Ours is rightly called the machine age as we are living in the world of machines. Everywhere and all the time we depend on machines. Most of the things of daily use like pencils, knives, watches, fans, shoes and cloth are the products of machines. We construct our houses, enjoy comfortable life at home and move around at ease with the help of machines. Machines are the result of man’s effort to produce more work with less energy.
Industrial progress depends on the use of new and more efficient machines that can produce more and better goods. The ruling industrial powers, that is, Japan, Italy, France, England, Russia, the US and the rest have made use of modern technology to computerize (use computers in) the designing and production of machines in great demand like cars, TVs, refrigerators and various other electric instruments and devices. Our success as an industrial power will depend a great deal on the use of the latest electronic, laser and other technologies. The whole defence industry producing war planes, submarines and light and heavy arms needs an intelligent use of the latest technologies.
The mechanization of (using machines in) agriculture is essential to a big increase (rise) in the production of food grains. We have begun using, on a vast scale, the tractor, mower (machine for cutting the crops), thresher (machine for beating the grain out of wheat, etc.), tube-well engines and some other heavy machines. No doubt, the use of machinery on farms makes farm labour surplus (extra). This surplus labour can, however, be utilized in small-scale cottage industries in the villages.
The engines used in our cars, buses, railway engines (locomotives), aeroplanes and ships change (transform) energy into power. We are developing more efficient engines now to help us to move at hundreds of kilometres per hour on the ground and to fly at supersonic speeds (at speeds faster than the speed of sound). Machines for our vehicles using nuclear energy in place of oil or gas might bring about a revolution in transportation.
Different kinds of machines have made our life at home highly comfortable. There are the gas and electric stove, the cooking-range, the juicer, the electric iron, the cooler and air-conditioner, the radio, TV, VCR (videocassette recorder), CD player, DVD player (digital video disc), and so on that have made life really enjoyable.
We have developed machines like the robot that moves and do some of the work of a man. The – robot is set to fix parts of machines under production, to operate and control production processes to do odd jobs like cleaning the floors, etc. The computer can be programmed to plan and design – buildings and cars, to calculate construction and operation costs, to further design better computers, and so on. However, with all the work performed by machines, they cannot entirely replace man.