Beyond broken Bitcoin: 7 technologies that are doomed to failure

3D printing

3D printing has a long way to go before it becomes more accessible than a 'buy it now with next day delivery' option.

Only, it's not that simple. 3D printing, while a useful industrial tool for making prototypes relatively cheaply and quickly, is nowhere near being useful for actual consumers. They're really not all that user-friendly: even if you could print all the insanely complicated parts that go into making a phone – or, heck, even a pair of trainers – you still need a fairly skilled worker to put them together. It's certainly no easier than clicking buy it now or taking a stroll to the shops.

What's more, 3-D printing is (and, in all likelihood, always will be) more expensive than just making a mould for mass production. 3-D printing has a niche, for sure – it's just that niche will always be stuff like making custom dentures or footbeds for the discerning consumer, not a new car.

6. GIFs

The concept of GIFs – a tiny nugget of video that auto-plays in a browser – certainly isn't new, and probably isn't going anywhere soon. However, the actual Graphics Interchange Format, first coined in 1987, is getting a little long in the tooth, and wide around the middle. GIF images are just too big for many computers to handle easily, rendering hundreds of Buzzfeed posts and Tumblr blogs incomprehensible (if a little easier on the eyes).


GIFs are very popular, but HTML 5 is the natural progression for short videos of cute animals doing funny things.

HTML5 video, on the other hand, provides tiny, stutter-free files that lets your computer just fly through all those clips of dogs running into windows. Give it a few years, and the GIF will be nothing but a particularly nasty Trivial Pursuit question.

7. Delivery Drones

If Amazon is to be believed, the future of buying stuff on the internet involves millions of autonomous drones flitting around, bringing HDMI cables and knock-off phone cases to the masses.

Amazon delivery drones.

Amazon drones: bringing you books, computing accessories and your future robot overlords, all with same day delivery.

Obviously, though, this is never going to work. Never mind the fact that creating armies of delivery drones is setting Skynet up for victory further down the road, but it also sounds a darn sight more expensive than equipping a postman with a bike and a sturdy pair of shorts.