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MIT Technology Review

The Biggest Technology Failures of 2016

From algorithms that spread fake news to glowing plants that don’t glow, here are our picks for the worst technologies of the year.

December 27, 2016

The glowing plant that didn’t glow

It seemed like a breakout moment for do-it-yourself biology. A super-successful Kickstarter campaign raised nearly $500,000 to genetically engineer a house plant able to luminesce in the dark. The glowing plant quickly became a symbol of the big dreams of biohackers. But it turns out that engineering life isn’t so easy. This year, we learned that there is still no glowing plant and no money left to repay the project’s more than 5,000 backers, most of whom paid Kickstarter $40 or more. Now the glowing plant is a symbol of false promises.