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Example Essay About Computers and How it Changes Our Lives. Sample Composition.

{1} The computer is a product of advanced civilization and its invention, according to some people, signals the advent of a Second Industrial Revolution. Formerly a bulky machine that demanded much space, the computer is now becoming smaller and smaller and scientists have made it more sophisticated and accordingly more useful. As is generally known, the computer can do a wide range of work, including complex computation and analyses. People now also use it as a teaching aid in designing. An infinite variety of software can be put into the computer, which explains why it is so powerful. There is, however, one thing which we should bear in mind: that the computer cannot think but man can. So there need not be any fear that someday the computer will control us and all we should expect is try our best to bring it to perfection. A computer age is not a pipe dream and there will come a day when most of our needs can be met by this wonderful machine.

{2} Until now inventors have developed an impressive array of machines called computers. At first I was mystified by these machines, but now I know what they are and what they can do. As a sophisticated electronic device the computer has a wide range of functions including the storage and memorization of information, calculation, analysis and the making of right decisions. All these functions can help man in handling difficult or complicated situations. But technological advance often cuts both ways. Computerization, or for that matter automation, can lead, for example, to unemployment and unemployment in turn will create social problems. The use of computers, however, is modern trend here to stay. We cannot resist this trend and should. In anticipation of a computerized world all those interested in the computer should find time to get the hang of it.

{3} To some modern societies the computer is one of the necessaries of life. The miracles it can do are gimpy unbelievable. I have always cherished to crack all the hard nuts in the world. Whenever I hear that a lot of people have died of hunger in this strife-ridden world, I cannot but hope that I have this computer in hand to find the way to provide an endless supply of food. In that case we wouldn‘t worry about starvation when a war breaks out or when some disaster occurs. Personally I even wish it could help me improve my English. But the long and short of it is that ever powerful it may be, the computer, as we can safely predict, cannot cure all the ills of mankind and cannot surmount all the difficulties we constantly run into. However, we enjoy being dreamers, for in dreams we can find happiness often denied us.

{4} The computer is one of the most important human inventions. A highly sophisticated electronic mechanical device, it has done a lot of good to mankind. Without it many human endeavors would be more or less hampered. Today, computers are extensively used, as, for example, in many construction projects. I have a computer, but I don't often use it in solving mathematical problems. Rather than depend on a computer for a quick printout, I would have more occasions to exercise my own brain. Anyway, the value of the computer is undeniable. We should encourage its development so that it may render more service to human beings.

{5} Computers play an important role in the modern world. Today they are used in many areas of human activities, such as business, industry, science, and education. The development of computers has also created many attractive job opportunities. I'm a college student majoring in mathematics and as such I know quite well the powers of the computer. They have evolved as a natural consequence of man’s growing need for fast and accurate calculation. To make myself better equipped in my field of study I have learned several computer languages to communicate with the computer. My experience tells me that if we want to become competent users of the computer we must keep up with its development. Because modern industrialized society need computers to perform a wide range of tasks, I think a general knowledge of such wonderful machines is quite necessary for most of us.

{6} I majored in electrical engineering four years ago and have since been interested in the computer science. After college I got a job as an electronic engineer. My job has brought me into close contact with the computer and as a result my interest in it has kept growing all the time. A computer is after all a man-made machine; therefore, its effectiveness depends upon man’s ingenuity. So long as we can program it using mathematical models, it can do almost anything we want. Of course, the capabilities of a computer depend upon its size---whether it is a microcomputer, a minicomputer, or a large computer. We can’t use a microcomputer in complicated digital processing or sonar signal processing. If we do that, the time it spends in such processing would be longer than we expect. On the other hand, if we use a large computer to do only a small job ordinarily assigned to a personal computer, the cost would be very high.

{7} The invention of the computer has often been viewed as the prelude to a third industrial revolution. With the advances made in science and technology and the general improvement of the world economic situation, many of the business firms and even national governments in the world have spent lavishly on the development of computers. If the operation of a business establishment is well computerized, this establishment can more often than not make a profit. At first I saw the computer only as a wonderful yet mystifying machine, but now I am fully aware how useful it is and what possibilities it can open up in the future. My ever-growing interest in the computer has prompted me to buy many books on the co mute and I must say I like what I have read. So far as I see it, the computer does have the power to help with a country’s economic progress. Hence, if we want to keep up with the times, we must know something about it. Not to be outdone by others, I have made up my mind to learn more about the computer. I hope I shall be a well-known computer specialist in the future because ever since computers made their first appearance they seem to have been installed everywhere for hundreds of purposes for which no one could have imagined they would be used.


Addition essay writing reference material on topics of interest

Subject: Cloning

General comments: Most people who choose this topic want to write on human cloning, not plant or animal cloning. They want to write on one or both of two types of human cloning: therapeutic or research human cloning, or reproductive human cloning. Therapeutic or research human cloning involves the creation of embryos and harvesting of their tissues to create organs or tissues for transplant into patients who need, say, liver or heart or bone marrow transplants. Reproductive human cloning involves the creation of a baby who is an identical twin of a living human being, perhaps as an infertility treatment for infertile couples, gay couples, or others who aren’t able to produce a genetically related child the usual way, or perhaps as a form of grief therapy for those who lose a child due to accident or illness.

Some students are opposed to both; some are in favor of both. But most are for one and against the other. Those who favor therapeutic human cloning but not reproductive human cloning believe that the legitimate medical benefits of therapeutic human cloning justify its use. But they think reproductive human cloning is wrong because it’s selfish and dangerous for human beings to create an exact replica of themselves to raise as a child. They’re concerned that the unique individual identity of the child will be compromised by manipulative, overbearing parents who want to control the child’s identity and life. Those who favor reproductive human cloning but not therapeutic human cloning believe that it’s okay to create human embryos provided that you’re going to let them live to grow up into human beings, but wrong to create embryos which may be destroyed after they have been used to create donor organs and tissues.

Although the textbook doesn’t say so, I encourage students to think about linking this discussion to a discussion of genetic engineering, which is more controversial and fascinating, and is also the technology that’s likely to be much more widely used and have much more of an impact on society. We’re more likely to want to change and “fix” ourselves than to copy ourselves exactly. What might we do to our own DNA? We’ll begin by correcting the defects that cause genetic diseases and conditions. But soon afterwards, we’ll dramatically lengthen our life spans and increase our IQs.

This sounds great. And in some ways it is great. But it will also create lots of potential problems. For example, what if you have to have health insurance to have your child genetically enhanced, and what if this insurance is not available to everyone? Or what if health insurance doesn’t cover genetic enhancements, and these enhancements are therefore available only to the children of the very wealthy? What if the technology evolves so rapidly that younger children in the same family have been engineered to be a lot smarter than their own older brothers and sisters? And if we dramatically lengthen the human life span, how will we make room on the planet for billions of people who live to the age of one thousand? Will it mean we have to sharply restrict the number of new people who can be born? Or if only a few people are allowed to live for a thousand years, how will we decide who gets to live that long and who doesn’t?

Who should not choose this topic? Anyone who has strong religious convictions against it or anyone who is unable to master the science. A poor understanding of the science involved is responsible for the few really terrible papers I get on this subject. For example, you have to know that your clone is not actually you, but a separate person who will be a baby and who will lead a completely independent life. You have to know that not all human characteristics are inherited. You have to know that a clone of Hitler would not be able to do exactly what Hitler did, due to his different environment and place in history. You have to know that human clones, like test tube babies, would not be created for the purpose of manufacturing a race of slaves, but to be children, like any other children. Most of this is common sense, but still not everyone intuitively figures it out. Be sure that you can!

An additional note on Hollywood and science: You know that I’ve invited you to use movies in your discussion. But it’s also important to remember that Hollywood often does a bad job of dealing with scientific topics, presenting an unrealistic view of how future technologies would work. An example of an excellent film on human genetic engineering is Gattaca. An example of a terrible film on human cloning is The Island.

Gattaca is a sensitive portrayal of the dangers genetic engineering would pose to family relationships, social equality, and human free will. The Island is an overblown pot boiler of a movie that presupposes the existence of an unscrupulous insurance company that would create adult human clones and kill the clones to harvest organs for elite clients. No, no, no! For one thing, clones will be babies. We’ll never be able to create them fresh out of a magical clam shell as new but fully grown adults, as this movie shows. So even if an amoral insurance company wanted to create a double of you to harvest its organs if you got sick, it wouldn’t do you much good. You’d have to wait decades before the needed organ would become available.
Chapter 11: Human/Machine Interaction

General comments: Almost all students who choose this topic want to discuss some controversial aspect of the way computers have changed our lives. (Other recent technologies that bear discussion because of their tremendous social impact include video games and cell phones.)

The most important thing is to be able to narrow your topic; that is, to discuss only one aspect or problem with our growing dependence on technologies like computers, cell phones, blackberries, and other technological assistants. A paper that becomes a garbage dump into which you throw everything you know about technology will lack focus and will probably be informative rather than argumentative in character. Here are some questions you might want to write about:

Are electronic games bad for kids? Why or why not?
Is it good or bad for our bosses to be able to reach us at all times of the day, at home or at work, and expect an immediate response?
Are people choosing electronic communication like emails, text-messaging, or brief phone calls as a substitute for face-to-face interaction? If so, what are the benefits and what are the dangers?
How dangerous are chat rooms and personal web sites like MySpace and Facebook?
How is the constant use of the Internet affecting education? For example, are students having a harder time producing papers with original thought?
If we rely on TV and Internet web sites for news and stop paying attention to print or online newspapers or other more complex materials, how will that affect our political process? Will we know less and less about the people we vote for? Will elections come to be more and more about personality, good looks, rumors, gossip, and guilt by association rather than about substantive issues and facts?

Who should not choose this topic? Anyone who’s obsessed with technology or can’t see anything bad about our dependence on it. Also anyone who hates technology (like your teacher, maybe).

Why should we all care about this topic? Modern technology, especially the Internet, makes our lives easier in countless ways. We can travel the world virtually from our arm chairs, meet and become friends with new people who live on the other side of the U.S. or the world, find true love from a seemingly endless list of potential mates, search the world’s great libraries or read the world’s great periodicals without leaving our office chairs. We can work from home, or even answer our email while we’re on the beach. What could be wrong with this picture?

As it turns out, a lot of things could be wrong with this picture. For example, just as we can find anyone, anyone can find us. And some of the people who want to find us don’t have such good intentions. Just as we can find out anything we want to about anyone else, others can find out anything they want to about us. They can steal our identities, solicit sex from kids, or (if they’re the FBI) arrest us for going to the same mosque as a suspected terrorist, or spy on us for sending too many emails to Pakistan last month. They can read our once-private medical records (if they’re potential employers or insurers) and use these records to deny us jobs or health insurance. They can post pictures of our homes or workplaces on the web (if they don’t like us) and invite others to follow us and attack or harass us. If we foolishly talked about our drug use or sexual exploits on some personal web site when we were thirteen, a potential employer or spouse can track down this information, even if we have removed it from public view, and it can follow us for the rest of our lives. Use your imagination. There are as many scary possibilities as wonderful and exciting ones.

And there’s an increasing body of evidence suggesting that just as people become “different” behind the wheel of a car—and often “different” means more hostile, less caring, more aggressive—people also become “different’ in front of a computer screen. And “different” often means more willing to attack or exploit other human beings, whose injuries and hurt feelings they never have to see.

An additional note on Hollywood and science: I’ve never actually been able to sit through the most popular Hollywood films on this topic, the Matrix films. (I had too much trouble following the plot of the first one.) But I can vouch for several interesting films that deal with the issues raised by the increasing linkage of humans and our own machines. Typically these films explore the extent to which humans and machines will remain separate, asking such questions as these: Will intelligent machines, like computers, ever have free will? Will they ever try to take over our world and tell us what to do? What would our world be like if it were run by machines that ran on pure intellect, without the emotional component of human feelings? Here are a few interesting films that explore these topics.

2001, a Space Odyssey (a seventies cult classic).
The Terminator films. (I can only vouch for T-2.)
Bicentennial Man (a mid-nineties film starring Robin Williams).
I Robot (a Will Smith film from about five or six years ago).
A.I. (a Stephen Spielberg film from about seven or eight years ago; the letters in the title stand for the words “Artificial Intelligence.” This is a long and complicated film, but it’s hands-down the best robot film ever made; if you can watch this movie without breaking down at the end, you have a heart of stone.)

Subject: Crime-Fighting Technology: Balancing Public Safety and Privacy

General comments: In my opinion this is the most timely of our topics, except for the chapter on social class. By “most timely,” I mean that it’s the topic most extensively treated in current news. Why? Because of the “war on terror,” of course. Generally those who write on this topic are writing about one of two types of new technologies: wiretapping and Internet surveillance, especially as permitted by the Patriot Act; or CCTV (closed circuit television camera) surveillance in public places.

However, the essays in your text do suggest other topic options. For example, the first two essays, by Clines and O’Meara, discuss the implications of compiling psychology profiles on high school students to see which ones have violent tendencies. Stockpiling information about the “psychological tendencies” of young people who have done no wrong may seem like a privacy violation worthy of a police state. But this is exactly the kind of information that was not made available to Virginia Tech prior to the rampage of the Virginia Tech shooter. Had his profile been public information made available to the university, it’s possible he might have been stopped. I can think of at least one important modern film that explores the moral implications of using profiling of potential criminals to prevent crimes. That would be the 2002 Dreamworks film Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise.

In your reader, most of the sources (other than Clines and O’Meara) are about CCTV surveillance in public places. Christian Parenti’s essay “DC’s Virtual Panopticon” is of particular interest because of its local context. One of the links to the 112 syllabus on my web page examines this topic and these essays (“Paraphrase, Critique, and Synthesis on Surveillance Cameras”). An excellent recent film that examines both the vital uses and dangers of surveillance cameras is a post 9/11 film called Enemy of the State, starring Will Smith. This film has been criticized for being unrealistic. But in my view, it’s a chilling portrayal of the possible future dangers of government spying gone out of control. A much earlier film that focuses directly on the issues of CCTV surveillance is a 1974 Francis Ford Coppola film called The Conversation. While most of you would probably balk at watching a movie that’s this old, this film does a better job than any other movie I’ve seen of exploring two relevant issues: (1) the dangers of misunderstandings that misleading surveillance tapes could create, and (2) the insidious way in which watching people transforms the watcher. (Although I haven’t yet seen it, I understand the recent academy-award winning German film The Lives of Others is also about this.)

However, the most frequently chosen sub-topic of those who write on crime-fighting technology is not CCTV surveillance or psychological profiling. It’s government wiretapping of phones and surveillance of email and Web traffic as permitted by the Patriot Act. Only one essay in your textbook (Posner’s) focuses on this issue. However, more than any other crime-fighting issue, this is the focus of numerous recent news reports. Most of the stuff on Chapter 12 in my news scrapbook in the library is on the surveillance provisions of the Patriot Act. That is, the scrapbook contains news articles discussing what the government can and cannot do to listen in on your phone calls, read your emails, track the web sites you visit, and otherwise keep track of your personal communications.

Subject: The Changing American Family

General comments: Of all the topics you have to choose from, this one is the hardest to make controversial. An overwhelming body of evidence will tell you the following three things:

Divorce is bad for kids. Single parenthood is also bad for kids. Kids who come from intact families, with both biological parents, do better in school, are less prone to get in trouble with the law, less prone to have emotional problems, less prone to suicide or drug or alcohol abuse.
The intact traditional nuclear family is almost a thing of the past. Half of all American kids grow up without both biological parents; and the number in some socio-economic groups is closer to 70%.
Divorce is also stressful for couples who don’t have kids. And people who live together before getting married do not have more secure marriages as a result; they have less secure marriages as a result. (Why isn’t necessarily clear, but it seems to have something to do with traditional versus non-traditional expectations and values.)

If you know these three things at the outset, you can have a hard time coming up with a controversial thesis. Think about it.

You can’t build a persuasive paper around stating the obvious, even if you imagine your audience is ignorant of the real situation. Those who oppose you only out of ignorance don’t constitute a legitimate opposition. Most people leap for a thesis that simply informs us of the facts, something like one of these:

There’s no such thing as a “good divorce.” Divorce is bad for kids, period.
Too many people get divorced these days.
Children in non-traditional families face problems that children in traditional families don’t face.
Couples with kids should make a real effort to stay together.
Cohabiting (living together outside marriage) is not a good substitute for marriage.

You’ll get nowhere if you try to write a “persuasive paper” that simply tells me these problems exist. Instead, you’ll have to do some hard thinking and come up with a proposal for a solution—for example, something like this:

No-fault divorce has been a catastrophe for American families. To promote family stability, we should overturn our no-fault divorce laws and require couples with young children to prove wrongdoing on the part of the partner they want to leave.

Or this:

It would be nice if we could decrease the divorce rate in American society, but to think we can do this is simply unrealistic. Therefore, in order to minimize the damage family collapse does to American children, the federal government must invest more heavily in support networks like after-school programs to take over some of the responsibilities of missing parents.

Another option that’s popular with some students is to discuss the current “hot controversy” surrounding gay marriage and gay adoption. (See especially Barret and Robinson, the first essay in this chapter.) I won’t veto this option if you want to try it. However, I should warn you that I have my doubts about whether gay marriage is still controversial. In the past three years, out of about ten students who have chosen this topic, only one has taken a stand against gay marriage or gay adoption. The overwhelming majority of researchers find that most credible evidence supports gay family rights. Opposing gay rights without resorting to a religious argument is hard. (And remember that you can’t appeal to God or use any other form of religious argument.)

Subject: Social Class and Inequality

General comments: Our country’s economic woes make this a timely topic. It was popular after Hurricane Katrina as well. President Obama seems poised to make it the number one issue of his presidency. Let’s look at some facts and talk about why in class.


An Essay About Computers and How it Changes Our Lives

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