Are Machines Taking Over Man?

Posted on March 18, 2011 in Specials


By Himanshu Chauhan:

It was the period of the industrial revolution between the 18th and the 19th century in Europe that for the first times machines started to be used for purposes that earlier remained a subject to human labour . With time the usage of machines for production, transportation and other purposes of human assistance became popular and from then they have crossed great many distances and have voluntarily or otherwise been integrated into our existence to such deep levels that life of a current generation individual becomes erratic when he or she is subjected to an environment where modern tools and machines are absent.

The earliest machines were those that were used for production of goods, such as sewing machines, printing press, etc and for transportation as the steam engines came into being. Today their functions and involvement has become more intense and widespread in our lives. We use them in every sphere of our lives, be it the way we create things, managing operations, modern day production and transportation, communication and much more.

Attributes of machines are that they are more effective and efficient than human labour. They are reliable where the concern is to maintaining quality and uniformity of the product or service, they reduce the element of risk is involved in relation to human life, consistency plays as their positive point and there is much more to say about them. Machines help in sector where mass production and force is required such as garment and construction. There it is much easier to operate than would have otherwise when human workforce would have been the only option. Transportation of today has made the world a smaller place and it could not have been done without the powerful and smarter vehicles that we have today. Machines have revolutionized the sectors of health, education, communication, defense etc. and have given us a more convenient environment to live in. We use them to store and manage information in the form of computers and the list is exhaustive and still growing.

When compared with machines, the human workforce has its distinct advantages. Areas where skill, intelligence and expertise are required humans are still much more evolved and preferred than machines. Machines lack in reasoning and can only operate specifically according to their use and the input command but we can perform operations by judging the situation, analyzing our actions and we can act at discretion of our own. Art and creativity can only be seen in humans and only we can operate where there is a need to show emotional intellect. And the list is never ending here as well.

As machines have evolved they have revolutionized the life of the human civilization culturally, socially, economically and in every other known sphere and though at large the impact seems positive but at places it has also been different. Working with the help of machines has made our existence far simpler and easier than what previous generations had seen. Situations where there is little scope for error and where there is a risk of property and life, they come as saviors of the human race e.g. in the field of space research, defense, curing illnesses, environments where there is a potential threat to life, etc.

There have also been a number of concerns that have come up with the modernization of mechanical. As the machineries have become more and more complex and evolved with time, they have started to displace as with their evolution their functioning is becoming more and more independent and lesser amount of people are needed to operate and mention them. This gives rise to a situation of loss of job opportunities which has already been an issue throughout the world due to the budding population levels. With the invention and the intensive research that is being done in the sectors of artificial intelligence and robotic equipment alarm bells have gone off as many zones where human intelligence was previously recommended. Criticism that the machines are making humans more lethargic and dependent is also there.

There is always a downside of every phenomenon and so is the case with machines. What is significant here is that we do what is best for us and our environment, that our actions and decisions are taken foreseeing what their impact will be on the future generations. Usage of machinery at large though makes production easier and cheaper but the policymakers would have to behave in a bias manner towards their own specie when there is a confrontation to make policy where humans and machines stand against each other because if not done so economical and some other advantage would allow the choices to be made in favor of machines that may cause a great amount massive worldwide instability.

Machines were made to assist humans and not to evict us. When their intelligent we can become a stronger, stable and integrated civilization and their improper allocation can as well become a bane. When taking decisions if only profits are considered as the deciding factor, there may be a few individuals who will prosper but in the long-term there would always be situation of social unrest and tension.