Cultural Change


In this section you are going to discuss the changes in our world that are occurring because of the rapid introduction of new technology. You will also hear a mini-history of the computer and practice listening for dates.


1 Read the following passage.

Today’s world is changing faster than ever before. We have seen technological progress in areas we could not have imagined only ten or twenty years ago. Using computerized robots, a surgeon is now able to perform an operation on a patient in a different continent; music lovers can download their favorite music at the touch of a button and then bum their own CDs at home; digital photography allows us to take photographs and transmit them instantly to the other side of the world.

What is the impact of all this technology on the way we interact with each other? Nobody is quite sure vet. Some people have embraced and celebrated new technology, which allows them to save time and effort. Others are not sure if the supposed benefits are actually worth it. They are concerned that new technologies have too much importance in our lives. They believe that some new technologies are having a negative effect on the way people interact with each other.

Answer the following questions according to the information in the passage.

1 What are some recent innovations in the world of technology?

2 Why are some people in favor of technology?

3 Why are other people concerned about technology’s impact?


Read these questions and share your answers with a partner.

1 In what ways has new technology improved your relationships with other people?

2 What is the most difficult experience you have had with new technology’?

3 What technological innovations do you think will occur in the next fifty years?


1 Look at the mini-history of the computer below. Work with a partner. Using your own ideas and knowledge, guess in which year each of the technological innovations in items 2 through 10 was made. Write your guesses in the “Guess” column.

Mini-history of the Computer

Guess Fact

1 In 500 B. c. the abacus, a tool for counting, was in common use.

2 Blaise Pascal invented the first calculating machine. ______________

3 The first computing machine was built that used a binary – not decimal – method of operation.

4 The term “artificial intelligence” was first used.

5 The first commercial computer with a monitor and a keyboard _______ _______

was developed.

6 The mouse was invented as a time-saving device for giving commands to a computer.

7 The first personal computer was marketed.

8 The laptop computer appeared. _____ _______

9 “Deep Blue,” a supercomputer, beat the world chess champion in a six-game match.

10 The first teraflop computer was installed in a laboratory’. It_______________

could perform one trillion operations per second.


Listen to the mini-history of the computer. Fill in the dates that you hear in the "Fact” column. Then compare vour answers with your partner.


Jn this section you will hear two people discuss how technology has changed the way we interact with other people. Nina, a social worker, is unsure about the benefits of computers and the Internet. Kelly, a university student, is more positive about them.

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