A graphic that includes a manipulated image of CEO Mark Zuckerberg of Metaverse for Technology Review encapsulates the worst tech of 2021. (Source: Mel Haasch for technologyreview.com)

Metaverse, Ineffective Alzheimer’s Drugs Among Year’s Flops in Tech

While innovations like vaccines gained praise, MIT’s Technology Review skewered the worst tech of 2021 in its latest issue. One of the biggest targets was a drug meant to treat Alzheimer’s disease that could be described as disappointing, as well as dangerous for some people.

Biogen’s drug Aduhelm exemplified the worst of the worst in new developments through tech, initially costing around $56,400 annually, according to the story by Antonio Regalado.

“Aduhelm, the first new Alzheimer’s drug in 20 years, is already a fiasco. Few patients are getting it, Biogen’s sales are minuscule, and at least one person has died from brain swelling. Since the approval, the company has cut the drug’s price in half, and its research chief has abruptly resigned.”

Other failed tech included Zillow’s house-buying algorithm, which generated “Zestimates” that were wildly overpriced and ultimately cost the company $500 million in write-offs when it outbid buyers on properties.


The rise of ransomware made the list because of a group called DarkSide that extorted more than $4 million in BitCoin from Colonial Pipeline, which operates 5,500 miles of gasoline and fuel pipes stretching between Houston and New York.

“By attacking critical infrastructure, the gang drew more attention than it expected. The FBI tracked and seized back about half the Bitcoin ransom, and DarkSide later announced on its website that it was going out of business.”

Space Tourism was launched by Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson and then via Blue Origin, the company by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, which showed how billionaires can rake cash from millionaires as they sent shuttles up to orbit the planet. The Gizmodo story “Space Tourism is a Waste,” explains the uselessness and environmental costs of the businesses.

And last, but not least, beauty filters advanced by FaceBook, aka Metaverse, helped distort the body images of young girls and make them unhappy with the way they looked.

“These apps are not just gimmicks, like those that give you bunny ears. For some young women, they enforce false images they can’t live up to. The message kids are getting is not ‘Be yourself.’ “

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