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Transforming the 20th Century

November 23, 2009

Smil, Vaclav.  Tranforming the Twentieth Century.  Oxford University Press: Oxford 2006

From the chapter “Rationalized Production: Mechanization, Automation, Robotization”

Mechanized processes have allowed the Earth to simply become a mass of raw materials, ready to be extracted and exploited.  The numbers presented in the chapter show the clear decline in human activity in agriculture and similar activities which has been possible because of robots, chemicals, and other modern means.

The figures are undeniable and the changes are good, although there are many negative consequences.  What does all of the information in this chapter mean?  How has this changed the nature of society?  Where are we lead to next?

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