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Reading Comprehension for IBPS Clerk Mains: Set – 44
Directions:(1-7) Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions.
During World War II, an inventor submitted a scheme for building a giant airship armed with death rays to the British government. He had provided details of the engines, navigational systems, etc. When questioned about the death-rays themselves he exclaimed, “Oh, I thought the military had plenty of them available.”
If a robotics defined, provisionally, as a machine made in the image of man then it must be stated that, like death-rays in 1940, robots in 1990 remain in the world of speculation not as established fact. Yet just as the inventor took the existence of death rays for granted and concentrated on putting them to use, the popular imagination has been much more pre-occupied by the question of what we should do when robots do arrive, than with the business of actually making them. It is rather as if the Wright brothers’ first fight had been preceded by an extensive literature on air traffic control.
The prevailing image of the robots as a walking, talking mechanical man is firmly established in our consciousness. It is worth pondering how this notion, a hypothesis, took on so vivid a form. There are, it is true, machines in existence which we have, perhaps rather prematurely, categorized as robots. But long before even this primitive vanguard became a practical proposition, the idea of the robot was enjoying a lively existence in human imagination. It seems to have been around even before it gained a name. Other inventions had to take concrete shape before a name was found for them. It took some time for the English speaking world to agree that the ‘horseless carriage’ should be a motor car or a ‘flying machine’ an airplane. Yet when Karol Capac published his play RUR (for ‘Rossum’s Universal Robots’) the obscure word was quickly and universally adopted. It means no more than ‘serf’ in the Czech language, Capek’s ‘robots’ were but the last in the line of mechanical men, and all that the concept had lacked was a label.
Now, some seventy years on, when their real-life counterparts are only just undergoing their birth pangs, fictional robots are as familiar in our imaginative lives as cops and robbers, or cowboys and Indians. Many a hero of contemporary space opera would be as lost without a robot companion as the Lone Ranger without Topton or Holmes bereft of Watson. Writers of science fiction had seen very early that the robot had possibilities that many other technological paraphernalia lacked. Spaceships and time travel only moved old plots. But alien beings and robots, like jokers in the pack could be used to produce an entirely new game. The robot was not a prop, but a character. It could play a Watson to human Holmes, and it also had potential in the role of Holmes himself. What we see of real robots indicates that ‘machine in the image of man’ is a misleading description. But the image is still zestfully utilized in science fiction. The robot is in a limbo between man and machine, and is thus the ideal dramatic device for exploring the profoundly metaphysical issue of the relationship between the two. It can stand for all machine kind which twentieth century man has come to see as the threat to all mankind. Therein lies its appeal to serious science fiction writers who aim at more than entertainment.
1.According to the author, the people in general are convinced that
A. ‘a machine made in the image of man’ is a useful working denition of robot.
B. robots will become a reality in a few years.
C. death rays and robots are clearly a part of speculative world.
D. the actual construction of robots will take many more years of persistent eorts.
E. sensible people should not take questions like if and when about robots seriously.
2.The author compares the hypothetical literature on air traffic control with-
A. people current preoccupation with how to deal with robots when we encounter them.
B. the elaborate technical details that those working on robots must attend to.
C. the regulation that will be necessary to protect robots from industrial espionage.
D. the British inventor’s plan for the proposed airship.
E. the convention among science ction writers to create a complete selling for their new gadgets and characters.
3.The author of this paragraph, through the story of the inventor in Britain, desires to illustrate the point that-
A. scientists and inventors usually have a very further imagination.
B. adults, and not only children, can develop an absorbing interest in fantastic weapons.
C. speculation and hypothesising are well known and necessary aspects of inventions.
D. people sometimes fail to distinguish between what is well known but imaginary and what is fact.
E. the emerging field of robotics will bring the province of speculation and that of established fact together.
4.In contrast to the horseless carriage and the flying machine, the mechanical man-
A. has been created in many forms by inventors in many countries.
B. was a well understood and familiar concept long before the name ‘robot’ was used.
C. has an ancient and mythical origin.
D. was initially conceived of a slave or worker with very limited function.
E. was popularized in drama and ction in the English speaking world.
5.The stories of Holmes, Lone, Ranger etc. are mentioned in order to point out that-
A. the heroes of popular space-age science fiction have robot companions like Watson, Tonton.
B. the heroes of popular space-age science fiction are robots and are remarkable characters like Holmes.
C. a pair of robots (hero and companion) is becoming the typical characters in science fiction.
D. cops and robbers, and cowboys and Indians are being presented in an entirely new form in science ction.
E. the prototypical robot character in science fiction is loyal and persistent apart from being intelligent.
6.Though the walking talking man model of the robot is misleading, it persists in science fiction because-
A. science fiction by definition distorts reality.
B. the ability to talk gives them the potential to deal with metaphysical issues that science fiction explores.
C. authors want the robot to be the symbol of all machine kind.
D. the image is so strong that readers especially will feel lost if it is changed.
E. the man and machine image has dramatic potential that serious writers find attractive.
7.In the realms of science fiction, mechanical men have been treated differently from other technological paraphernalia becaus of –
A. they could conveniently be used like the joker in the pack of cards.
B. they could be characters in their own right and not only be props.
C. they could easily move from one setting in space or time to another.
D. they could help answer metaphysical questions beyond the reach of human characters.
E. distinguished writers wanted to use them to make science fiction serious and educative.
8.The ‘horseless carriage’ and the ‘flying machine’ are examples of-
A. inventions that were created to meet social needs.
B. inventions that were neglected during the lifetime of their inventors.
C. inventions that were given names only after they had become a part of the common experience.
D. machine that is called robots without proper justification.
E. high practical devices that are not associated with speculation and imagination.
9.According to passage, Capek’s play RUR is of special interest because –
A. it provided an account of Capek’s struggle to construct a mechanical man.
B. it transformed Capek who was an engineer into a famous playwright.
C. it showed that science and technology were quite advanced in Czechoslovakia by about 1920.
D. it gave the name ‘robot’ to the familiar notion of a mechanical man.
E. it was the first great work of science fiction.
10.Choose the word which is most nearly the SAME in meaning as the word printed in bold as used in the passage. – Obscure