GRE Argument Essay 49
The following is a letter to the editor of a news magazine.
“Clearly, the successful use of robots on missions to explore outer space in the past 20 years demonstrates that robots could be increasingly used to perform factory work more effectively, efficiently, and profitably than human factory workers. The use of robots in factories would offer several advantages. First, robots never get sick, so absenteeism would be reduced. Second, robots do not make mistakes, so factories would increase their output. Finally, the use of robots would also improve the morale of factory workers, since factory work can be so boring that many workers would be glad to shift to more interesting kinds of tasks.”
In this argument, the author has concluded that using robots for factory work would improve factory efficiency. The author has concluded the editorial by citing the fact that robots have been used effectively in many space missions in the last 20 years. In addition, the author claims that the use of robots in factories would reduce absenteeism because robots never get sick, improve output because robots do not make errors, and improve factory-worker morale because these workers can shift to less boring jobs. However, the author’s argument is unconvincing in several critical respects.
This argument depends on the hasty assumption that the kind of work that robots perform in space is similar to the work done in factories. Actually, there is a huge difference between the two environments. It is not necessary that robots would be as effective in factory jobs as they are in space missions. The danger in outer space exploration is much more than the danger involved in factory work. Hence, it is much more feasible to use robots rather than humans for such dangerous work. The effectiveness of robots in space missions might be due to the weightless environment of space or may be the average space-mission robot performs less work than a typical factory robot would be required to perform. Therefore, it is wrong on the author’s part to compare the two types of work and assume that robots will be effective in factory work also.
The next argument, which the author cites, is that robots do not fall sick but he has not considered the fact that robots get damaged, wear out, or break down. In that case, it is very difficult to repair or replace a robot. A robot may actually not be absent from the workplace, but it still may not be able to fulfill its assigned duties. Moreover, if a human being falls sick, it is easy to ask another person to work in his place but it is difficult to replace a damaged robot. The author’s claim that the use of robots would increase factory output because robots do not make errors is also questionable. The author has forgotten that the robots are programmed by their human masters. Moreover, robots can do only the work for which they are programmed, while their human counterparts are flexible in many respects. The author has not offered any evidence to prove that output of factories would increase if they replace their factory workers with robots.
Finally, the writer said that the morale of factory workers would improve if robots were used in factories as they can change their jobs to more interesting jobs. However, the author has not provided assurance that if factory workers were reassigned to other types of jobs their morale would improve. On the contrary, the working environment will be more tense as there will be less interpersonal interaction. It might hurt the morale and sentiments of workers. In addition, those who are left will be in a constant state of anxiety as they will be unsure of their jobs.