Jun 4, 2017 - Economy

We've always been afraid of technology

Technology evolves fast. We are hearing a lot of questions about where we're headed as a society, and whether or not robots will take over our lives completely. Automation can disturb us and, sure, driverless cars are a little frightening. But our fear of technology has been around since we began to invent -- it's not known for sure, but the Bronze Age-wheel, too, must have troubled some people. The Pessimists Archive has a collection of some of the best reactions to new inventions and gadgets.

Furby toys, 1999: "Hot toy turned electro-menace." NYT called the toy "a threat to nothing but the wallets and emotional equilibrium of desperately shopping parents."

The Internet, 1996: Iranian government officials wanted a "spiritual hold" on the Internet and they thought kids would be able to be brainwashed by things they saw online.

Radio, 1927: It was blamed for a murder after one teenager, who committed a double murder, said listening to the radio made him "feel queer inside." It was also blamed for causing "a tremendous amount of friction between parents and children."

Buses, 1926: Railroad employees demanded restricted bus services so that the "bus menace" would take their jobs.

Electric lights, 1914: Although we all rely on this today, people were not happy about it when electric lights were introduced. One professor argued people would become addicted to the "night life" thanks to the "great white ways." And they were blamed for people staying up later.

Automobiles, 1911: "The Devilish Devil Wagon." They were the original driverless cars, at least to those who drove horse-drawn carriages. People were so afraid they shot at them. One pastor called them "a menace to the church and the country's financial integrity." A brain specialist argued cars would make people have elongated brains. "It remains to be seen how fast the brain can handle traveling."

Recorded music, 1906:

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