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CAT 2022 Reading Comprehension Solution 11


The passage below is accompanied by a set of questions. Choose the best answer to each question.

As software improves, the people using it become less likely to sharpen their own know-how. Applications that offer lots of prompts and tips are often to blame; simpler, less solicitous programs push people harder to think, act and learn.

Ten years ago, information scientists at Utrecht University in the Netherlands had a group of people carry out complicated analytical and planning tasks using either rudimentary software that provided no assistance or sophisticated software that offered a great deal of aid. The researchers found that the people using the simple software developed better strategies, made fewer mistakes and developed a deeper aptitude for the work. The people using the more advanced software, meanwhile, would often " aimlessly click around" when confronted with a tricky problem. The supposedly helpful software actually short-circuited their thinking and learning.

[According to] philosopher Hubert Dreyfus . . . . our skills get sharper only through practice, when we use them regularly to overcome different sorts of difficult challenges. The goal of modern software, by contrast, is to ease our way through such challenges. Arduous, painstaking work is exactly what programmers are most eager to automate-after all, that is where the immediate efficiency gains tend to lie. In other words, a fundamental tension ripples between the interests of the people doing the automation and the interests of the people doing the work.

Nevertheless, automation's scope continues to widen. With the rise of electronic health records, physicians increasingly rely on software templates to guide them through patient exams. The programs incorporate valuable checklists and alerts, but they also make medicine more routinized and formulaic-and distance doctors from their patients . . . . Harvard Medical School professor Beth Lown, in a 2012 journal article . . . warned that when doctors become " screen-driven," following a computer's prompts rather than " the patient's narrative thread," their thinking can become constricted. In the worst cases, they may miss important diagnostic signals. . . .

In a recent paper published in the journal Diagnosis, three medical researchers . . . examined the misdiagnosis of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to die of Ebola in the U.S., at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. They argue that the digital templates used by the hospital's clinicians to record patient information probably helped to induce a kind of tunnel vision. " These highly constrained tools," the researchers write, " are optimized for data capture but at the expense of sacrificing their utility for appropriate triage and diagnosis, leading users to miss the forest for the trees." Medical software, they write, is no " replacement for basic history-taking, examination skills, and critical thinking." . . .

There is an alternative. In " human-centered automation," the talents of people take precedence . . . . In this model, software plays an essential but secondary role. It takes over routine functions that a human operator has already mastered, issues alerts when unexpected situations arise, provides fresh information that expands the operator's perspective and counters the biases that often distort human thinking. The technology becomes the expert's partner, not the expert's replacement.

Question: 1

In the Ebola misdiagnosis case, we can infer that doctors probably missed the forest for the trees because:

  1. they were led by the data processed by digital templates.

  2. the data collected were not sufficient for appropriate triage.

  3. they used the wrong type of digital templates for the case.

  4. the digital templates forced them to acquire tunnel vision.

Option: 1
This is a factual question but to arrive at the answer we have to carefully read the options. The reason for misdiagnosis according to the passage: “the digital templates used by the hospital’s clinicians to record patient information probably helped to induce a kind of tunnel vision.” So, there was no issue with the type of template. Option 3 goes out. Also, there was no issue with sufficiency of data. The sentence does not hint at any sort of lack of sufficiency of data. We must choose between 1 and 4. Now why 1 and not 4. The template did not “force them” to acquire tunnel vision. They misdiagnosed because they were led by data processed by the template. No template can force doctors to arrive at something against their wish. To induce is not the same as to force, also we have to look at the context. What did the digital template have? It had records of patients’ information. The doctor simply went by the data provided by the template without paying any attention to the patient’s narrative. 1 is the right answer.

Question: 2

It can be inferred that in the Utrecht University experiment, one group of people was " aimlessly clicking around" because:

  1. the other group was carrying out the tasks more efficiently.

  2. they did not have the skill-set to address complicated tasks.

  3. they were hoping that the software would help carry out the tasks.

  4. they wanted to avoid making mistakes.

Option: 3
It is a common-sense question. When we get stuck while doing something on computer or while using a software, what do we do? We start clicking here and there with the expectation that something will come out of it by accident. Option 1 is out because the author is not trying to highlight their efficiency. The point of having or not having the skill sets does not arise because they were using the software which was meant to do all the things for them. When you click aimlessly, the idea is not to avoid mistakes but to get some way out of a problem by fluke. Option 4 goes out. 3 is the best choice.

Question: 3

From the passage, we can infer that the author is apprehensive about the use of sophisticated automation for all of the following reasons EXCEPT that:

  1. it could mislead people.

  2. it stops users from exercising their minds.

  3. computers could replace humans.

  4. it stunts the development of its users.

Option: 3
The passage cites all the options except 3. The author is not at all concerned about computers replacing humans. From the doctor’s example, he highlights option 1. In the second paragraph we have ample evidence for 2 and 4. 3 is the best choice. This is a very easy question.

Question: 4

In the context of the passage, all of the following can be considered examples of human-centered automation EXCEPT:

  1. a smart-home system that changes the temperature as instructed by the resident.

  2. software that offers interpretations when requested by the human operator.

  3. medical software that provides optional feedback on the doctor's analysis of the medical situation.

  4. software that auto-completes text when the user writes an email.

Option: 4
Firstly, we have to understand the question. What does the author mean by ‘human-centered automation’? It means an automation in which humans do play some active role. Options 1 and 2 clearly have human element in them. In the first there is instruction by the resident, in the second there is a human operator. In the third option, the doctor is doing the analysis and the feedback form is optional (the doctor himself is involved in the analysis). Option 4 is totally automated because there is auto-completion without human intervention. 4 is the best example of a case in which there is no human intervention.

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