Have you ever had an idea, which you initially thought was brilliant, but then come to the conclusion that it hasn’t actually been your brightest idea? Well, some people acted on their great ideas and created some inventions that ended up changing the world. The problem with inventions is that once they are out of our hands, the world can twist them and use them in ways the inventor has never dreamed of. This is more or less what happened to these 7 inventors, who came to deeply regret their world-changing patents.
Being annoyed by pop-up ads is quite a universal sentiment, so imagine what the inventor, Ethan Zuckerman might feel knowing he’s responsible for one of the internet’s most hated features. Well, Zuckerman is completely aware of the situation, and he even wrote a whole essay for the Atlantic in 2014, taking full responsibility and apologizing for the pesky nuisance he created.
In the essay, he explained that the intention behind pop up ads was to allow adverts to appear when users visited a page without necessarily associating the advert with the content of the page. He and the company he worked for at the time came up with the idea after a major car company freaked out that their ad was featured on a website for adult content. “We ended up creating one of the most hated tools in the advertiser’s toolkit: The pop-up ad. I’m sorry. Our intentions were good.”
During World War II Russia’s firepower struggled to keep up with that of Germany. Mikhail Kalashnikov, who served in a tank at the beginning of the war and already came up with some improvements for tanks, set out to create an improved rifle model for his country’s army. In 1947, the AK-47 was launched. The letters are an abbreviation of Avtomat Kalashnikova, and the numbers note the year it was first manufactured. The new automatic weapon proved to be pragmatic, durable, and lightweight.
Kalashnikov passed away in 2014, which means he lived long enough to see his invention becoming extremely popular, and the favorite of terrorists and warlords world over. "I keep coming back to the same questions. If my rifle claimed people’s lives, can it be that I…, an Orthodox believer, am to blame for their deaths?” he wrote in a letter to the head of the Russian Orthodox church in 2010. On another occasion, he was quoted saying “I would prefer to have invented a machine that people could use and that would help farmers with their work — for example, a lawnmower.”
Today the cubicle has come to be a symbol of the drudgery of office work, however, the original intention of the design was the complete opposite. Bob Prost, who is responsible for inventing office cubicles, thought they would give workers more freedom and the ability to work in a variety of settings.
Companies, however, saw the design as a way to cut costs by doing away with individual offices. As more and more companies adopted the design, their versions increasingly were marketed as small, closed boxes rather than the flexible space Propst intended. Propst came to lament his invention. In 1997 he wold the New York Times “the cubiclizing of people in modern corporations is monolithic insanity".
Seems like coffee-making systems like Nespresso and Tassimo are only ever gaining popularity. One man who refuses to follow the trend in John Sylvan, who also happens to be the inventor of coffee pods. “They’re kind of expensive to use. Plus it’s not like drip coffee is tough to make,” he told The Atlantic.
It turns out Sylvan isn’t the biggest fan of his own invention, to say the least. “I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it,” he even admitted. He has a few reasons for this dislike - the pods aren’t recyclable and biodegradable, and they provide easy access to caffeine which can be addictive. “It's like a cigarette for coffee, a single-serve delivery mechanism for an addictive substance."
"Why would anyone regret the invention of something so cute?" you might wonder. Well, the original labradoodle was created in the 1980s by Wally Conron, a puppy-breeding manager for the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia. He was asked to create a non-shedding guide dog for a blind woman whose husband was allergic to dogs. The result was a labradoodle - a cross between a Golden Labrador Retriever and a Standard Poodle - which is now the most sought after hybrid in the world. Moreover, people are constantly trying to create hybrids of their own: Goldendoodles (Golden Retriever/Poodle), Schnoodles (Miniature Schnauzer/Poodle), Cavoodless (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/Poodle), the list goes on.
The problem with the poodle crosses is that they suffer various ailments: problems with their eyes, hips, elbows, even epilepsy. “I opened a Pandora’s box, that’s what I did,” Conron told Psychology Today. “So many people are just breeding for the money. So many of these dogs have physical problems, and a lot of them are just crazy.”
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