Category Life in society

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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1 Work as a class. Choose a day when you will all buy the same edition of the same newspaper. Read the paper before you go to class.



In small groups, analyze the following sections of the newspaper. Decide how good you think each section is. Circle the word that best describes your opinion of the quality of each section.



1 international news



not very good

2 Local or national news



not very good

3 Arts / Entertainment



not very good

4 Sports



not very good

To begin to say something

I have something to say. . .

I would like to make a comment. . . I want to point something out. . .

/ agree with X. . .

I think the same as X. . .

Yes, that’s right. . .

I disagree with X. . .

I have a different idea. . .

Yes, but think about this. . .

To agree with someone

To disagree with someone

Compare your opinions and give reasons for your choices. You can use these phrases in your discussion:

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Remember that when you give group presentations, it is important for every member of a group to make an equal contribution. Review the guidelines for giving group presentations on page 73.

1 Professor Gilroy mentioned that many cities have their own "identity” or

“personality.” Look at the following pictures. Do you recognize these cities? What helped you to identify them?



Work in a small group. Choose a city that you know well or a city that you would like to visit. Do not choose the same city as other groups.


Work with your group. Use the categories below to help you describe the identity and personality of the city you have chosen. Add other categories of your own. You may want to do research in a library’ or on the Internet. If possible, use photographs to illustrate what you want to say.

CATEGORIES: geographic location size of city weather

cultural activities typical food customs or traditions architecture transportation problems facing city

4 ! Practice your presentation and then give it in front of the class.


[1] Look at the outline of Part One of the lecture on page 28. Think about what kind of information you might need to complete the outline.

[2] don’t want to be restricted: limited The boys did woodwork: caipentiy

But nowadays, there is less discrimination: unequal treatment Я they need a lot of my support, I’ll give it to them: emotional or physical help

You have to be flexible: able to change according to the situation

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One way to be sure that you have understood what you have heard is to be able to retell the information to someone else from memory. You do not need to use the same words that the speaker used.

1 Read the following questions before you listen to the interview with Gail and Tom.

1 What happened to Gail? Where was she? What was stolen?

2 What was stolen from Tom? Where and how?

3 How did they feel about being victims of crime?

4 Did they report the incidents?


Now, listen to the interview and take notes.

Work with a partner. Take turns retelling what Gail and Tom said. Be sure to include answers to all the questions in step 1. (You can review your notes first, but don’t look at them while you are speaking.)





Percentage of selected crimes reported to the police

Theft less than $50

Motor vehicle theft




0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%


Source: Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000

Look at the graph below. It shows the percentage of selected crimes reported to the police.


Discuss the following questions with a partner. Base your answers on the graph in step 1 and your own ideas.

1 Which crimes get reported most frequently?

2 Which crimes are reported least frequently?

3 How do you explain the fact that people report some crimes less than others?

4 According to official statistics, it is estimated that less than half of all crimes are reported to the police. Why do you think this is true?

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When discussing ideas, speakers oflen need to present different sides of an argument. To do this effectively, they use transitional phrases to distinguish belween various viewpoints. To compare different sides of an issue, a speaker might use phrases like this:

. . . but I think. . .

. . . but other people. . .

. . . but the other thing is.. .

. . . on the other hand. . .

. . . however, some people. . .

It is important to pay attention to transitional phrases so that you understand both sides of the argument as well as the opinion of the speaker.

1 Before you listen to the interview with Nina, read these incomplete excerpts. Notice that at the end of each one, Nina indicates that she is going to present another side of the issue. Think about what she might say.

1 It’s fun to spend hours a day surfing the net, investigating something that interests you, but…

2 It’s wonderful on one hand to have the Internet at your disposal, but. . .

3 You get to discuss books with your friends, to share the ideas with others, but. . .

4 I know a little bit about the Internet, but. . .

5 I really like e-mail, but. . .

6 Computers might be great for writing and editing things, and everything looks great and all that, but. . .

Listen to Kina describe her feelings about computers and the Internet. As you listen, take notes about the opinions she expresses after each of the excerpts in step 1. Then compare your answers with a partner.

INTERVIEW WITH KELLY: The benefits of computers and the Internet

Here are some words and phrases from the interview with Kelly printed in bold and ‘ given in the context in which you will hear them. They are followed by definitions.

Letters make better keepsakes: small objects that you keep because they remind you of someone or some event

E-mail is just so much more convenient: easier

for more extended interaction: longer conversations

I have IM (Instant Messaging) configured: set up on a computer

once vour get over your initial fear: first, preliminaiy

just fiddling around with them and testing things out: using them to leant what they are like

My generation is hooked on the Internet: addicted to It makes a lot of things accessible: available

All of my syllabi for my classes are online: plural of "syllabus” (Latin)

The Internet could increase the disparities between different classes: differences / levels of society

Or maybe technology just illuminates existing disparities: highlights, points out

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