphones to social media, it appears that our imaginations are truly boundless. But have you ever paused to consider which invention has had the most substantial adverse influence on society? These innovations have enhanced people's lives in various ways, including communication and labor productivity, but they may also be used to control and cause havoc. 

This list below delves further into determining which innovation has wreaked the most havoc on civilization.

1. Suggestion Algorithm 

One Reddit user posted, “The suggestion algorithm.”

Another replied, “I'd also say the ‘engagement' based algorithms, being that once it was created, all who stood to benefit from it realized the easiest form of engagement to get is negative engagement. Negative engagement is ruining society.” 

One also confirmed, “I missed the times when any related videos were at least in the range of the subject of the video you're watching. I'm trying to learn more about the origin of the Disney channel theme. I don't give a F*CK about MrBeast.”

2. Social Media

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One user posted, “It's so bizarre when you think about it, an entire generation growing up thinking that not only does everything need to be documented in photos, you have to be the main subject of the picture putting on an unnatural pose trying to look natural.”

“And photograph everything you eat,” another user added.

One Redditor also shared, “It's ruining modern dating, IMO… Dudes are simping for half-naked pics of women. Women are getting 100s of DMs from those pics boosting their egos. It's setting so many unrealistic expectations. IG and TikTok are convincing people they have to make six figures and have shit figured out by like 20 years old, etc. Like, there are so many problems with them imo that I haven't even listed.”

Another user also responded, “As a public school teacher, social media is the easy answer to this question. More than 70% of middle schoolers have seen pornography in some form on social media. Social media has absolutely played a role in cyberbullying and minor exploitation and promotes unhealthy and inappropriate social norms (violence, delinquent behaviors, etc.) It affects the brain similarly to drugs, which is very disturbing. It affects academic performance (if we want to play loose, we can say it makes people dumb).”

Another user concluded, “Social media. The way social media has allowed tribalism to spread around the world to the point where we don't even agree on what misinformation is. It would be hilarious if it weren't so serious… If I told you that gamergate was a failed attempt to hold video game journalists to account for their corruption, would you hear me out? Or would you just dismiss anything I had to say out of hand as the ramblings of sexist incel because you've seen “gamergate” in a number of places before saying that it's really bad? You see, we all become conditioned to be told what to think and what to feel on a number of issues. We make villains out of people who disagree with us and trust sites like Wikipedia to hold on to the truth of what has happened.

We also judge information on who is saying it. Like if Fox News suddenly did a U-turn and advocated for taking the vaccine, left-wingers in America would all start to question vaccinations. Likewise, if Biden started talking about the pros of anti-abortion laws, many right-wingers would start banging on about freedom of choice for women. It's truly sad how so many people have really strong opinions about articles they've never read and tv/movies that they have never seen just because of who they saw gave their opinion…

There is no longer a place to have civil conversations and exchange ideas. Everywhere someone is lurking, waiting to pounce with weaponized language, and even more, people are waiting to pile on in some desperate search for internet clout.

The internet was a great and wonderful place not so long ago. And look at the sh*tshow we have made of it in a very short amount of time. It's kind of sad. Instead of reaching out into the world to make friends we never could have before, we've reached out to make enemies or, worse, victims.”

3. Leaded Gasoline

A user posted, “Leaded gas.”

Another user also replied, “LEADED GASOLINE. Stuff lowered the global IQ and lots of other garbage.” 

Another user shared, “Plastic bottles and plastic wrapping.”

To make money, gasoline producers ignored the recognized risks of lead for over six decades. Tetraethyl lead increased the octane levels in gasoline, although there was concern about its safety from the start. An article in the November 10, 1924, issue of TIME revealed that 35 Standard Oil Company of New Jersey workers had contracted “occupational sickness.” 

Lead poisoning causes symptoms ranging from sleepiness to low blood pressure. In 1986, the EPA achieved a comprehensive phaseout of lead gasoline, putting an end to the attempt to sacrifice consistent health for consistent sales.

4. Single-Use Plastics

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A Redditor posted, “Single-use plastics are destroying the planet worse than any virus ever could.”

“Fair point,” another replied. 

Plastic is currently being called the worst thing ever invented because of how bad it is for the environment.

Consumers are learning more about the problems with single-use plastic, which is helping to push airlines to make the necessary changes. As world-class suppliers, we want to make the switch to biodegradable and compostable products as simple as possible.

5. Smartphones

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One user posted, “The Smartphone is possibly the BEST and the WORST thing. Stay with me for a sec… It is clear that the smartphone has changed the world in profound ways that can only be seen as a net positive. But, it also ushered in an era of 24/7 unfettered access to the entirety of known information, communication, entertainment, and vices. I don't think it's a stretch to argue that most people's brains aren't ready for that. We like to blame social media, and we should, but I'd look one step closer at the user, the device that enabled it all. What we should do about it is an entirely different conversation, but it's important to understand the full scope of consequences of these historical shifts in society.”

What do you consider to be today's worst invention? Learn more about it and leave your thoughts here.

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