rambling: built as if without plan, spread out over a large area
General Electric: company that manufactures electrical, electronic and atomic products
dazzling: brightly shining
array: fine show, collection, arrangement in neat rows
motor frame: Motorgehäuse
Ky. (abbr.): Kentucky
machine-tool parts plant: Fabrik, in der Teile für Werkzeugmaschinen hergestellt werden.
tend: look after
Deere &Co.: manufacturer of farmlng, Indusrial and outdoor power equipment
General Motors: largest American producer of passenger cars
assembly worker: Flissbandarbeiter(in)
displaced: left without employment and pay
eventual: happening at last, as a result
under the threat of: due to the danger from
commit funds to do sth.: invest money in doing sth.
sweeping (adj.): wide-ranging
Understanding the contents
1. What effects will automation have on productivity and on the work force?
2. a) According to James A. Baker, what choices does American business have? b) What does each of the three choices mean?
3. Who are the leading competitors for American industry, and what role do they play?
4. What may be comforting to workers who are currently worried about their jobs?
Analysing the text
5. a) Why may "The Factory of the Future" be considered a report*?
b) Reporters attempt to give their readers comprehensive information on some subjects.
What are the basic questions they should try to answer?
c) In their effort to report objectively, the writers not only rely on facts, they also call on other people as witnesses.
In what two different ways do they bring in other people's thoughts?
6. In this text the elements of a report are mixed with subjective, story-like elements. Whereas a feature story* arouses human interest by placing special emphasis on an individual's personal experience, this kind of report stresses new developments and interprets their importance for society in general. It can be called an interpretive news story. a) Name some of the topics that are interpreted. b) What function do the two examples of automated factories have in the interpretation?
7. a) The writers choose a number of emotive* words, adjectives, nouns and verbs. Find two from each word class.
b) Look for superlatives and a particular adjective which is frequently used and nearly always qualified by an adverb of degree.
c) What general effects do the writers bring about by this choice of words?
Working with the language
8. a) Which tense group is mainly used in this text? b) What function does this tense group have in this interpretive news story? c) What does "will" express in contrast to "going to" ?
9. What basic differences in use are there between simple and progressive forms?
10. Infer the meaning of the following words or expressions by looking for synonyms, antonyms or examples the writers use to illustrate their point: "decline" , "plant" , "gain" , "giant" , "profound social impact" , "create" , "expand produc tion" and "reduce your work force" .
Going beyond the text
11. Check the meaning, usage and history of the word "robot" in your dictionary or some other reference book. Report your findings to the class.
12. Study a daily newspaper and collect news about automation and its effects. Write a report on any trends you may observe.
13. Discuss the saying, "You can't stop time by smashing clocks."
* see glossary