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Reading Exercise 42

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Reading Exercise 42

Updated on : 20 Feb 2023

Published on : 20 Feb 2023

Past Expectations from computers

Computers are capable of doing extremely complicated work in all branches of learning. They can solve the most complex mathematical problems or put thousand unrelated data in order. These machines can be put to varied uses. For instance, they can provide information on the best way to prevent traffic accidents. They work accurately and at high speed.
They save research workers' years of hard work. This whole process by which machines can be used to work for us has been called 'automation'. In the future automation may enable human beings to enjoy more leisure than they do today. The coming of automation is bound to have important social consequences.
Some years ago, an expert on automation, Sir Leon Bagrit pointed out that it was a mistake to believe that these machines could think. There is no possibility that human beings will be controlled by machines. Though computers are capable of learning from their mistakes and improving on their performances, they need detailed instructions from human beings to be able to operate. They can never lead independent lives or rule the world by taking decisions of their own.
Sir Leon said that in the future, computers would be developed which would be small enough to be carried in one's pocket. Ordinary people would then be able to use them to obtain valuable information. Computers could be plugged into a wireless network and can be used like radios. For instance, people, going on holiday, could be informed about weather conditions. Car drivers can be given an alternative route when there is a traffic jam. It will also be possible to make tiny translating machines. This will enable people, who do not share a common language, to talk to each other without any difficulty or to read foreign publications.
It is impossible to assess the importance of a machine of this sort, for many international misunderstandings are caused simply due to our failure to understand each other. Computers will also be used in ordinary public hospitals. By providing a machine with a patient's systems, a doctor will be able to diagnose the nature of his illness. Similarly, machines could be used to keep a check on a patient's health record and bring it up to date. Doctors will, therefore, have immediate access to a great many facts which will help them in their work. Bookkeepers and accountants too could be relieved of dull clerical work for the tedious task of compiling and checking lists of figures could be done entirely by machines. Computers are the most efficient servant man has ever had and there is no limit to the way they can be used to improve our lives.### Seas
Life on our planet earth began with the sea; it is the birthplace of life on earth. The earth is the only planet in our solar system so far known which contains plenty of water and this water has made our earth colourful, pulsating with the life of a vast variety.
At present sea occupies about 70 percent of the earth's surface. In the southern hemisphere, it occupies more area than that in the northern. About 97% of the total water on the surface of the earth is found in the seas and the remaining three percent, which is generally fresh, is in lakes, rivers, ponds, etc.
Sea has given food and shelter to countless creatures. It is a potential source of protein. In the 1900s, the world population was only 150 crores, now it is more than 560 crores and is increasing at a very fast rate. As a result, there is a terrible hunger in many parts of the world. In Africa, Asia, and South America, millions of people do not get enough to eat. Many die of malnutrition. Sea, if used scientifically and judiciously, can meet most of our demands.
Plankton or algae mostly constitutes the plant life. Like plant plankton, there are also animal plankton; the smallest living creature in the sea. These animal plankton feed on plant plankton and small fish. Thus, there is an unbroken chain of life in the sea.
Arctic and Antarctic seas abound in plankton and algae and so in fish also. Blue whales, the largest living creatures of the world, are also found here in great number.
Some countries have developed sea farming to a great extent. The Japanese and the Hawaiians relish eating sea plants but it is not so in other countries though some use them to feed their cattle or as manure in their fields. The fact is that sea plants contain rich nutrients not found in other vegetarian food. It is good that even in our country some scientists have developed some recipes for curries, jams, etc. to be made from algae.
But we must remember one thing that the sea is not to be exploited immediately. For example, man in his greed has hunted whales and some other sea creatures so recklessly that some of their species have either become extinct or are on the verge of extinction. Now, nations of the world have realised their folly and have taken some joint decisions. For example, one such decision is that the size of the holes in fishing nets should be big enough to let baby fish escape through. Otherwise, the killing of large quantities of very young fish would have an adverse effect on the fish population. In the same way, another decision is for the protection of blue whales.

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