Wren and Martin Chapter 38: Precis Writing, Specimen 1 | Precis Title: Machines and Us
One great defect of our civilization is that it does not know what to do with its knowledge. Science, as we have seen, .has given us powers fit for the gods, yet we use them like small children.
For example :- we do not know how to manage our machines. Machines were made to be man’s servants; yet he has grown so dependent on them that they are in a fair way to become his masters. Already most men spend most of their lives looking after and waiting upon machines. And the machines are very stern masters. They must be fed with coal, and given petrol to drink, and oil to wash with, and must be kept at the right temperature. And if they do not get their meals when they expect them, they grow sulky and refuse to work, or burst with rage, and blow up, and spread ruin and destruction all round them, So we have to wait upon them very attentively and do all that we can to keep them In a good temper. Already we find it difficult either to work or play without the machines, and a time may come when they will rule us altogether, just as we rule the animals.
We often do not know what to do with our knowledge. Science has provided us with superhuman powers; but we do not use them properly. For an instance, we do not know how to use machines properly. Machines bring about destruction and ruin, unless they are waited upon attentively and fed promptly. We are so addicted to machines that we already find it difficult to work without them. In the course of time, machines may rule over us altogether.