One of the greatest advances in modern technology has been the invention of computers. They are already widely used in industry and in universities and the time may come when it will be possible for ordinary people to use them as well.
Computers are capable of doing extremely complicated work in all branches of learning. They can solve the most complex mathematical problems or put thousands of unrelated facts in order.
These machines can be put to varied uses. For instance, they can provide information on the best way to prevent traffic accidents, or they can count the number of times the word ‘and’ has been used in the Bible.
Because they work accurately and at high speeds, 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 far more leisure than they do today. The coming of automation is bound to have important social consequences.'
Some time 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 performance, they need detailed instructions from human beings in order to be able to operate. They can never, as it were, lead independent lives, or ‘rule the world’ by making decisions of their own.
In the future, automation may enable human beings to enjoy far more leisure than they do today.