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A humorous cartoon from the 1936 Berlin Olympics looks forward to the year 2000. Television technology has progressed to the point where spectators can watch events at home while radio, applying "wireless" technology, carries their promptings and applause to loudspeakers in the stadium. It appeared in the Olympia-Sonderheft of the Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung.

In the context of engineering, automation is when a device or a machine is changed in such a way that it can fulfill the task it was designed for without the need of human interaction. Very often, this means that the machine is fitted with an additional system which takes control of its functions. Benefits of automation are that the output of the machine or device are more uniform, and that product quality is improved. Before a system is fully auotmated, it means that human interaction is needed: Many of the tasks involved are repetitive and boring. In general, machines are also designed in such a way that humans no longer need to lift heavy weights or perform tasks that can put them in danger. With automation, human intervention is limited or absent.

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