Oh, sure, they helped turn desktop publishing into a reality, thereby freeing print media and the press from being under the thumb of huge media conglomerates.
Yes, they provide intense heat to enable controlled fusion experiments. Yes, the larger industrial diode lasers are used for cutting and welding where traditional methods are impractical. Sure, they serve as very precise light sources in supermarket checkout lines and CD/DVD players, and they transmit most telephone signals.
Oh yeah... they are used in medical procedures to reshape corneas and improve vision, remove tattoos and scars, resurface joints, remove rot from teeth, vaporize cancers, and pulverize kidney and gall stones, and to make surgery in general safer and easier. And don't even get me started on the practical applications of lasers in urology!
But really, what good are they? Now, finally, someone has put lasers to work for the betterment of humanity - lasers are now being used to treat bad breath.
"Now there's a laser treatment for one of the worst forms of halitosis, a rarely diagnosed version wafting relentlessly from the tonsils," New Scientist magazine said on Wednesday.Ooh... "wafting relentlessly." I guess it was a choice between solving that or figuring out a way to cure cancer once and for all. Good choice.