GMAT : Analysis of An Issue

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An Issue

20. In this age of automation, many people complain that humans are becoming subservient to machines. But, in fact, machines are continually improving our lives.


Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the opinion stated above. Support your views with reasons and / or examples from your own experience, observations or reading.


In some respects humans serve machines, while in other respects machines serve us by enhancing our lives. While mechanical automation may have diminished our quality of life on balance, digital automation is doing more to improve our lives than to undermine our autonomy.

Consider first mechanical automation particularly assembly-line manufacturing. With automation came a loss of pride in and alienation from one's work. In this sense, automation both diminished our quality of life and rendered us slaves to machines in our inability to reverse progress. Admittedly, mechanical automation spawned entire industries, creating jobs, stimulating economic growth and supplying a plethora of innovative conveniences. Nevertheless, the sociological and environmental price of progress may have outweighed its benefits.

Digital automation has brought its own brand of alienation. Computer automation and especially the Internet breeds information overload and steals our time and attention away from family, community and co-workers. In these respects, digital automation tends to diminish our quality of life and create its own legion of human slaves. On the other hand, by relegating repetitive tasks to computers, digital technology has spawned great advances in medicine and physics helping us to better understand the world, to enhance our health and to prolong our lives. Digital automation has also emancipated architects, artists, designers and musicians by opening up creative possibilities and by saving time. Perhaps most important, however, information technology makes possible universal access to information, thereby providing a democratizing influence on our culture.

In sum, while mechanical automation may have created a society of slaves to modern conveniences and unfulfilling work, digital automation holds more promise for improving our lives without enslaving us to the technology.

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