【BBC阅读理解】Talking to technology

Talking to technology

————能与你聊天的“虚拟助手”

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近来,一种能和人交谈的新技术变得越来越受欢迎。这种被称为“虚拟助手”的产品可以在我们的手机、电脑甚至是智能扬声器上找的到。它们可以给我们提供有用、琐碎的信息,但这些能和我们聊天的“助手”会取代并成为和我们日夜促膝长谈的挚友吗?本集《随身英语》讨论虚拟助手技术给我们日常生活带来的变化。

Vocabulary: technology

词汇: 技术

It's good to have friends that we can talk to and share our thoughts and opinions with. More importantly, they're people we can ask for help or advice. But recently it seems, many of us are developing a new relationship with a mystery person that we'll never meet!

I'm talking about virtual assistants or bots. These are pieces of software that we can talk to and it can talk back to us. Examples include Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana. It might be on your phone or computer or even a smart speaker in your home. They are changing the way we interact with technology - instead of typing on a computer keyboard or tapping on a tablet, we can now speak and a voice will answer.

The people behind these voices are called conversation designers. Tom Hewitson is one of them. He told the BBC "this is kind of changing [computers] into like an agent. They’re an active participant in the interaction and in guiding you to make the right decision." So he's saying this cutting-edge technology has the ability to think for itself and make its own decisions.

It is a scary thought that this virtual voice can think for you – will it stop us using our own brains and will we lose the ability to write things down or type? They are certainly clever, helping you to book train tickets, give you the latest weather news or even tell you a joke. But are they really your new best friend?

One thing we can't do yet is to make chit-chat or small talk with it. We have to alter the way we speak. As Tom Hewitson says "We will develop our own kind of vernacular for speaking with machines that will be subtly different from how we speak to other people… It can be much more brusque and to the point."

But there's no doubt this technology will soon be commonplace in our lives. This year Google Duplex was revealed, described by the company as artificial intelligence "for accomplishing real-world tasks over the phone". It's a type of chatbot that will allow you to, for example, chat to your hairdresser about when they can fit you in for a cut. Other companies are working on similar things. But before they perfect this new technology, don't forget who your real friends are!

词汇表

virtual assistant虚拟助手

bot(能自动执行搜索任务的)网上机器人程序

software软件

smart speaker智能扬声器

interact交流,互动

conversation designer对话设计师

agent (=something that causes change)作用剂,动因

cutting-edge最新的,尖端的

think for itself独立思考

chit-chat聊天,闲谈

small talk闲聊

vernacular方言,白话

brusque无礼的,唐突的

commonplace司空见惯的事情

artificial intelligence (AI)人工智能

real-world task现实生活中的真实任务

chatbot聊天机器人

测验与练习

1.阅读课文并回答问题。

1. How do you communicate with a virtual assistant?

2. Give an example of something, mentioned in this article, that this new technology can do for you.

3. True or false: We can talk to virtual assistants the same way we talk to our friends.

4. Why does the author fear that we may eventually stop using our brains?

5. Which verb used in the text means 'make something completely free from faults'?

2.请在不参考课文的情况下完成下列练习。选择一个意思合适的单词填入句子的空格处。

1. It's hard to ______ with the teacher because I have to sit at the back of the class.

A.inactive B. interact C. interacted D. interacting

2. Making contactless payments used to be quite unusual but now it's ______.

A.real-world B. agent C. commonplace D. cutting-edge

3. The train information screens are not working today because there is a problem with the ______.

A.software B. artificial intelligence C.agent D. chatbot

4. This new driverless car really demonstrates ______ technology.

A.edge-cutting B. cutting-edges C. cut-edges D. cutting-edge

5. The local ______ was very different from what I had learnt at school so I couldn't understand what people were saying.

A.vernacular B. chatbot C. brusque D. chit-chat

在下方留言处写下你的答案~

【官方答案会在第二天的文章内发布。】

【遗传学和疾病】习题答案

1. 阅读课文并回答问题。

1. What is a GMO?

A GMO is a genetically-modified organism.

2. True or false: Genetic modification and gene editing are the same thing.

False. Genetic modification introduces foreign material into a creature. Gene editing alters a creature's DNA.

3. What effect has gene-editing had on these pigs?

The pigs are allegedly immune to the PRRS virus.

4.In what way does Helen Browning believe that gene editing targets the symptom and not the root cause of the problem?

She says it doesn't encourage companies to improve the way they keep their pigs, stopping them from becoming diseased in the first place.

5. Which word in the text means 'physical and mental health and happiness'?

Welfare. (Critics have argued that the creature's welfare will actually suffer because of this.)

2. 请在不参考课文的情况下完成下列练习。选择一个意思合适的单词填入句子的空格处。

1. I'm veryhardy. I almost never get sick and I've never broken a bone.

2. Anyone who has been to the tropics recently may have beenexposedto the virus.

3. Whether or not your character is determined by yourDNAis still hotly debated.

4. The plants absorb water and othernutrientsthrough their roots.

5. The life-saving medicine is still undergoingtrials, but should be available shortly.

这就是我们遗传学和疾病的习题答案啦!

请认真备考,记词汇,做题!加油!!!

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