An example. For more, click here.
There are those in science and engineering who would defend the limitless exploration of any avenue of investigation, particularly when funded by capitalism. They take the position, as does NASA for example, that seemingly irrelevant exploration can yield discoveries and technologies for the greater good. Perhaps this is valid. Perhaps not, when I look at the big picture of human sustainability.
I always look at a burgeoning human population of 7.5 billion and climate change which threatens certain mass misery very soon in terms of human time when I assess news of new technology. For example, the self-driving automobile. Yes, the automobile, which is largely responsible for impending climate disaster, is being improved to allow for safe driving in overcrowded conditions. How about cheaply constructed electric buses and designated bus lanes everywhere?
Medical science is particularly disorganized. Advances in medical science are based on reactive models. Modern medicine is generally reactive, not preventative. Stamping out one epidemic at a time is not a long-range strategy which bodes well in a world of over 7 billion people with enhanced communication. Eventually, there will be too many fires to put out, based in the extension of life spans, the deterioration of air/water/food quality and the burgeoning rates of obesity. IVF is one example of useless medical technology in a world which needs human population control, not explosions of quadruplets. How about a better way of getting impoverished/unwanted children adopted?
Informational engineering is the most obvious area of useless technology. Whenever I see a pink iPhone in the hands of a gum-chewing airhead on the subway, I realize just how useless much of the current informational technology is, in terms of the quality of life on the planet. The gum-chewer is more detached from his/her environment than gum-chewers of previous generations. However, he/she feels more informed and intelligent. This bolstering of the egos of narcissistic gum-chewers is definitely useless technology.