We could use the term inappropriate technology to describe certain damaging technologies. The opposite of appropriate technology, suffering from a drastic lack of appropriateness.

While the use of any technology can be inappropriate, depending on context, certain technologies are especially prone to this. At the risk of being subjective, here are some examples:

  • Complex machinery in remote locations. Easy maintenance is critically important when expert service is not available locally.
  • The PlayPump - especially where a simple and effective handpump has been removed to install it, or where the primary need is for more pumps (making lower cost solutions more appropriate), or where there are not a large number of children interested in playing on it for extended periods (resulting in harder work for the users, compared to a handpump or treadle pump).
  • The Electric ChairW: used for death rather than solving a problem. (Compare technologies to improve safety and reduce conflict and stress, and urban design for crime reduction.
  • Saturday Night SpecialsW
  • TazersW: These provide a way for law enforcement to use non-lethal force, in situations where they might otherwise have used guns. Unfortunately, like any weapon, they are open to abuse. A technology to make them more accountable could reduce this (e.g. more open access to data on the usage of the devices).
  • Supermax PrisonsW
  • Nuclear PowerW
  • Nuclear Powered Interplanetary Space ProbesWW [1]
  • HAARPW [2]
  • Nuclear WeaponsW
  • Biological WeaponsW
  • Chemical WeaponsW
  • Land MinesW
  • White Phosphorus WeaponsW
  • Depleted UraniumW
  • SupernanothermateW
  • Strip MiningW
  • Mountaintop Removal MiningW
  • Off Shore Oil DrillingW
  • Hydraulic FracturingW
  • WhalingW
  • Gasoline W
  • Genetic EngineeringW
  • Factory FarmsW
  • Fresh Water DamsW
  • Drag Net Fishing []
  • Clear CuttingW
  • Biomass Energy Generating Incinerators []
  • Municipal Waste IncineratorsW
  • PesticidesW
  • HerbicidesW
  • Inhumane Animal Traps []
  • Petro-Chemical Fertilizers []
  • Diesel FuelW
  • Petro-Chemical Based Plastics []
  • Products Claiming TO Be DisposableW
  • The Incandescent Light BulbW
  • ChlorofluorocarbonsW
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Published 2011
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