Asimov: Will computers control humans in the future?
People always tend to seek the easy way out looking for something that would make their lives easier. Machines and tools have given us the ability to do more in less time giving us, at the same time, more comfort. As the technology advances, computers become faster and more powerful. These new machines are enabling us to do more in less time making our lives easier. The increased use of computers in the future, however, might have negative results and impact on our lives. In the novel Nine Tomorrows Isaac Asimov often criticizes our reliance on computers by portraying a futuristic world where computers control humans.
One of the images which Asimov describes in the book is that humans might become too dependent on computers. In one of the stories, Profession, Asimov writes about people being educated by computer programs designed to educate effortlessly a person. According to the Profession story people would no longer read books to learn and improve their knowledge. People would rely on the computers rather than "try to memorize enough to match someone else who knows" (Nine Tomorrows, Profession 55).
People would not chose to study, they would only want to be educated by computer tapes. Putting in knowledge would take less time than reading books and memorizing something that would take almost no time using a computer in the futuristic world that Asimov describes. Humans might began to rely on computers and allow them to control themselves by letting computers educate people. Computers would start teaching humans what computers tell them without having any choice of creativity.
Computer ould start to control humans lives and make humans become too dependent on the computers.
Another point that is criticized by Asimov is the fact that people might take their knowledge for granted allowing computers to take over and control their lives. In a story called The Feeling of Power, Asimov portrays how people started using computers to do even simple mathematical calculations.
Over a long period of time people became so reliable on computers that they forgot the simplest multiplication and division rules. If someone wanted to calculate an answer they would simply use their pocket computer to do that (The Feeling of Power 77). People became too independent from the start making them forget what they have learned in the past. People in the story The Feeling of Power would take for granted what they have learned over centuries of learning and chose computers because of their ability to do their work faster.
The lack of manual mathematics, which people chose to forget in the story, caused computers to be the ones to solve simple mathematics problems for the p le taking control of the humans by doing the work for them (The Feeling of Power 81-82). The reliance of computers went to such an extent that even Humans began to use computers in all fields of study and work allowing computers to control their lives by taking over and doing everything for them.
According to another story in the book, Asimov also describes how computers would be able to predict probabilities of an event, future. In the story All the Troubles of the World one big computer predicted crime before it even happened, allowing the police to take the person who was going to commit the crime and release him/her after the danger has passed (All The Troubles of The World 144-145). This computer, called Multivac, controlled humans by telling the authorities about who was going to commit a crime causing someone to be imprisoned until the danger has passed. It was the computer that made the decision of someone s freedom or imprisonment and that controlled others to arrest a person it suspected of committing a crime controlling his/her destiny.
The decision of imprisoning someone for a crime a person did not commit was all in the hands of a computer. It was the computer that controlled humans and their destiny and controlling other humans who believed in everything that computer told them.
Multivac could not only predict the future but it also could answer many questions that would normally embarrass people if they would have to ask someone else about it. Multivac could access its vast database of trillions of pieces of knowledge and find the best solution for one s problem (All The Troubles of The World 153). All the people believed that Multivac knows the best and allowed a computer to control their lives by following the solutions Multivac had given them (All the Troubles of The World 153). Humans followed a computer s solution to a problem they could not solve themselves allowing a computer to take control over their lives not allowing them to think for themselves.
In the Nine Tomorrows, Isaac Asimov often criticizes our reliance on computers. The author predicts that computers will increase their role in the future while the technology advances. Computers will become faster and people will want to use them more to make their lives easier.
Yet, just like to any good side there is a bad side. Asimov reflects in his writing that humans might depend on the computers so much that they will allow them to control their lives.
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