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					                                      8         An Interactive Life1
              It will put the world at your fingertips2, changing the ways you

shop, play and learn. But when will the future arrive?

       To get an idea3 of what the future might bring, step into the past.

At the Edison National Historical Site in West Orange, N.J., there's a

room full of a dozen old phonograph machines. Some were built by

Thomas Edison, who invented recorded sound in 1877, and others

were produced by competitors. In the decades4 represented by the

display, the concept and purpose of sound recording changed

dramatically. Edison conceived of his phonograph as a business

machine that would help people in distant places communicate.5He
                                                                              6
intended to record voices--nothing more.                                           His competitors

envisioned the greater potential for entertainment and art. 7

1
    an interactive life: a life which acts reciprocally

2
    put the world at your fingertips: to become familiar with the world by using the tips of your fingers on
computers; fingertip here has both a literal and a figurative meaning, literally it means the tip of the finger on the
computer while figuratively it means to be familiar with as in the phrase "have at one's fingertips".

3
    To get an idea . . . the past: In order to form a view of what will happen in the future, you need only to have a
look at what happened in the past.

4
    In the decades ... dramatically: in the tens of years covered by the machines on exhibition, the idea and purpose
of sound recording experienced great changes.

5
    Edison ... communicate: Edison designed and developed his sound recording machine as a working tool for
people to talk to each other over long distance.

6
    He intended ... more: His only intention in inventing the machine was the recording of voices.

7
    His competitors ... and art: His business rivals saw in their minds that there was great possibility of using the
machine for entertainment and art.
       1) envision: picture in the mind
Where he saw internal memos, someone else saw Beethoven.8

        Someday, there may well be a similar memorial to the unfulfilled

prophecies of the creators of the latest break-through--interactivity.
9
    Will it really change the world? With so much big money and so many

big dreams pinned to an idea that is still largely on the drawing boards,

there's no limit to the hype10. Simply put, the ultimate promise is this: a

huge 130 amount of information available to anyone at the touch of a

button, everything from airline schedules to esoteric scientific journals
                                                                       11
to video versions of off-off-off Broadway                                   Watching a movie won't

be a passive experience. At various points, you'll click on alternative

story lines and create your individualized version of "Terminator X

I1."12 Consumers will send as well as receive all kinds of data. Say you


      2) potential: future possibility
      3) entertainment: amusement
8
     Where he saw ... Beethoven: He imagined that the machine could record informal communication between
departments in a company but other people thought it could be used to record music.

9
     Someday ... interactivity: At some future time it will be quite suitable to have a place like the Edison National
Historical Site in memory of those who make the important advance recently in interactivity although it has not
been able to do all the things the creators promised.

10
     With m much ... to the hype: Since large sums of money have been spent on an idea which is mainly in the
planning stage, since great hopes have been put on such an idea, there certainly is a lot of exaggerated publicity.
          1) on the drawing board: in the planning stage
          2) hype: loud, exaggerated promotion or publicity

11
     Simply put... Broadway
1) simply put: to express in a way that is easy to understand
2) a huge amount ... of a button: if you press a button, you will be able to get a large amount of information over a
     wide range of topics
3) esoteric scientific journal: magazines on science written in such a way as to be understood only by a few who
know the                subject
12
   At various points ... "Terminator XII": At different places, you can turn on the device for other possible
development of the story and offer your own variation.
shoot a video that you think is particularly artsy. Beam it out and make

a small fortune by charging an untold number of viewers a fee for
                        13
watching.                    Peter Jennings would be obsolete14.Video-camera owners

could record news they see and put it on the universal network. On the

receiving end, the era of the no-brainer will have finally arrived. An

electronic device called an "intelligent agent" would be programmed to

know each viewer's preferences and make selections from the endless
                                  15
stream of data.                        Viewers could select whatever they wanted just by

pushing a button.

            Sounds great in theory, but even the truest believers have a hard

time when it comes to nailing down specifics about how it will
                                16
actually work.                       Will we control the data via the telephone, the TV,

the personal computer or a combination of all of the above? When


13
     Say you shoot ... a fee for watching: For example, you film a video which you think has special artistic
       pretensions. Send out             the video and ask those who have watched it to pay a fee. In this way you can
       make quite a sum of money.

14
     Peter Jennings would be obsolete: There is no longer any need for news anchorman because anyone can record
       news with a             video-camera and put it on the universal network for everybody else to see.

15
     On the receiving end . . . stream of data
        1) on the receiving end: for those who are the viewers
        2) the era of the no-brainer: the period of no need to bother about the selection of programmes
        3) to be programmed: to furnish the computer with a planned sequence of operations to be performed

16
     Sounds great ... actually work: In theory the whole idea seems wonderful but even for those who firmly believe
       in this, it is          difficult to work out the details of how it will actually function.
          1) come to: concern
          2) nailing down: making sure, settling
          3) specifics: details
will it be available? Will it be cheap enough for everyone? How will

we negotiate such a mass of images, facts and figures and still find
                             17
time to sleep?                    Will government regulate messages sent out on this

vast data highway?18 And, frankly, what do we need all this stuff for

anyway?19

            The quick answer is: no one knows. "We're a long way from

'Wild Palms'," says Diana Hawkins, who runs an interactive-TV
                                                                             20
consulting firm in Portola Valley, Calif.                                          But even if the

techno-chaos of that futuristic fantasy mini-series is far off, some

consumers may indeed notice that their personal relationships with

their TVs, telephones end computers will be entering a new and
                                                            21
deeper phase within a year or two.                               Instead of playing rented tapes

17
     How will we negotiate ... to sleep?
          1) negotiate:   succeed    in   crossing, surmounting, moving through
          2) mass: a large quantity or number
          3) How shall we handle and manage such a large quantity of data and still have time to sleep?

18
     Will government ... highway?: Will government formulate regulations to control and govern the kind and
        number of communications sent out over the numerous channels?
     1) data highway: the authors are comparing the transmission in the air to a busy highway and information, data
          travels along the highway. This is a vivid metaphor.

19
     And, frankly.... anyway?
          1) This is no longer a question on specifics. It inquires into the usefulness and ultimate purpose of such an
idea.
         2) what for: why
20
     The quick answer ... Portala Valley, Calif.
          1) quick: prompt
           2) we' re a long way from ' Wild Palms': there is still great distance before we can reach the stage as
depicted in the TV
            series ' Wild Palms'

21
     But even if . . . within a year or two
on their VCRs, they may be able to call up a movie from a library of
                                                                                     22
thousands through a menu displayed on the TV.                                             Game fanatics

may be able to do the same from another electronic library filled
                                                                                              23
with realistic video versions of arcade shoot-'em-ups.                                             Instead of

flipping through the pages of J. Crew of Victoria's Secret, at-home

shoppers may watch video catalogs with models demonstrating front
                                                          24
and rear views of the latest gear.                             Some cable companies are also

testing other interactive models that allow viewers to choose their own

news or select camera angles for sporting events.25

       While these developments are clever, fun and even convenient,

they're not quite revolutionary. Denise Caruso, editor of Digital Media,


       1) techno-chaos: technological disorder or confusion
       2) futuristic fantasy: highly imaginative TV series, with stress on the speed, flux and violence of the machine
age
     3) The futuristic fantasy mini-series refer to 'Wild Palms'.
22
   Instead of ... on the TV: If you want to see a film, you don't need to rent a tape and play it on your VCR. Instead,
you may pick one from the catalog shown on the TV and phone the library to have it beamed to you.
23
   Game fanatics ... shoot-'em-ups: Those who are obssessed in video games may do it in the same way by
contacting another         electronic library which has a large number of video tapes recording the actual shootings
and killings seen in video game shops.
1) realistic: 真人真事
2) arcade: 连拱廊商店 a roofed passageway esp. one with shops on either side; here it refers to an amusement
center having coin-operated games; a video arcade
3) shoot-'em-up: a movie or television show featuring much physical violence, esp. shooting and killing

24
     Instead of flipping through . . . latest gear: Those who want to do shopping at home do not need to look through
catalogs published by garment companies. They may watch video catalogs with women displaying front and rear
views of the newest fashion of clothing.


25
     Some cable companies ... sporting events
        1) cable companies:   有线电视公司
        2) select camera angles for sporting events: choose how one would like to watch the ball games or other
athletic competitions
a San Francisco-based industry newsletter, calls this "fake

interactive,"26 just one step past passive viewing, pure couch-potato

mode. In the most common version of this scheme, consumers will

communicate with the TV through the combination of a control box

and their remote control, or, perhaps, the telephone. To some degree,

viewers already have accepted a certain amount of fake interactivity

by channel-surfing with their remotes, ordering pay-for-view movies

and running up their credit-card bills on the Home Shopping

Network.27

        Moving beyond phase one, into what Caruso calls "true

interactive," will require mad or changes in the technological and
                                            28
regulatory infrastructure.                       Today's television cables will likely be

replaced by fiber-optic cables 29, which are capable of transmitting

much more data at higher speeds. Either a government agency or the

communications industry itself will have to set a performance

26
     Why does Caruso call this "fake interactive".'?
        It is not considered genuine interactivity because it is not revolutionary enough and is just one step beyond
passive viewing. It is still the traditional form of sitting on the couch watching.

27
     To some degree ... Network: To a certain extent, viewers have already accepted quite a bit of false interactivity,
such as using their remote control devices to quickly choose a suitable program, ordering film which you will pay
for seeing it and doing shopping at home with credit cards so frequently that the bills accumulate.

28
     Moving beyond ... infrastructure: Getting over the first stage and moving into what Caruso terms as "real
interactive", people need to bring about great changes in the basic structure on which technology and regulation
rest.
     technological and regulatory infrastructure:   技术和管理基础设施

29
     fibre-optic cable:   光纤电缆
                                                                                                       30
standard so that different networks can connect with each other.                                             At

home, viewers may have to learn to use a TV monitor that functions

more like a computer screen fronting for a gigantic hard disc full of

all kinds of data, everything from games and movies to specially

created programs.31

       The shows of the future may be the technological great

grandchildren of current CD-ROM titles.32 These are compact discs

that store data instead of music and can play on either television or

computer screens. To play CD-ROMs today, you need a special

machine. There are at least four models on the market, and titles

produced for one format won't play on another. 33 CD-ROMs do

provide a glimpse of what the future might hold, 34 however. A

number of companies, including Newsweek, are developing

multimedia products that combine text, video, sound and still
30
     Either a government ... each other
        1) to set a performance standard: to lay down norms for operation

31
     At home ... created programs
         1) TV monitor: a TV receiver
         2) computer screen fronting:     计算机屏幕表面
         3) a hard disc: 硬盘
32
     The shows . . . titles: Future programs may be the technological descendants of today's CD-ROM discs.
         1) CD-ROM: Compact Discs with Read-Only-Memory 光盘只读存储器
         2) title: discs of movies or TV programs   视盘

33
   titles produced ... on another: discs produced in one specified form can only be played on machines designed for
such discs
34
   CD-ROMs do provide ... hold, however: In spite of that, CD-ROMs still give you a chance to have a brief look
at what will be in store for us in the future.
         1) glimpse: a brief look
         2) hold: to be in store
                          35
photographs.                   The result is what may someday be a powerful new

medium with no set story line as in a book or magazine. Users pick

and choose information that interests them. Philips Interactive, for

example, has dozens of titles, among them a tour of the Smithsonian,

in which the viewer selects which corridor to enter by clicking on the

screen. Other titles: "Jazz Giants," a musical history, and "Escape

from CyberCity," an animated adventure game.36

       Many investors are betting on entertainment as the most lucrative

interactive market. 37 But some industry observers predict the

development of two parallel home markets, one catering to leisure
                                                                         38
activities and the other to businesses.                                       Hawkins says the

work-at-home market could be computer based and provide an

outlet for teleconferencing and portable computing devices, like


35
     A number of companies ... still photographs
         1) developing multimedia products: bringing into being products involving the use of several media
         2) still photographs: static photographs 静止图像

36
     Philips Interactive ... adventure game
         1) in which the viewer ... on the screen: the viewer may decide on which part on the museum to visit and
            turn on the television
        2) an animated adventure game: an exciting experience filled with activity and vigor

37
     Many investors ... market: Many investors are confident that amusement will be the most profitable market for
interactive
       products
38
   But some industry ... to businesses
        1) two parallel home markets: two home markets running side by side but not crossing each other
        2) cater to: to take account of and provide with what is necessary
     3) leisure activities: entertainment
     4) But some industry people following the market trend say that in the future there will be two markets at
home developing               side by side, one serving the needs for entertainment, the other providing what is
needed by businesses.
the Newton touted by Apple chairman John Soulley that can be

carried in a pocket and runs on handwritten commands scribbled
                                     39
on a small screen.                        The entertainment market, primarily games and

movies, would be centered on some Kind of monitor.

        If all this comes to pass--still a very big if--the next step could be
                                                                                                      40
what Digital Media's Caruso calls "complete viewer control."                                               She

says consumers would be a little like information "cowboys,"

rounding up data from computer-based archives and information
                  41
services.              There will be thousands of "channels" delivered, Caruso

thinks, through some combination of cable, telephone, satellite and



39
     Hawkins says ... on a small screen
        1) work-at-home market: those people who stay at home to do their work and have their computers linked
            with the office               terminals
        2) outlet: market
        3) teleconferencing devices: equipments used for holding a conference of individuals in different locations,
as by speaker-
             phone, closed-circuit TV, etc.
        4) portable computing devices: equipments used for calculation which can be easily carried around
        5) touted: recommended highly
        6) runs on a handwritten ... screen: operates on instructions written by hand on a small screen in a casual
way

40
     If all this ... "complete viewer control."
        1) come to pass: come about or happen
        2) still a very big if: so far, it is still not certain that this will be realized
        3) could: denoting possibility
II. She says ... information services
        Why does she compare consumers to cowboys? In what way are they similar?
        --The cowboys round up cattle while the consumers round up data.

41
     She says ... information services
        Why does she compare consumers to cowboys? In what way are they similar?
        --The cowboys round up cattle while the consumers round up data.
                                  42
cellular networks.                     To prevent getting trampled by a stampede of

data, viewers will rely on programmed electronic selectors that could

go out into the info corral and rope in the subjects the viewer wants.43

       Caruso's "final frontier" is what she calls video telephony, a
                                                                                    44
complete two-way link of video, audio and data.                                          A user might stand

in front of a monitor receiver and just talk and listen, communicating

with whatever or whomever is Out There. Images and voices would

be beamed back and forth. (At the very least, it would probably mean

the end of anonymous obscene phone calls45.) "There is no exact

analogy to any technology we've seen before," says Red Burns, chair

of the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York
42
     There will be ... networks
         1) there will be thousands of "channels" delivered: information will be provided through numerous bands
of frequencies
         2) cellular 蜂窝电话

43
     To prevent getting trampled ... the viewer wants
         1) The authors here continue to follow the metaphor of "cow-boy". Hence words like trample, stampede,
corral, rope in.
         2) trample: crush, destroy by or as by treading heavily on
         3) stampede: a sudden, headlong running away of a group of frightened animals, esp. horses or cattle
         4) info: information
         5) corral: an enclosure for holding horses, cattle or other animals; pen
        6) rope in: to enclose (animals) with ropes
        7) To avoid being overwhelmed by a large amount of in-coming data, the viewer will depend on an
electronic device with coded instructions to choose from the mass of information the kind of things he needs.
44
   Caruso's "final frontier".., and data
         1) final frontier: the last new field of learning beyond which there is no more unexplored field
         2) telephony: the science of telephonic transmission
         3) two-way: used for both transmission and reception

45
     At the very least ... phone calls: At any rate, it would probably make impossible phone calls to women in
indecent, offensive language by people who would not disclose their names or identities because you would be
able to see the images.
University. "Interactive means we are all involved. There is no viewer.

Interactive is like a conversation."

       "Interactivity" may be the biggest buzzword of the moment, but

"convergence" is a close second. 46 It means different things to

different people. To the moneymen, it means that everything will
                                                             47
come together and they'll clean up.                               To scientists, it means that the

technology has reached a critical point where fantasy could now

become reality.48 Nicholas Negroponte, director of MIT's Media

Lab, a leading think tank in this new world, remembers that back

in the l970s, a government agency gave him a grant on the

condition that he remove the word multimedia from his proposal.
49
     "They were afraid we would get one of [Senator] Proxmire's


46
     "Interactivity" ... close second: "Interactivity" for the time being may be the most used word which has little
       meaning but sounds impressive to outsiders while "convergence" follows "interactivity" closely in the second
       place in frequency.
       convergence:    act or condition of moving towards the same place, result

47
     To the moneymen ... clean up: To the business people, it means that everything will move toward the same place
       and they will make a lot of profit.
         1) clean up: to make much money or profit

48
     To scientists ... become reality: To scientists, it means that technology has developed to such a stage that what
was considered as wild notion can now be realized and become a fact.

49
     Nicholas Negroponte ... his proposal
        1) director of MIT's Media Lab: 麻省理工学院媒介实验室主任
        2) a leading think tank: one of the principal research centers for offering proposals on current issues to
official agencies
        3) think tank: a group or institution organized for intensive research and problem-solving, esp. in the area of
         technology or political strategy 思想库
        4) in this new world: in the new research field of new medium
Golden Fleece awards," he says. Now, politicians, from President

Clinton on down, are falling over themselves to proclaim support for

the new medium.50

       These dreams are possible because researchers have made vast

leaps in both the quality and quantity of data transmittal.51 In the past

decade, the amount of data that could be put on a silicon chip has

doubled every year while the price has been cut in half. In 1960, a

high-quality transistor cost several dollars. Today a chip with the

capacity of 4 million transistors costs about a tenth of a cent per

transistor.52

       Transmission--putting that information into the hands of everyone

who wants it--is also much more efficient. Until now, data have been

sent as a series of electrical signals along wires or cables or through

the air as radio waves. But as the amount of data and the demand for

them have increased, these electronic highways have become

clogged.53The solution: fiber optics.

50
     Now, politicians.... the new medium: At present, politicians starting from President Clinton all the way down to
       lower-level officials are eager and willing to state that they are for the new medium.
         fall over oneself: to be eager and willing (to do something)

51
     These dreams ... data transmittal
         1) to make leaps: to make big advances
         2) data transmittal: the sending out of information

52
     Today a chip ... per transistor: Today an integrated circuit can hold as much information as 4 million transistors
       but the cost is only one tenth of a cent per transistor.

53
     these electronic highways have become clogged: the wires, cables or air can no longer carry the increased
       number of signals become cloggged: become stopped up, become jammed
        Both of these developments are possible because of digitalization,

a mathematical scheme that translates data into the simplest form.
54
     Called binary formatting, the system expresses numbers and letters
                                                     55
in a code using only 1 and 0.                             The letter "A," for example, could be

00000. "Z" would be 11001. Originally, this code was stored as

on-or-off            electrical            charges         along the standard                       wires    and

cables;56now it can be transmitted as pulses of light on the fiber-optic

cables. Bringing high-speed computers into the loop means that much
                                                                                      57
more complicated information can be digitized:                                             combinations of

sound, still images, video and text. "Multimedia" is the wrong word,

says MIT's Negroponte. "Everything has now become digitized," he

says. "We have created a unimedia58, really. Bits are bits 59."

        At the Media Lab 60 , Negroponte and other scientists are


54
     Both of these ... the simplest form
          1) both of these developments: referring to developments in the capacity of silicon chip and in transmission
          2) digitalization: the turning of data into a numerical description expressed in digits   数字编码

55
     Called binary formatting ... 1 and 0: The system is a number system with each number being expressed by an
     arrangement of two numerals: 1 and 0. It turns every number or letter into a code using only 1 and 0.

56
     Originally, this code.., fibre-optic cables
      1) this code was stored as on-or-off electrical charges: this signal was kept in a computer memory unit as
          electrical energy which can be sent out or stopped
     2) pulses of light: light waves

57
     Bringing high-speed . . . can be digitized: By linking high-speed computers with the complete fibre-optic cable
system, people will be able to turn very complicated information into a code using only 1 and 0.

58
     unimedia: a single media
59
     bit: a single digit in a binary number system
60
     At the Media Lab.... with the future
        to experiment with the future: to conduct experiments in order to invent devices for future use
experimenting with the future. Pattie Maes, an expert in artificial

intelligence,61 is trying to build some working "intelligent agents."62

(At a recent Media Lab conference, an actor dressed as a butler took

the stage, playing the part of                      an agent. That's interactive humor. ) In

one program, Maes has created four "icons" on the computer screen

representing agents with specific marching orders.63 For example, one

dressed in a business suit seeks out business news. Although the

agents are initially programmed, they actually learn by watching their

masters' preferences 64 . She thinks that one-day, agents may even

communicate with agents from other users: "Let's say both you and I

like the same movie reviews. Our agents could get together and

determine that we also had other interests in common." (Imagine the

conversation: "Have I got a compatible user for you! "65)

        Maes and others concede that there's a dark side to all these

bright dreams66. Who will protect the privacy of consumers whose


61
     artificial intelligence:   人工智能
62
     to build some working "intelligent agents": to produce some artificial devices which can solve problems, direct
conduct by
       reasoning and which can function properly

63
     In one program....marching order: In one of the coded instructions for operations performed by a computer,
     Maes has created four "images" on the computer screen representing different artificial persons, each
     programmed with a set of concrete instructions.

64
   Although the agents ... preferences: Although these artificial intelligent persons are only given coded
instructions for the first      time, they come to know a lot by watching what their masters are interested in
65
   Imagine the conversation: ... for you!: Try to think what the conversation would be like: "I have got a user who
will suit you         fine!"
66
   Maes and others . . . dreams
          1) concede: admit as valid; acknowledge
shopping, viewing and recreational habits are all fed into one
                                                              67
cable-phone company data bank?                                     And where there are agents, can

counteragents be far behind: spies who might like to keep tabs on the

activities of your electronic butlers? "68Advertising companies see my
                         69
presentations                 and get very excited," says Maes. Indeed, intelligent
                                                                            70
agents could be a gold mine of information.                                      Advertisers aren't the

only ones who could abuse the network if they were able to tap into it.
71
     The government could electronically spy on individuals; bosses

could track employees.

        If the tolls for using the information highway are too high,

interactivity may widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots,


         2) a dark side: disadvantage; bad effect

67
     Who will protect ... data bank?
         1) privacy: one's private life or personal affairs
         2) viewing habit: what one likes to watch
         3)... are all fed into one cable-phone company data bank: are all put steadily into a data bank of a company
            through the cable-phone
         4) data bank: a large collection of data in a computer, organized so that it can be expanded, updated and
            retrieved rapidly for various use   数据库

68
     And where..., butlers?
         1) where: in whatever place, situation, or respect in which
         2) can counteragents be far behind: This is an imitation of British poet Shelly's "Ode to the West Wind" in
               which the "If last line runs Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?"
         3) keep tabs on: to keep check on; follow or watch every move of
         4) electronic butler: the headservant of a household who is an artificial intelligence device

69
     presentation: (articles, publication) for consideration

70
     Indeed . . . of information: Certainly these electronic devices are a source of valuable information
71
     Advertisers ... tap into it: Advertisers are not the only people who could wrongly exploit and benefit from the
       network so long as they were able to make a secret connection with the network.
the rich and wired vs. the poor and unplugged.72 Some plans call for
73
     charging hundreds of dollars for the "black box" in the first phase of

interactivity. Other plans are cheaper, but would Still levy a fee for

services used.74 One suggestion is to make much of the data free to all

users, similar to the way public libraries lend out books. If that

happens, some experts think that the new technology may eventually

have a democratizing effect 75 . Access to a universal information

library could equalize opportunity.

"It's a shift from elitism to populism, 76 " says Bernard Luskin,

president of Philips Interactive Media of America.

        In the next few years there's likely to be considerable debate over

the realistic presentation of violence in the new generation of video



72
     If the tolls ... and unplugged
         1) toll: a charge for service or extra service
         2) have: a person or nation with relatively much wealth or rich resources
         3) have-not: a person or nation with little or no wealth or resources
         4) vs: standing for versus, meaning in contrast with
         5) the wired: those who have access to the network
         6) the unplugged: those who cannot afford to use the information highway
         7) Why may interactivity widen the gap? Because those who have access to the information may have
            better opportunities              since information and the speed of acquiring information are decisive in
            today's competition.

73
     call for: demand, require

74
     levy a fee for services used: impose and collect certain amount of money for using the facilities

75
  the new technology ... effect: the new technology may in the end have the effect of making society more
democratic
76
   It's a shift . . . populism: It' s a change from monopoly of information by a small group of the rich and privileged
to a situation in which information is shared by all.
                                                                                          77
games, which will include viewer-directed movies.                                              It's one thing to

zap a cartoon mutant in an arcade, quite another when clicking on the

screen means shooting bullets and spilling blood from a human.
78
     Would you want your child--or any child--to play that game?

        At this point, so much is still speculation79. While the big players

and major thinkers spin predictions80, it's quite possible that some

entrepreneur in a garage is coming up with a really new idea that will

forever alter the best-laid plans. "What we are looking at now is just

the first generation," says Stephen Benton of MIT's Media Lab. In that

case, the best advice is: hang on for the ride.81

                                       Barbara Kantrowitz with Joshua Cooper Ramo

                                                                             NEWSWEEK MAY 31,

                                                                      1993


77
     In the next few years ... viewer-directed movies: In the next few years there may be quite a lot of discussion
       over whether it is good or bad, whether it should be allowed to have display of actual violence in the new
       stage of video games, including movies planned and controlled by viewers.

78
     It's one thing ... from a human
     1) it's one thing ... (it's) quite another: this is a useful pattern, denoting contrast ...; 是一回事,…则是另一回
事
     2) To kill a cartoon man quickly in video game shops is entirely different from seeing the killing of a genuine
human by turning on the television.

79
     79. At this point ... speculation: At the present stage, a lot of things are still guesswork.

80
     while the big players ... predictions: while the big gamblers and main designers produce statements

81
     In that case ... for the ride: If that is the situation, the best thing to do is to join in passively waiting for future
changes.
AIDS TO COMPREHENSION

I. Notes
1) Newsweek: An American news weekly established in Dayton, Ohio in 1933. In it domestic
and international news is summarized, analyzed and categorized according to topics each
week. It also has special sections devoted to arts, science, medicine, sports, etc. It is one of
the three largest
news weeklies of America and has a wide domestic and international circulation.
2) Barbara Kantrowitz and Joshua Cooper Ramo: regular contributors to Newsweek
3) N.J.: abbreviation for New Jersey, Eastern State of the U.S. on the Atlantic
4) Edison: Thomas Alva Edison (1847--1931): U.S. inventor especially of electrical and
communication devices, including the incandescent lamp, phonograph, and microphone
5) Beethoven: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), German composer. He is universally
recognized as one of the greatest composers who ever lived.
6) off-off-off Broadway: an avant-garde theatrical movement in New York that stresses
untraditional and radical experimentation
7) Terminator: an American science fiction movie series, starring the popular actor, Arnold
Schwarzengger. The number XII implies a future installment of the series.
8) Peter Jennings: anchorman for ABC's (American Broadcasting Company) World News
Tonight program. In a recent (1993) nationwide poll for the best news anchorman conducted
by Travel and Leisure weekly, Jennings came in second, losing to Dan Rather of CBS
(Columbia Broadcasting System) by one percentage point, but came in first as the most
intelligent anchorman, heating Rather by 2 percentage points.
9) no-brainer: perhaps meaning no longer necessary to rack one's brains to select a TV
program one would like to see
10) Calif.: abbreviation for California, State of the SW. U.S., on the Pacific Coast
11) VCR: Video Cassette Recorder
12) J. Crew: a catalogue published by J. Crew, a company selling casual wear for the rich
13) Victoria's Secret: a catalogue published by Victoria's Secret, a company selling women
undergarments
14) couch-potato: a person who spends most of his time on a couch watching TV
15) channel surfing: skimming quickly through various TV channels to find a suitable
program
16) remotes: remote control devices
17) Home Shopping Network: a TV network that displays all kinds of goods which people at
home can pick and buy
18) Philips Interactive: an interactive machine manufactured by Philips Interactive Media of
America
19) Smithsonian: Smithsonian Institution, research and education center, at Washington D.C.:
founded 1846. Today it is a vast complex, housing many museums, art galleries, research
institutes, etc.
20) Cybercity: a city controlled by computers, etc.
21) Apple: an American computer company
22) MIT: acronym for Massachusetts Institute of Technology
23) Proxmire: William Proxmire, U.S. Senator (1957). Proxmire opposed wasteful
government spending, especially by the military.
24) Golden Fleece award: a prize awarded to a government project considered to be the most
silly, wasteful and corrupt
25) cartoon mutant: human beings and animals reduced to cartoon forms
II. Look up the italicized words in the dictionary and explain:
1) you'll click on alternative story lines
2) Say you shoot a video that you think is particularly by artsy.
3) But even if the techno-chaos of that futuristic fantasy mini-series is far off.
4) to call up a movie from a library of thousands through a menu displayed on the TV
5) with no set story line as in a book or magazine
6) rounding up data from computer-based archives
7) go out into the info-corral and rope in the subjects the viewer wants
8) it means that everything will come together and they'll clean up
9) Called binary formatting.
10) representing agents with specific marching orders

				
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