Reading Comprehension | Robots

Develop your reading skills. Read the following text about robots. Then, answer the comprehension questions below


2008 Taipei IT Month Day9 NTSM Robot Science Junior

A robot is a mechanical or virtual artificial agent, usually an electromechanical machine that is guided by a computer program or electronic circuitry. When robots are virtual software agents, they are usually referred to as bots.

The word 'robot' was first used to denote a fictional humanoid in a 1920 play R.U.R. by the Czech writer, Karel Čapek but it was Karel's brother Josef Čapek who was the word's true inventor. In an article in the Czech journal Lidové noviny in 1933, he explained that he had originally wanted to call the creatures featured in the play laboři ("workers", from Latin labor). However, he did not like the word, and sought advice from his brother Josef, who suggested "roboti". The word robota means literally "corvée", "serf labor", and figuratively "drudgery" or "hard work" in Czech and also (more general) "work", "labor" in many Slavic languages.

The branch of technology that deals with the design, construction, operation, and application of robots, as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing is robotics.

Using robots

In general robots can be autonomous or semi-autonomous and are now used in different fields. They have replaced humans in performing repetitive and dangerous tasks which humans prefer not to do, or are unable to do because of size limitations, or which take place in extreme environments such as outer space or the bottom of the sea. For instance, robots can now be used in industry, as in car manufacturing, or they can be used in homes to do the housework. Some robots may respond to speech or be even medical operating tools.

New functionalities

In 2008, Caterpillar Inc. developed a dump truck which can drive itself without any human operator. Many analysts believe that self-driving trucks may eventually revolutionize logistics. By 2014, Caterpillar had a self-driving dump truck which is expected to greatly change the process of mining. In 2015. Some analysts believe that within the next few decades, most trucks will be self-driving.

A literate or 'reading robot' named Marge has intelligence that comes from software. She can read newspapers, find and correct misspelled words, learn about banks like Barclays, and understand that some restaurants are better places to eat than others.

Baxter is a new robot which is different from other industrial robots because it can learn. A worker could teach Baxter how to perform a task by moving its hands in the desired motion and having Baxter memorize them. Extra dials, buttons, and controls are available on Baxter's arm for more precision and features. Any regular worker could program Baxter and it only takes a matter of minutes, unlike usual industrial robots that take extensive programs and coding in order to be used. This means Baxter needs no programming in order to operate. No software engineers are needed. This also means Baxter can be taught to perform multiple, more complicated tasks.


There are concerns about the increasing use of robots and their role in society. Robots are blamed for rising unemployment as they replace workers in increasing numbers of functions. The use of robots in military combat raises ethical concerns. The possibilities of robot autonomy and potential repercussions have been addressed in fiction and may be a realistic concern in the future.

Source: Wikipedia


  1. Robots are mechanical machines.
    a. True
    b. False
  2. The term robot comes from Latin origin.
    a. True
    b. False
  3. Baxter is a self-driving dump truck.
    a. True
    b. False
  4. The use of robots in military combat is not safe.
    a. True
    b. False

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