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Q&A- Impact of ICT on Society

What is repetitive strain injury?

  • the pain felt in muscles, nerves and tendons caused by repetitive movement and overuse.
  • Injury as a result of repetitive use of parts of the body while performing work
  • Strains and injuries due to prolonged typing and use of the mouse

5 Artificial intelligence is an emerging trend in computer science.
(a) Discuss the use of artificial intelligence by describing some of its characteristics, the ways in which it may be used and the ethical issues associated with its use.
 

Branch of computer science based on enabling computers to
behave like humans/mimic aspects of human intelligence
AI is implemented in software.
Combines psychology, biology, linguistics, mathematics, neuroscience,
and philosophy (ethics)
AI is not the same as the general intelligence of human beings

 

Uses – Any of the following:
Game playing (chess, quiz, video games)
Analytics (analyse buying patterns, predicting behaviours, predictive
text, financial markets)
Image processing (recognising objects/patterns)
Logistics (scheduling, order fulfilment)
Control systems (cars, manufacturing, weapons, navigation)
Expert systems (medical, mechanical, electrical diagnosis)
Neural networks (simulating neuron behaviours as in brains)
Natural languages processing (chatterbots, chatbots, speech
recognition)
Robotics (dangerous situations, help aged or disabled)

 

Ethical issues – Any of the following:
Take the work of humans, thereby affecting employment rates
Is a computer to be trusted to make decisions (life-death)?

If a computer discovers something that humans can’t prove, should it be
accepted as truth?
Do AI machines have rights?
Will people be comfortable interacting with machines that are
considered intelligent?

Achieng plays an online game on her laptop. List two ways she can reduce the risk of developing repetitive strain injury(RSI)

  • By use of an ergonomic keyboard
  • She should take regular breaks from her computer and stretch her joints
  • She should use standard furniture with an upright backrest to reduce strain on the back

A company making televisions has introduced robots to replace the human work force.

(a) Describe three effects this would have on the work force

(b) Give two advantages to the company of introducing robots

(c) How could the robots be trained to assemble the televisions?

(d) A whole batch of televisions was produced with some of the parts missing. How could this error have been avoided?

(a) Describe three effects this would have on the work force

  • loss of jobs/unemployment
  • deskilling
  • need to re-train
  • different jobs available/re-skilling
  • no longer need to do hazardous/tedious jobs

(b) Give two advantages to the company of introducing robots

lower work force costs (no salaries to pay)

  • lower environmental costs (less electricity for heating/lighting)
  • higher throughput
  • more consistent product
  • robots don’t need breaks, holidays/work 24/7 etc.
  • robots don’t take industrial action

(c) How could the robots be trained to assemble the televisions?

  • tasks repeated by skilled worker and how each task is done is memorised
  • tasks programmed directly into the computer/robot memor

(d) A whole batch of televisions was produced with some of the parts missing. How could this error have been avoided?

  • if parts missing for a sequence, then a warning should be given and the assembly stopped
  • several quality control stages to spot an error early on
  • program in checks at each stage of assembly so robots can detect a fault immediately

The operators who enter the data into the files sit at keyboards to do their work.
Discuss

(i) the potential health hazards of this type of work,
(ii) the ways that management can help to overcome the effects of the health hazards.

(i) the potential health hazards of this type of work,

  • backstrain due to long periods of immobility
  • eye strain due to long periods of staring  at the screen
  • RSI- continual use of the same muscle group

(ii) the ways that management can help to overcome the effects of the health hazards.

  • Move around regularly
  • use ergonomic chair
  • use anti-glare screen
  • use of wrist pads

Define the term ‘outsourcing’.

  • Outsourcing is the practice of using third-party providers to perform services and/or create goods that would traditionally be done within the business.

Identify three ways in which this new technology has affected employees. In each case, explain why it has had an impact.

  • deskilling software has removed the need for some of the more traditional skills e.g. using CAD
  • (re-)training work practices have changed; need to learn how to use the new software/computer
  • redundancy new technology allows work to be completed by fewer staff/out-sourced to “cheaper” work forces in foreign countries
  • work from home (etc.) use of emails, VoIP, video conferencing, instant messaging, etc. allows working away from the office
  • nicer/safer workplace quieter (no noisy typewriters) and safer (no heavy filing cabinets)
  • health (& safety) RSI, headaches, backaches

Describe two health risks associated with the increased use of computers.

  • RSI in wrists or fingers from prolonged typing or repeated clicking of mouse button
  • headaches/eyestrain/dry eye from staring at a monitor for long periods of time/glare from monitor
  • back ache/strain from sitting in the  same position for a long time/using chair with no adjustment

Describe an environmental issue related to the disposal of computer components

Many components that go into computer systems are toxic and dangerous to the environment if released or disposed of inappropriately.
Heavy metals are used in batteries and circuits and these can pollute groundwater or kill animals if left exposed on landfill. Large quantities of plastics are used in systems, which take a long time to break down, some of the plastic will eventually break down into toxins as it degrades.