The so-called “useless machine” typically consists of a box with an on/off toggle switch. Flicking the machine on will cause a mechanical arm to rise out of the box and shut the machine off. That’s it.
Conceived by artificial intelligence cognitive inventor Marvin Minsky in 1952, the box was actually manufactured by an IBM co-worker and quickly became “a sensation” in uselessness. Arthur C. Clarke the science fiction writer, even called the box “sinister” for its simple, mysterious function, and an entire subculture has been created on YouTube of people building their own “useless machines.”
The only thing more useless than these “useless machines” is watching videos of “useless machines” and then ranking said videos. Still, like the mindless circuits powering these boxes, I’ve got to keep believing that my life has a higher purpose. And you, who is simply watching these videos, one has got to believe that this is it for you. Game over, man.
5. “DIY Useless Machine”
Good news for you jealous, unsophisticated types: you can now build your own kit model of the “useless machine.” A slightly more tech-looking version than the others on this list, this “useless machine” comes in a sleek metal box and would look great next to all the other newfangled machines you’ve got to replace the classic version of innovations. Keep your calculators — I prefer my abacus.
This video makes the grade because not only is it made of delightful, delightful Legos, but the inventor gives us a peek beneath the system to show how the inner mechanics work. So that’s pretty sweet.
3. “Leave Me Alone Box”
This version of the “useless machine” has actually shifted the name of the contraption to the “Leave Me Alone Box.” Considering its got almost 1.5 million views on YouTube, I guess nobody is listening.