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CAT 2022 Reading Comprehension Solution 12


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

Nature has all along yielded her flesh to humans. First, we took nature's materials as food, fibers, and shelter. Then we learned to extract raw materials from her biosphere to create our own new synthetic materials. Now Bios is yielding us her mind-we are taking her logic.

Clockwork logic-the logic of the machines-will only build simple contraptions. Truly complex systems such as a cell, a meadow, an economy, or a brain (natural or artificial) require a rigorous nontechnological logic. We now see that no logic except bio-logic can assemble a thinking device, or even a workable system of any magnitude.

It is an astounding discovery that one can extract the logic of Bios out of biology and have something useful. Although many philosophers in the past have suspected one could abstract the laws of life and apply them elsewhere, it wasn't until the complexity of computers and human-made systems became as complicated as living things, that it was possible to prove this. It's eerie how much of life can be transferred. So far, some of the traits of the living that have successfully been transported to mechanical systems are: self-replication, self-governance, limited self-repair, mild evolution, and partial learning.

We have reason to believe yet more can be synthesized and made into something new. Yet at the same time that the logic of Bios is being imported into machines, the logic of Technos is being imported into life. The root of bioengineering is the desire to control the organic long enough to improve it. Domesticated plants and animals are examples of technos-logic applied to life. The wild aromatic root of the Queen Anne's lace weed has been fine-tuned over generations by selective herb gatherers until it has evolved into a sweet carrot of the garden; the udders of wild bovines have been selectively enlarged in a " unnatural" way to satisfy humans rather than calves. Milk cows and carrots, therefore, are human inventions as much as steam engines and gunpowder are. But milk cows and carrots are more indicative of the kind of inventions humans will make in the future: products that are grown rather than manufactured.

Genetic engineering is precisely what cattle breeders do when they select better strains of Holsteins, only bioengineers employ more precise and powerful control. While carrot and milk cow breeders had to rely on diffuse organic evolution, modern genetic engineers can use directed artificial evolution-purposeful design-which greatly accelerates improvements.

The overlap of the mechanical and the lifelike increases year by year. Part of this bionic convergence is a matter of words. The meanings of " mechanical" and " life" are both stretching until all complicated things can be perceived as machines, and all self-sustaining machines can be perceived as alive. Yet beyond semantics, two concrete trends are happening: (1) Human-made things are behaving more lifelike, and (2) Life is becoming more engineered. The apparent veil between the organic and the manufactured has crumpled to reveal that the two really are, and have always been, of one being.

Question: 1

Which one of the following sets of words/phrases best serves as keywords to the passage?

  1. Complex systems; Bio-logic; Bioengineering; Technos-logic; Convergence

  2. Nature; Bios; Technos; Self-repair; Holsteins

  3. Nature; Computers; Carrots; Milk cows; Genetic engineering

  4. Complex systems; Carrots; Milk cows; Convergence; Technos-logic

Option: 1
To arrive the answer, we should carefully look at the choices. The last paragraph says that the organic and the manufactured are in reality one and the same. So, there is convergence discussed at the end. We can eliminate all options that do not have this word. Both 1 and 4 can be shortlisted. We should select bio-logic and techno-logic instead of carrots and cows because the broader idea is about bio and techno, not carrots and cows. 1 is the right answer.

Question: 2

None of the following statements is implied by the arguments of the passage, EXCEPT:

  1. purposeful design represents the pinnacle of scientific expertise in the service of human betterment and civilisational progress.

  2. the biological realm is as complex as the mechanical one; which is why the logic of Bios is being imported into machines.

  3. historically, philosophers have known that the laws of life can be abstracted and applied elsewhere.

  4. genetic engineers and bioengineers are the same insofar as they both seek to force evolution in an artificial way.

Option: 4
When something is implied means something is indirectly stated in the passage. Option 4 becomes the right answer because in the second last paragraph a clear difference between genetic engineers and bio-engineers is implied. While genetic engineering is about artificial evolutions, bioengineering is about organic evolution. At least they both are not the same, if one reads the second last paragraph of the passage. 4 is the right answer. Option 1 is implied in the first paragraph. From second paragraph we can derive option 2. The passage says “philosophers in the past have suspected one could abstract the laws of life and apply them elsewhere.” Here to suspect means to believe in the possibility of something.

Question: 3

The author claims that, " The apparent veil between the organic and the manufactured has crumpled to reveal that the two really are, and have always been, of one being." Which one of the following statements best expresses the point being made by the author here?

  1. Organic reality has crumpled under the veil of manufacturing, rendering the apparent and the real as the same being.

  2. The crumpling of the organic veil between apparent and manufactured reality reveals them to have the same being.

  3. Apparent reality and organic reality are distinguished by the fact that the former is manufactured.

  4. Scientific advances are making it increasingly difficult to distinguish between organic reality and manufactured reality.

Option: 4
To answer this question there is no need for us to go to the passage. We just have to read the quoted sentence and we will find the answer. Firstly, the veil is between what? It is between the organic and the manufactured. The apparent veil means the apparent difference. Option 1 goes out because there is no veil of manufacturing and it is not the organic reality that has crumpled. In option 2, the veil itself has become organic 😊(it is absurd and comical). Option 4 is the best choice. The thin difference between the organic and the manufactured is becoming thinner or crumpled and because of this the difference between the two of them is being lost. This is precisely what option 4 says.

Question: 4

The author claims that, " Part of this bionic convergence is a matter of words" . Which one of the following statements best expresses the point being made by the author?

  1. A bionic convergence indicates the meeting ground of genetic engineering and artificial intelligence.

  2. " Mechanical" and " life" were earlier seen as opposite in meaning, but the difference between the two is increasingly blurred.

  3. " Bios" and " Technos" are both convergent forms of logic, but they generate meanings about the world that are mutually exclusive.

  4. " Mechanical" and " life" are words from different logical systems and are, therefore, fundamentally incompatible in meaning.

Option: 2
When you say that something is a matter of words, it means that the words that you use could be any because in substance they are same, the words that you use could be any. This is exactly what option 2 says, that the difference between the mechanical and life is becoming blurred (the veil between the two has crumpled). The phrase ‘bionic convergence’ has come in the last paragraph where the author discusses the thin line of difference between ‘mechanical’ and ‘life’.

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