ARE COMPUTERS MAKING US DUMB? | Daily Listening | English Subtitle

source: Daily Listening    2016年9月4日
We don't leave home without our mobile phones - and are always consulting apps like spellcheckers and maps. Rob and Neil talk about how dependent we are on computers - and wonder if this is a good thing. Listen to their conversation and learn some new vocabulary.

0:08 Are you alright, Neil?
0:09 Are you playing on your smartphone again, are you?
0:12 Err... what was that?
0:14 Yeah, sorry, Rob... just doing something on my smartphone, you know, the kind of phone
0:20 which allows you to go online.
0:21 Oh I can see that.
0:23 But are you waiting for a call?
0:24 No.
0:25 No, I just carry it with me at all times.
0:27 Where I go, the phone goes.
0:29 No phone, no Neil!
0:31 OK, but why do you need your phone so much?
0:34 Why?!
0:36 What if I need to go somewhere?
0:38 How will I find my way?
0:40 What about the weather?
0:41 Will it rain today?
0:42 I need to know these things.
0:43 Why don't you just look up in the sky and see if it is cloudy?
0:47 Look up to see if it is going to rain?!
0:49 I have an app - which is short for an application, which is a computer programme for a specific
0:55 purpose.
0:56 My app tells me the weather... and this one does all the maths I need... and here's one
1:01 for translations, and this one here... can tell me what I'm going to...
1:05 OK, OK, OK, I get the point.
1:07 Today we're talking about computers - and we'll bring you some words connected with
1:11 the digital age.
1:13 Connected - to connect - we use this verb a lot.
1:16 It means 'to link, or join, one thing to another thing.
1:19 In this case, connected means 'linked to the internet'.
1:23 OK, I can see you are very excited about computers.
1:25 So that's what my question is all about.
1:28 The first commercially produced "desktop computer" was designed and produced by the Italian company
1:34 Olivetti and presented at an event in New York.
1:38 When did it happen?
1:39 Was it in:
1:40 a) 1955
1:42 b) 1965 or
1:44 c) 1975 Well, I think it's (a) 1955.
1:51 Very interesting.
1:52 You'll get the right answer at the end of the programme.
1:54 Now, let's talk about computers.
1:56 You can't live without them but American technology writer Nicholas Carr, the author of a book
2:02 called 'The Glass Cage - where automation is taking us', thinks they might cause problems.
2:08 Problems?!
2:09 They cause us problems when they crash - that's what we say when our computer suddenly stops
2:13 working.
2:14 Well, not just that.
2:16 Let's listen to Nicholas Carr.
2:18 He says if we rely too much on computers we lose something.
2:22 But what is it?
2:25 The ability of computers to do things we used to do is growing astronomically and we're
2:31 rushing to hand over to computers tasks, activities - both in our work lives and in our personal
2:38 lives - and what you begin to see is what is often called a de-skilling effect.
2:43 The person becoming reliant on computers; because they are not exercising their own
2:47 talents, those talents begin to fade.
2:50 And we begin to lose, as a result, the unique things that human beings can do that computers
2:55 can't: feel empathy, take a broad perspective, interpret all the stuff that can't be turned
3:02 into data.
3:04 According to Nicholas Carr, using computers means that we are losing skills - he talks
3:09 about 'de-skilling'.
3:11 A skill is the ability to do something well because we've practised it.
3:16 And he also talks about the loss of talent - talent is a natural ability to do something
3:22 - you didn't have to learn it, you're just naturally good at it.
3:26 It's something we're all born with.
3:28 Carr says that relying on computers means our talent is fading because we don't use
3:33 it any more.
3:34 And he goes even further and says we're losing some of the things that make us human, like
3:39 empathy, the ability to imagine and understand what other people might be feeling.
3:44 So, do you agree with this writer, Neil?
3:46 I think he's got a point actually.
3:48 It's like the friendships we make on social media.
3:51 It is nice to get to know new people in different countries, but we have to remember that it's
3:56 important to talk to people face-to-face too.
3:59 So... maybe we shouldn't use GPS to find our way around all the time.
4:05 GPS, the global positioning system which gives us directions with the help of satellites
4:09 orbiting the Earth... instead, have a conversation with someone - ask for directions.
4:15 Yes, and perhaps we can give the spellchecker a miss occasionally.
4:19 A spellchecker is a very useful piece of software which helps us avoid making spelling mistakes
4:24 when we're typing on a computer but... it is good to actually learn how to spell the
4:29 words properly and not leave everything to the machine.
4:33 Good idea, Rob.
4:34 I'll try not to rely so much on digital technology.
4:38 Computers are here to stay and they'll become more and more sophisticated, but we have to
4:41 remember they are just tools.
4:43 Yes, computers are here to stay.
4:45 And by the way, when was the first commercially produced "desktop computer" launched?
4:50 As I told you, it was designed and created by Olivetti and launched in New York.
4:55 But when was it launched?
4:57 Was it: 1955, 1965 or 1975?
5:01 And I said 1955.
5:03 Perhaps you should ask your smartphone because the correct answer is actually (b) 1965.
5:08 I don't believe it!
5:09 The computer was called Programma 101 and it was presented at the New York World's Fair.
5:15 They sold 44,000 units all over the world.
5:18 The initial price in the US was US$ 3,200.
5:22 Well, we are almost out of time so let's remind ourselves of some of the words we said today,
5:28 Neil.
5:29 smartphone
5:30 app (application)
5:32 to connect
5:34 crash
5:37 skill
5:39 talent
5:40 empathy
5:43 GPS (Global Positioning System)
5:45 spellchecker Thank you.