119. "When research priorities are being set for science, education, or any other area, the most important question to consider is: How many people's lives will be improved if the results are successful?"
I agree insofar as areas of research certain to result in immediate and significant benefits for society should continue to be a priority. Yet, strictly followed, the speaker’s recommendation would have a harmful chilling effect on research and new knowledge.
1. Admittedly, scientific research whose societal benefits are immediate, predictable, and profound should continue to be a high priority.
2. However, this is not to say that research whose benefits are less immediate or clear should be given lower priority. First of all, if we strictly follow the speaker’s suggestion, who would decide which areas of research are more worthwhile than others? Researchers cannot be left to decide.
3. Secondly, to compel all researchers to focus only on certain areas would be to force many to waste their true talents.
4. Thirdly, it is difficult to predict which research avenues will ultimately lead to the greatest contributions to society.
124. "Instant foods, instant communication, faster transportation-all of these recent developments are designed to save time. Ironically, though, instead of making more leisure time available, these developments have contributed to a pace of human affairs that is more rushed and more frantic than ever before."
While I agree that leisure time is declining as a result of efficiencies which technology has brought about, whether the irony to which the speaker refers is real or imagined depends on what one considers to be the chief aim of technology.
1. Few would disagree that technology has enhanced the speed and efficiency with which we travel, prepare our food, plan and coordinate projects, and communicate with one another.
2. What explains the irony—this decline in leisure despite increase in efficiency that new technologies have brought about? I agree that technology itself is the culprit. We use the additional free time that technology affords us not for leisure but rather for work.
3. Yet there are far more vital concerns which technology seeks to address; therefore, the above-mentioned irony does not seem so ironic after all.
129. "Technology is a necessary but not always a positive force in modern life."
1. Undoubtedly, technology is the prerequisite for modern society.
2. Admittedly, some people use technology for negative or even evil purposes.
3. In that case, it is humanity rather than technology itself that should be the culprit.
135. "While most of the environmental problems we face result from the use of technology, society must depend upon technology to find solutions to these problems."
Depending upon technology to tackle environmental problems is an important but not sufficient solution.
1. The use of technology should be largely responsible for the environmental problems.
2. It is true that technology will help us solve many environmental problems.
3. However, if human beings do not change their attitude toward nature, technology alone will not be able to save us.