The Rise of Smart Machines

We have been discussing many of the implications and examples of conflict in our world.  In this lesson, we will be looking at the causes and effects of conflicts and at the impact of modernization on these conflicts.

Who Can Replace a Man?

Begin by reading the short story "Who Can Replace a Man?" by Brian Aldiss.  The story can be found on page 140 of your text.  In class, we will discuss the story and its main elements.  


After you have read the story and participated in the class discussion, visit the online bulletin board and post answers to each of the following questions.  This will be graded, so please be sure that your posts are completed on the indicated post-it color and include your first and last name.  Please be respectful in the bulletin board space if you wish to ensure your continued participation in such spaces.

1.  Yellow Post-it -- Aldiss's story considers a world in which machines have replaced man.  Do you think that a world like this could ever really exist?  Be sure to support your answer with an explanation in complete sentences.

2.  Pink Post-it -- Many machines today do complete jobs that were once done by people.  Some people argue that this will eventually happen in education.  What are some of the pros and cons of this idea?  Choose a pro or con to share with your classmates.  Please be sure that your comment utilizes proper grammar and mechanics.

Mini Research

In his story, Aldiss gives different machines different levels of intelligence.  In this research, you will investigate a machine commonly used in daily life.  Your job is to determine if the machine has gotten "smarter" as it has evolved.  Follow the steps to complete your work:


1. Identify the machine you wish to investigate. Send an email to Mrs. Tobias that tells her the name of the machine and why you chose it. There will be no doubling, and assignments will be on a first come first served basis.

2. Begin researching your machine. You will need information on the basic history and purpose of the machine, updates that have been made to it through time, and the impact of those updates on the function of the machine. You should also include your determination of the machine's "rise in intelligence." You will need to cite at least three sources in your work, so keep track of where you get your information.  Prepare a written presentation of your findings in Google Docs.  This part will be due on Wednesday, December 15 at the start of class.  You should have everything ready to go at that time.

3. Prepare a visual timeline of the general history of your machine and a 2-3 minute oral presentation of your findings.  Your timeline can be done digitally in Google Presentation, PowerPoint, or other such program, but if you have limited computer access, your timeline can be done on a posterboard.  Presentations will be done Wednesday, December 17 and Thursday, December 18.