- Electronic line judges are devices used in tennis to automatically detect where a ball has landed on the court or players have committed foot faults since the early 1970s. In 1950, the first electronic devices were used in calling balls and strikes for a player at bat during batting practice.
Now, in year 2016, both sports continue to use live, human umpires to make the calls on faults, ball location, balls or strikes, along with base running and other player actions during professional matches. Other sports such as cricket and football have also witnessed amazing technological developments along the same lines.
Why do sports, especially professional baseball and tennis, still use human umpires to make the calls in spite of the advances in technology since the first introductions of electronic monitoring?
- One of the most important aspects of modern technological innovation is that so many of the most up to date machines use the most basic techniques to accomplish their function. In other words, if you were to look at a “modern” version of a pant’s presser, you would see something that is faster, more compact, easier to use in today’s factory or cleaning store, but the basic function of the actual putting steam and pressure on the garment is the same today as it was 75-100 years ago.
Agriculture in ancient China developed a method of pushing seeds into the ground using hand labor and a stick and a way to cut the mature plant using a hand knife. Modern machines still push seeds into the ground and use the same harvest-cutting actions (how the cutting blade hits the plant), in the same way as was done thousands of years ago. Only in today’s machines, we do it with hydraulics and engines instead of the human hand waving a machete or scythe. We have many machines all around us, even in the home, that the basic way in which they perform their function is similar to the way that function was done hundreds of years ago, but with electric power doing the heating, the moving, hydraulics doing the carrying, or other function. The basic work function has remained the same over many years, but its performance measures changed.
Identify a machine that performs the same basic function today as it did 50-100 years or more ago and tell what performance measures applicable to it changed as the machine evolved into its present form. Discuss how the machine developed from its incarnation (birth) to the present and what likely innovations were made to increase performance numbers.
- A 60-year-old individual working for an airline became instantly obsolete when the jet-powered airliners took to the air and pushed piston-engined aircraft out of the skies. In his case, he had been the world’s greatest expert in low voltage direct current systems used on the piston-engined planes and he was absolutely left at technological ground zero when the new jets came with high voltage alternating current generators. He suffered instant obsolescence as soon as the jets came into commercial airline service in 1957.
Assume you are advising a 55-year-old auto mechanic who has been repairing cars since he was just a kid hanging around auto shops and learning by doing. He used to be expert at everything from repairing engines, fixing steering, electric power systems, dashboard instruments and systems, collision repair, repainting, seat repair, and more. You and he work for a dealer of the most advanced cars and the elder auto mechanic is finding himself helpless in the face of computer controls, video screens, electronic troubleshooting, etc.
- How would you plan a program for him to put his talents to use as best as possible on the new cars and their hi-tech computers, electric drives, new batteries, etc.?
- How might you choose what duties you would channel him into so that he can narrow his focus and development?
- How would you pick the training classes he should take in automotive school to sharpen up his knowledge and experience in those specialties? What specialties would you pick?
- You join a mid-size 1000-person machine shop company. The owner calls you in and shows you the following cost curve he has just finished plotting for the nine years his firm has been in business. His curve starts with what he calls his year zero at 2003 and he is terribly worried about the fact that his costs per unit of production are now rising after years of reducing them.
He has been working with the firm’s cost control engineers, accountants, and shop personnel to remove/reduce every penny of waste costs he could achieve. It seems, however, that by year five, he hit a level bottoming out of his costs. He could not achieve any more savings from his operation. His workers are the best and they have contributed all their ideas and all their efforts.
Now, he tells you: You are an outsider. Look at this curve and tell me what’s happening. The costs are in dollars per unit produced, but the amounts are not as important as is the shape of the curve and how it changed from the first years to the last few years.
You have to explain to him what the curves reveal and suggest ways to start reducing costs again. It’s your job to analyze the situation and tell him what he needs to do. He wants, and needs, some specific suggestions—not just airy “get better equipment” or other such meaningless suggestions. You are not dealing with the ordinary “person on the street” who knows nothing of production. You are dealing with a smart operating chief who just needs help in aligning his technological operation to break away from this rising cost curve.
He warns you not to show your analysis or recommendations to anyone because it has company confidential information on it. He does not want competitors to get your analysis.
His telling you not to discuss your individual work goes for your not showing your analysis to any other student as well.
As you develop your thoughts about what he should do, you must provide the references so that if he wants to read the sources of your ideas, he can retrieve the articles himself. So, provide full format footnotes of your sources.
- You work for GAS PRODUCTION COMPANY that sits on 10 acres (a huge area) of barren land 10 miles out of a small town, at the end of a private road you own, with no one living nearby. It’s all barren land around your plant, so the plant is isolated from anyone who has no business with your firm.
Your boss makes all his decisions about technological change by doing Return on Investment (ROI) analyses. He calls in his cost analysts and peppers them with dollar figures, gets their calculators going and gets the answers. Now, however, he is confronted with a decision in which ROI analyses don’t seem to hold. He has to make a decision on what type of equipment to buy to reduce toxic Dioxin gas emissions from the plant.
The EPA says GAS PRODUCTION COMPANY must reduce its emissions of Dioxin gases to 50% of present values within the next year, another 50% in three years after that, and another 50% in the three years after that. Diagram the problem with a C & S analysis.
Your boss sends out letters to companies in the toxic gas waste disposal business and gets back proposals from 25 different firms for the equipment he needs.
The ZERO Corporation sends him a consultant to help your boss decide which firm’s equipment to buy. They tell him that this consultant is unbiased and would give your boss a completely objective report.
Here is the final evaluation analysis ZERO’s consultant gives your boss. He gives the boss the following table and tells him that the analysis objectively shows that ZERO is the best company for what the boss needs. Moreover, he says the advantages of ZERO are so great, the decision is NOT sensitive. He is very proud for having used the Cost-Effective method to handle the decision and hopes you will agree that ZERO Corp. deserves the contract from your firm. He gives the boss the following chart (and nothing more).
|Alternative||Noise level Wght 8||Compactness|
|ZERO Corp.||Excellent||Excellent||Good||Fair||70 points|
|Gas Dynamo Co.||Good||Poor||Poor||Excellent||27 points|
|Gas Reduction Co||Good||Poor||Fair||Good||41 points|
|Slambang Equip.||Poor||Fair||Fair||Poor||29 points|
Your boss looks at this table and tells you that he guesses that he will go with ZERO Corp because it came out the best with the highest total of the evaluations.
Tell why you agree (or disagree) that C/E analysis is the way to handle the decision making for your company. Was this an objective analysis? Tell what you DO NOT SEE supplied here—that you want to see in order to assure that the consultant did not rig the criteria to favor Zero, and did not do other things that made the decision table come out the way the consultant wanted it to come out.
After you look this over, you see that you can punch it so full of holes it would sink to the lowest level that can possibly be measured—a level that makes the consultant look like either he is incompetent or dishonest because he rigged the analysis to make it come out in favor of ZERO.
Write up your analysis of why this is a terrible piece of work. What’s missing from the report? You set up an analysis to show what should have been done to make this a truly worthwhile analysis.