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ROBOTS

 

People are fascinated by robots. Some of them look like mechanical dolls to play with. Most of them look like other machines of today's high technology

 

Serious research on intelligent robots began in the 1960s in several countries. Now we are on the fifth generation of robots. The first robots were very expensive. They cost $ 500,000 when a worker could do the same work for $ 15 an hour. By the early 1970s, a robot brain, a computer, cost $ 300,000. Now one costs only $ 300. Today's robots cost from $ 15,000 to $ 150,000

 

One of the advantages of robots is that they can work in situations that are dangerous or harmful for human workers. For example, the continuous smell of paint has a harmful effect on painters, but it doesn't bother a robot. Robots can work in nuclear power plants and in undersea research stations that might me dangerous for humans

 

Japan leads the world in the developement of robots. They have 12,000 robots working and produce 30,000 per year, most of them for export. Nissan, a Japanese automobile company, spent $ 600 million or robots for a new factory in the United States. It will be the most technologically advanced factory of its kind

 

There are robots in the plastics industry and in chemical and industrial equipment industries. One of the most common uses of robots is in automobile factories. They can do the heavy, unpleasant, or dangerous work. For example, a computer programmer writes a program that tells how much paint to use, how thick it must be, and the size of the car body. The robot does not waste any time or movements. It never becomes bored. It doesn't need a coffee break. It lasts 20 to 25 years

 

Japan has a robot that can climb a tree and cut off the branches with a chain saw. China has a ping-pong robot that shoots balls over the net so players can practice. Robots have tripled production in an IBM plant. Robots build computers. In fact, robots build other robots

 

Today's robots are simpleminded compared with the ones of the future. Researchers are now working on the sixth generation. These new robots will be able to do complex jobs. They will be able to take information from the environment. They will be able to see, using television cameras for eyes. They will be able to touch and hear. Some computers can already understand a limited vocabulary. Researchers are trying to develop ones that can understand human speech. They will be able to understand voice commands and then respond

 

The new robots will be able to move in more ways. They will have several arms, each with several fingers. The robot will be able to operate these arms and fingers by itself. It will be able to make complex decisions in a working environment

 

What effect will robots have on industrial society? Workers earn money and buy the products that factories produce, but robots cannot buy anything. Today there are millions of people who work at machines in the world. Robots will replace them. Part of this problem will be solved because of the decrease in the number of births. There will be fewer people looking for jobs. Many people will find changes in their jobs because of robots, and they will not like some of them. When robots are introduced into factories, the workers become worried and nervous about it. This can cause physical or mental illness

 

Today's robots are like babies compared with future generations. It is impossible to imagine what the next generations will be like. It is possible that they will completely change life in industrial societies. The students of today must be sure that these changes are good. Robots must improve, not harm, the quality of human life

 

Source : Concepts and Comments

دسته ها : English Readings
جمعه بیست و ششم 12 1390 21:55
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