- Englisch-Klausur (Jahrgang 10)
- Note 1
Discuss the issue:
New technologies and highly developed machines: a blessing or a burden for mankind?
New technologies: A Burden?
"Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal" - Albert Einstein the father of the theory of general relativity spoke this words. His attitude towards the powerful development occurring during his lifetime, as we can see, was very critical. But thought being asked for more than a century, this question has not lost anything of its actuality. In this essay I will try to discuss the pros and cons of this controversial issue. I will do this by the examples of genetic engineering and robots replacing human beings as workmen.
One of the strongest arguments against allowing machines and computers to do our work is the economical effect: Replacing human workers also means to discharge them. Due to this, unemployment would increase. Therefore the market would decrease. This would cause new unemployed people. You would have a vicious circle destroying our economical system. Another frequently used argument is that machines - no matter how "intelligent" they might be - will never be able to think as humans do or be as creative and universally applicable as humans are. The as most important supposed argument against genetic engineering is the fact that improving or - from the other point of view - manipulating an organisms genetic structure, what is already practised today, means "playing god" and, as we are not perfect, this is a very dangerous thing. And if this was not the fact, it still would bare the danger of - wanted or not - creating new viruses or genetic diseases. Thought not many people are scared of a biological war many nations have or had a B-Weapon-program in some cases tested very successful. This is one of the best examples for the misuse of the technical progress. Furthermore some people being against the new technologies argue that an inevitable result of them is the loss of privacy in favour of surveillance by genetic fingerprints and video systems. Besides, a few people think that scientists improving "artificial intelligence" could one day construct a new robot species that would replace the human race as it is shown in countless movies.
Although this sounds very convincing, we must not forget there are many facts speaking for the development and use of this new technologies. Neither are we endangered by total surveillance, nor are we going to be replaced by machines, yet. Everybody being informed about today's possibilities of science would agree to this.
But there are amazing possibilities for a peaceful use of our knowledge: Provided that you had the DNA of a criminal which could be inside a particle smaller than a thousandth millimetre, it could help you to identify and maybe to find and finally arrest him. Likewise even these people reproaching the scientists using genetic engineering for "playing god" have to admit that this methods are expected to enable us to heal lethal diseases we can not heal today and maybe improve the human genome forever. Of course this is a delicate question you could write an essay for itself. And above all you should bear in mind that the contention that the usage of machines as workers instead of human beings would cause an increasing unemployment has not automatically to be true. When the steam engine was invented in the 19th century it replaced the power of many, many workers, too. But it appeared that new jobs not known before became necessary. Today there are less people working as farmers, but there are much more working in offices or steering the machines. And even if robots would harm the economy the decreasing market itself would "heal" it. Finally this technologies make our life much easier and in many cases longer. Nobody can deny that this is a big advantage. Some of us even are only alive due to them. Just think for rescue helicopters or antibiotics produced only by the help of changing the genome of a mould fungus. Additionally they make our live much more comfortable: We can watch events happening thousands of kilometres away on TV, we can afford cars manufactured by robots, whereas nobody could afford a really handmade car and we can even communicate from Berlin to New York without any time shift thanks to modern satellite technology
To conclude: To my mind the arguments against the technical progress are not as convincing as the facts speaking for it. Of course you have to use them responsible and respect ethic limits, but all in all this development is inevitable. [750 Words]