England is a rainy place, so you probably think the invention of the umbrella was met with fanfare. Except it wasn’t. The first man to use an umbrella in England, Jonas Hanway, was terribly ridiculed. People threw trash at him and insulted him in public for being too feminine. This was during the early 1750s, and the umbrella was too much like a parasol. Inventions often make people uncomfortable.
You’d think our society would have grown since then, but it really hasn’t. The following 10 inventions are fairly recent and have changed the world in a number of ways; yet, they’re met with criticism, controversy, and in some cases, have even faced legislation that threatened to prohibit their use altogether.
Back in 2009, e-cigarettes faced a lot of controversy. They’d been around longer than that; however, traditional tobacco cigarette companies were just starting to feel the loss. e-Cigs were stealing profits and Big Tobacco hardly stood for it.
Suddenly, the FDA launched an investigation and threatened to ban the sale of e-Cigs. Luckily, e-cigs have not been banned and continue to be a thriving industry.
New studies, such as one conducted by Cancer Research UK, find that smokers who only use e-cigs reduce their carcinogen and toxicants intake by 56 to 97 percent. Today, you can buy e-cigs anywhere tobacco products are sold, and even subscribe to e-juice online subscription boxes, such as Zamplebox.
Back in 2015, consumer drone sales hit a record high. That same year, the FAA demanded that consumers register their drones after many engaged in dangerous activities, such as epic crashes and spying on unsuspecting people. Some consumers are fighting back and saying that it’s illegal for the FAA to demand such a measure. There’s also measures to implement “no-fly-zones,” which people are saying infringe on their freedoms.
Google Glass faces controversy because it’s “creepy” says Scientific American. They allow you to record everything you see, which can be dangerous if you use them to maliciously record unsuspecting people. Moreover, they can be distracting. “Just what we need, right?” Asks Scientific American. “People reading texts and watching movies while they drive … ” Despite criticisms, Google Glass is still purchasable.
Online Ad Eliminator
No one likes ads, so the invention “Ad Trap” has a market. It removes all web ads, so you don’t have to view them. Of course, advertisers don’t want us to have this technology; it threatens the way the web makes money. Unfortunately, third-party developers have created software that can combat this new tech and will fight to suppress it.
3D printers are controversial because they allow people to make products at home, which allows people to violate copyright laws. Many people and companies are opposed to 3D printing because they claim it violates the laws that protect the products they designed. People can still buy 3D printers and make cool stuff, and that’s something that should continue because this invention is revolutionary. Just check out all the cool stuff people have made.
Bitcoins are always facing controversy. Most recently, people are demanding to know the true identity of its creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. It’s easy to see why this is the case; bitcoin is a new type of money; therefore, it threatens a ton of industries.
People have ethical issues with genetic engineering. It seems unnatural, but it could be the secret to feeding starving people and eliminating disease. Ethical concerns have thwarted genetic engineering somewhat, and that makes sense because blending animal and human DNA could have dangerous results.
In its heyday, in-vitro fertilization received criticism because people thought it was unnatural and ungodly. Today, it faces criticism because it can be used to choose a specific gender. People are afraid they’re on the cusp of a world similar to Aldus Huxley’s novel Brave New World. That it is a prelude to a world where all children are bred in test tubes.
Solar panels threaten the energy companies, so there’s been a lot of attempts to stop them from becoming popular. Those against solar panels have attempted to poison the consumer market by spreading lies and half-truths. For instance, they’ll tell you they won’t work at night or that they’re too expensive.
Guns That Look Like Other Things
Imagine owning a gun that looks like a cell phone. “Ideal Conceal” is a Minnesota company that developed a .380-caliber pistol that looks like a cellphone. It even folds up. Obviously, this is a controversial product because it would make it difficult for law enforcement to identify the weapon, as well as children may mistake it for something else and get hurt.
Inventions Often Upset the Status Quo
It makes sense that concealable guns and drones would be met with legislation that limited or prohibited their use, but it’s not quite so understandable that e-cigs or solar panels are scrutinized and legislated against. People are never going to stop innovating, but hopefully the best inventions can overcome the social and legislative challenges they’re sure to face.