GRE Issue Essay 104
“Money spent on research is almost always a good investment, even when the results of that research are controversial.”
The modern world has reached its present position due to the sustained efforts of researchers and scientists who have discovered and developed the technology that provided the impetus for progress in the right direction. It has been proved time and again that the results of any type of research work have always been beneficial for the world. The results of research work have helped us understand ourselves and our past in a better manner. It is likely that there may be a research whose results could be controversial because of the fear of the formulae or theory being utilized for destructive or criminal purposes. Nevertheless, the money invested in all types of research is always a good investment keeping in mind the benefits that can be utilized from the results of the research work.
Research work related to developing ‘intelligent’ machines or robots with a thinking ability has been questioned time and again. This is because if such a technology gets into the wrong hands, there could be robots designed to carry out criminal activities. It would be difficult to trace out and identify such robots after the crime has been committed as there would be no fingerprints or DNA samples at the scene of the crime. What will happen if a nation builds up an army of invincible robots who are armed with the latest weaponry? Can they be defeated by humans? There could be a case where these ‘thinking’ robots revolt against their creators. There are numerous Hollywood movies based on this concept. Is the money being spent in such research work a good investment? The answer is a definite ‘Yes’. This is because one has to consider the advantages of employing a robot or utilizing a machine that can ‘think’.
There are so many gadgets in the market today that are termed as ‘intelligent’ because they can do a small amount of judgment on their own. People who have used an air conditioner that is designed to recognize the temperature of the room and adjust its cooling capacity accordingly, will agree that such an air conditioner is extremely useful as the person using it no longer has to keep adjusting its temperature. Washing machines that switch off when the clothes are washed, electric cookers that switch off automatically once the food is cooked and doors that open the moment you step in front of them are all examples of ‘intelligent’ machines and devices that have proved to be an asset to the society. How can then the money being spent on their research be termed as a bad investment? The controversial results of such a research can be conveniently ignored in view of the facilities that can be provided as a result of such a research.
The results of any form of research become controversial as people begin to analyze the destructive purposes for which the results could be used. Whether it is the research related to tapping nuclear energy or cloning animals, there has always been a section of the society that has brought out the destructive purposes for which the results could be used. There is no denying the fact that any form of information can be used for a negative outcome, but that does not mean that the money being spent on that research is not a good investment. The money has been profitably invested, as there are bound to be some positive gains from the results of the research.
The government can take the decision whether to implement the technology or not, if at all there is a high possibility of it being misused. However, one cannot deny providing the finance for the research as we have the right to know what the end result of the research would be. Mankind should be aware of the truth that can be revealed only through extensive research work. Therefore, the bottom-line is that irrespective of how controversial the results of research may be, the money invested in any kind of research is always a good investment.