Reading Comprehension – War, natural disasters and climate change are destroying


Slot – 2 – RC

War, natural disasters and climate change are destroying – Video Solution


War, natural disasters and climate change are destroying some of the world’s most precious cultural sites. Google is trying to help preserve these archaeological wonders by allowing users access to 3D images of these treasures through its site. But the project is raising questions about Google’s motivations and about who should own the digital copyrights. Some critics call it a form of “digital colonialism.”

When it comes to archaeological treasures, the losses have been mounting. ISIS blew up parts of the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria and an earthquake hit Bagan, an ancient city in Myanmar, damaging dozens of temples, in 2016. In the past, all archaeologists and historians had for restoration and research were photos, drawings, remnants, and intuition.

But that’s changing. Before the earthquake at Bagan, many of the temples on the site were scanned. . . . [These] scans . . . are on Google’s Arts & Culture site. The digital renditions allow viewers to virtually wander the halls of the temple, look up-close at paintings and turn the building over, to look up at its chambers. . . . [Google Arts & Culture] works with museums and other nonprofits . . . to put high-quality images online.

The images of the temples in Bagan are part of a collaboration with CyArk, a nonprofit that creates the 3D scanning of historic sites. . . . Google . . . says [it] doesn’t make money off this website, but it fits in with Google’s mission to make the world’s information available and useful.

Critics say the collaboration could be an attempt by a large corporation to wrap itself in the sheen of culture. Ethan Watrall, an archaeologist, professor at Michigan State University and a member of the Society for American Archaeology, says he’s not comfortable with the arrangement between CyArk and Google. . . . Watrall says this project is just a way for Google to promote Google. “They want to make this material accessible so people will browse it and be filled with wonder by it,” he says. “But at its core, it’s all about advertisements and driving traffic,” Watrall says these images belong on the site of a museum or educational institution, where there are serious scholarship and a very different mission. . . .

[There’s] another issue for some archaeologists and art historians. CyArk owns the copyrights of the scans — not the countries where these sites are located. That means the countries need CyArk’s permission to use these images for commercial purposes. Erin Thompson, a professor of art crime at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, says it’s the latest example of a Western nation appropriating a foreign culture, a centuries-long battle. . . . CyArk says it copyrights the scans so no one can use them in an inappropriate way. The company says it works closely with authorities during the process, even training local people to help. But critics like Thompson are not persuaded. . . . She would prefer the scans to be owned by the countries and people where these sites are located.

Q.1 In Dr. Thompson’s view, CyArk owning the copyright of its digital scans of archaeological sites is akin to:
  1. the seizing of ancient Egyptian artefacts by a Western museum.
  2. the illegal downloading of content from the internet.
  3. tourists uploading photos of monuments onto social media.
  4. digital platforms capturing users’ data for market research.
Answer: 1

Q.2 Of the following arguments, which one is LEAST likely to be used by the companies that digitally scan cultural sites?
  1. It helps preserve precious images in case the sites are damaged or destroyed.
  2. It provides images free of cost to all users.
  3. It enables people who cannot physically visit these sites to experience them.
  4. It allows a large corporation to project itself as a protector of culture.
Answer: 4

Q.3 Which of the following, if true, would most strongly invalidate Dr. Watrall’s objections?
  1. CyArk uploads its scanned images of archaeological sites onto museum websites only.
  2. Google takes down advertisements on its website hosting CyArk’s scanned images.
  3. There is a ban on CyArk scanning archeological sites located in other countries.
  4. CyArk does not own the copyright on scanned images of archaeological sites.
Answer: 1

Q.4 Based on his views mentioned in the passage, one could best characterise Dr. Watrall as being:
  1. opposed to the use of digital technology in archaeological and cultural sites in developing countries.
  2. dismissive of laypeople’s access to specialist images of archaeological and cultural sites.
  3. critical about the links between a non-profit and a commercial tech platform for distributing archaeological images
  4. uneasy about the marketing of archaeological images for commercial use by firms such as Google and CyArk.
Answer: 3

Q.5 By “digital colonialism”, critics of the CyArk–Google project are referring to the fact that:
  1. CyArk and Google have been scanning images without copyright permission from host countries.
  2. the scanning process can damage delicate frescos and statues at the sites.
  3. CyArk and Google have not shared the details of digitisation with the host countries.
  4. countries where the scanned sites are located do not own the scan copyrights.
Answer: 4
Explanation: This passage is an extract from a serious magazine and the tone of the passage is narrative in nature. War, natural disasters and climate change are destroying some of the world’s most precious cultural sites. Google is trying to help preserve these archaeological wonders by allowing users access to 3D images of these treasures through its site. But the project is raising questions about Google’s motivations and about who should own the digital copyrights. Some critics even call it a form of “digital colonialism.”
But Google says it doesn’t make money off this website, and it fits in with Google’s mission to make the world’s information available and useful. However, some scholars are not convinced by this argument.
Similarly, CyArk owns the copyrights of the scans of the temples in Bagan — not the countries where these sites are located. That means the countries need CyArk’s permission to use these images for commercial purposes. Again, scholars feel this is wrong and another example of a Western nation appropriating a foreign culture.

Solution 1: Refer to the following extract in paragraph 6, “Erin Thompson, a professor of art crime at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, says it’s the latest example of a Western nation appropriating a foreign culture, a centuries-long battle. . . . CyArk says it copyrights the scans so no one can use them in an inappropriate way. The company says it works closely with authorities during the process, even training local people to help. But critics like Thompson are not persuaded. . . . She would prefer the scans to be owned by the countries and people where these sites are located.” This means that CyArk’s work is akin to actually seizing the treasures it scans since even countries where these treasures are located have to take permission to use these scans for commercial purposes. In short, CyArk has effectively seized the treasures of archaeological sites. This viewpoint is in conformity with option 1.
Options 2, 3 and 4 do not talk about any form of “seizure” of artifacts and can thus be eliminated.
Hence, the correct answer is option 1.

Solution 2: Companies such as Google and CyArk scan 3D images of various archaeological sites for strictly philanthropic purposes such as making information available – so they say. Therefore, these companies would not say that they are scanning images of archaeological sites in order to project themselves as protectors of culture – but as mentioned before simply for philanthropic purposes such as making information available. This points to option 4 as being the correct answer.
Options 1, 2 and 3 are reasons companies are MOST likely to use in order to scan cultural and historical sites.
Hence, the correct answer is option 4.

Solution 3: What are Dr. Watrall’s objections? Refer to the following extract from the passage, “Ethan Watrall, an archaeologist, professor at Michigan State University and a member of the Society for American Archaeology, says he’s not comfortable with the arrangement between CyArk and Google. . . .Watrall says this project is just a way for Google to promote Google. “They want to make this material accessible so people will browse it and be filled with wonder by it,” he says. “But at its core, it’s all about advertisements and driving traffic.” Watrall says these images belong on the site of a museum or educational institution, where there is serious scholarship and a very different mission. . . .” In short, he believes that companies are using culture to drive traffic and revenues. But what if CyArk uploads its scanned images of archaeological sites onto museum websites only? This will invalidate Dr. Watrall’s objections of culture being misused to drive a company’s revenues. Thus, option 1 is the correct answer.
Option 2 will partly invalidate Dr. Watrall’s objections but not wholly. Google will still be seen as using culture to drive traffic and revenues.
Dr. Watrall does not seek a ban on scanned images but rather that these images be uploaded on museum websites. Eliminate option 3. Option 4 is also incorrect as the scanned images will not be uploaded on museum websites – which is what Dr. Watrall wants.
Hence, the correct answer is option 1.

Solution 4: Dr. Watrall is not against companies taking 3D scanned images of historical sites. Eliminate option 1.
He wants everyone to be able to access images of historical and archaeological sites but from museum websites only. Eliminate option 2. Option 3 is correct. Dr, Watrall is sceptical of tech firms using scanned images of historical sites for the purpose of disseminating useful information only. He feels that they are exploiting culture for the sake of revenues.
Option 4 has not been mentioned in the passage nor is it true. Google and CyArk are not marketing images for commercial use but rather users who wish to use these images for commercial purposes must obtain permission from these companies. Eliminate option 4.
Hence, the correct answer is option 3.

Solution 5: The following two extracts, “Google is trying to help preserve these archaeological wonders by allowing users access to 3D images of these treasures through its site. But the project is raising questions about Google’s motivations and about who should own the digital copyrights. Some critics call it a form of “digital colonialism” combined with “CyArk owns the copyrights of the scans — not the countries where these sites are located. That means the countries need CyArk’s permission to use these images for commercial purposes” clearly implies that the countries where the scanned sites are located do not own the scan copyrights. This is in conformity with the statement in option 4.
Options 1 and 2 are neither mentioned nor can they be inferred from the passage.
Option 3 may be true but is not the reason the critics are against the CyArk-Google project.
Hence, the correct answer is option 4.



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