Designed back in 1964, the office cubicle system, or the Action Office as its inventor called it, was intended to increase productivity and give workers some privacy in which to focus and do their work. However the inventor, Robert Propst, said in 1997 that continuing to use them in large open-plan offices today is "insanity."
Dynamite was invented by Swedish scientist and businessman Alfred Nobel (pictured), who is much better known as the man behind the famous Nobel Peace Prize. Nobel is said to have been so disturbed by the use of his invention in warfare that he started the Peace Prize to make up for the damage he had caused. It seems that Nobel was conflicted by his invention, and hoped it wouldn't encourage war, once saying: "On the day that two army corps can mutually annihilate each other in a second, all civilised nations will surely recoil with horror and disband their troops". However, Nobel died before World War I, and so would remain unaware of the real destruction his invention would go on to cause.
The invention of the atomic bomb can be attributed to the American-run Manhattan Project led by Robert Oppenheimer, often dubbed "father of the atomic bomb". However, while Oppenheimer (pictured right with Leslie Groves, military head of the Manhattan Project) was initially pleased to have succeeded in his task of creating the world's first nuclear weapon, he came to regret it. He requested that the government ban nuclear weapons, and even met President Harry S. Truman in 1945, a meeting which ended when Oppenheimer said that he felt he had "blood on [his] hands".
Another scientist who came to regret his involvement with nuclear weapons was the celebrated genius Albert Einstein, who encouraged the development of the atomic bomb in letters to President Roosevelt. Einstein urged the US to throw their weight into the Manhattan Project, but he later said he would not have done so if he had known that Germany wasn't a nuclear threat and he came to see this act as one of his greatest mistakes.
European-born Victor Gruen is said to be the father of the American shopping mall, having conceived the first examples back in the 1950s. He imagined a space where shopping and culture could come together in a single inclusive space, much like in a European city center. However, he later realized that American malls had actually "destroyed [...] cities" and what was left of many downtown walkable city centers and bitterly regretted the part he played in their invention.
It's not all that surprising that Mikhail Kalashnikov (pictured right, alongside Eugene Stoner, an American gun creator), who invented the automatic assault rifle, felt a burden on his shoulders. The Automat Kalashnikova 1947 or AK-47, named after its creator and the year it was developed, was developed for use by the Russian Armed Forces, who started using it in 1949. But the gun was later adopted by nations in the Warsaw Pact, and it is now used by countries all over the world, even featuring on Mozambique's flag. In Russia, Kalashnikov was hailed as a hero, and throughout his life he often defended his creation, saying that politicians were to blame for violence. However, in the year before his death in 2013 he wrote a letter to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church describing the "pain" he felt about creating the weapon and being "responsible for... deaths" as "unbearable".
Pepper spray was developed for use by the FBI in the 1980s by scientists who didn't necessarily understand how their invention might be used. Kamran Loghman was one of the developers who said he was shocked to see pepper spray being deployed against peaceful protestors during the Occupy movement. He said: "I feel it’s my civic duty to explain to the public that this is not what pepper spray was developed for.” Pictured is a US Air Force pepper spray training session.
The man credited as being the father of the internet, Professor Tim Berners Lee, has spoken of his regret over how the World Wide Web has gone on to be used. Launched in 1989, the internet has completely changed the way we live, but Berners Lee, who has never directly profited from his invention, is now trying to protect his creation following hacking scandals, the spread of fake news, and other destructive acts carried out over the web. In 2018 Berners Lee told a Vanity Fair journalist that he was "devastated" and believes that the internet has "failed instead of served humanity". Berners Lee isn't sitting back though, and is working on a new project called Solid which he hopes will change the way the internet is used.
Labradoodles are intelligent, affectionate dogs that don't lose their fur, thanks to the fact that they are the product of labrador and poodle cross-breeding. But did you know that Australian breeder Wally Conron, the first to produce these dogs, now regrets their soaring popularity and the breeding practices used to produce them? "There are a lot of unhealthy and abandoned dogs out there," he explained.
Scott Fahlman, a computer science teacher, first used an 'emoticon' to show that he was joking when typing out text. Little did he know that his friendly little joke would evolve into the equally loved and maligned 'emoji'. It's safe to say that Fahlman is not impressed: "My creature started as benign but it's gone places I don't approve of," he said.
John Sylvan came up with the idea of single-use plastic coffee machine pods in the early 1990s when we were less concerned about the environment and a lot more focused on convenience. But times have changed since then and Sylvan is now trying to atone for his invention by working on solar energy projects. In fact, in 2016 he told CBC Radio that he doesn't use the pods himself as they are expensive and wasteful.
The very first US Mother's Day took place in Grafton, West Virginia to honor social activist Anna Jarvis's late mother in 1906. But what started as a personal tribute took off in a big way. While she had campaigned to set up a day celebrating mothers, Jarvis (pictured) despised the way commercialization took over the event, later stating that she was sorry to have ever started Mother's Day.
Comic Sans has become one of the most ridiculed typefaces ever designed. Its inventor, Vincent Connare, created the font for a computer education program aimed at children, but Comic Sans has taken on a whole new life of its own since its 1994 inception. Connare told the Wall Street Journal: "If you love it, you don't know much about typography."
When Ethan Zuckerman wrote the code for pop-up adverts, he was simply designing a way for a site to feature adverts without them having to be part of a web page. He couldn't have predicted how annoying and over-used they would become and has since said sorry for ever having come up with the idea.
Orville Wright, one of the brothers credited with inventing the aeroplane, came to have serious reservations about the role of aircraft in warfare after living long enough to experience World War II. After seeing aircraft used to drop bombs that killed civilians, Orville felt extreme conflict about his role in the creation of the first aeroplane.
John McAfee, who invented what is perhaps the best-known computer anti-virus software, has admitted that he doesn't actually use his own product. He told the Financial Times that he removed it from his computer because it was "too annoying".
It's seen as one of the true icons of 1970s childhood, but the Chopper bike has been criticized by the very man who designed it. In 2014 Chopper inventor Tom Karen told British newspaper The Telegraph that "the Chopper wasn’t a very good bike. It was terribly heavy so you wouldn’t want to ride it very far".
Back in 2014, one of the most popular smartphone apps was Flappy Bird. The game was phenomenally popular, but also attracted controversy over its alleged use of bots to boost downloads. The resulting press attention, and messages from users describing how the game had distracted their children or led a mother not to talk to her children, drove developer Dong Nguyen (pictured) to despair. He took to Twitter announcing that he was deleting the app, stating "I cannot take this any more".
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