Modern man appeared perhaps 70,000 years ago — a very short period of time if you consider that life has existed on earth for more than 3,000 million years.

Still, it took man thousands of years to learn how to control fire. And again, thousands of years passed before he invented the wheel. This great invention, which revolutionized travelling, transport and industry, is not more than 5,000 years old. And it was only 200 years ago that the age of inventions started, when man invented the steam engine, electricity and a lot of other clever machines that have completely changed our way of life. Now we cannot imagine how it was possible to live without cars, television, the telephone, the plane and the computer and thousands of other machines that make our life easy.

Today, silicon chips half the size of a fingernail can book seats on jumbo (and keep the planes working smoothly in the air), help children learn to spell, and play chess well enough to beat even very good players.

Computers that used to be large enough to fill a room are now toys on our children's desks.

There are hardly any field of human activity which has not been invaded by computers. And in the end, the machine revolution will do far more to enrich life than most people realise. These machines will not only control space travel and help businesses by evolutionizing office work, they will also offer solutions to our most difficult problems — the sharing of energy resources, finding enough food for all, and the worldwide improvement of health care.

(from English for Business and Everyday Use, abridged)




What does the future hold? What is our life going to be like in the 21st century?

Some people are rather optimistic about the future, others predict the end of the world.

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