Kalsahnikov to the cubicle: 6 inventions that should have stayed in the box

 

Inventions may change the world, but not all count as progress, and several inventors have later come to regret their bright idea.

A letter from Mikhail Kalashnikov published yesterday rues the creation of the world famous AK-47, saying: “If my rifle claimed people’s lives, then can it be that I was to blame for their deaths?”

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Nuclear bomb

The AK-47 is by no means unique as a harbinger of slaughter en masse; upon the explosion of the first nuclear bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer reflected on the enormity of his brainwave, saying: “Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

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Pepper spray

To avoid regretting your invention, it's probably best to not invent a weapon. Throughout the 1980s, Kamran Loghman worked for the FBI and helped develop pepper spray. He said: “I have never seen such an inappropriate and improper use of chemical agents.”

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Dynamite

Some inventors strive to repair the damage. Alfred Nobel was so ashamed of dynamite he created the Nobel Peace Prize to encourage governments and individuals to follow a different path.

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//

There's no need to say "//" out loud ("slash slash"?), but Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web, believes it could have been avoided altogether: “Really, if you think about it, [the web] doesn't need the //. I could have designed it not to have the //.”

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The cubicle

Robert Propst (1921-2000) is sorry if you work in a cubicle. While he didn't do much more than outline a square, he failed to anticipate how the office cubicle would turn so many office workers into wall-shredding wrecks. Propst came to call it a "monolithic insanity."

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