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8 An Interactive Life It will put the world at your fingertips, changing the ways you shop, play and learn. But when will the future arrive? from Newsweek Objectives To understand the text To learn the words and phrases about the interactive life To be familiar with the interactive life Teaching Contents 1. Introduction (10 min.) 2. Detailed study of the text (140 min.) 3. Structure analysis (5 min.) 4. Language appreciation (5 min.) 5. Summary of words and phrases(5 min) 6. Exercises (15 min) 1. Introduction The text is taken from American Newsweek. Newsweek is 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 newsweeklies of America and has a wide domestic and international circulation. The authors of the text, The authors Barbara Kantrowitz and Joshua Cooper Ramo: regular contributors to Newsweek ―An Interactive Life‖ was published in Newsweek on May 31, 1993 Introduction of the text 2. Detailed study of the text What‘s the meaning of the title? An Interactive Life: a life which acts reciprocally, mutually, receives and gives in return ―An Interactive Life‖ refers to the future life, meaning a life which acts reciprocally, mutually, receives and gives in return. This interactive life is the life with Internet, and this life will familiarize you with the world, change the ways you shop, play and learn. What does the essay try to describe to us? The essay describes to us an interactive life—the future life that will fully involves us all interactively, and suggest us that we should hang on for a ride even though we do not know when this life will come. Para. 1 Stepping into the past so as to understand the future Why do people have to step back to see the future? Because the past indicates the development of the human history. We learn from history that every invention in history brings about great development. Techniques have marked different eras over the centuries: from the primitive tools of the Stone Age, to the Industrial Age marked by steam and electrical power and the discovery of turbines, and engines. Today, we have entered a new era: the computer age and Information Age. Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) American inventor, one of the greatest inventors of all time. Edison began to work at an early age and continued to work right up until his death. Throughout his prolific career as an inventor, he was well known for his focus and determination. During his career Edison patented more than 1,000 inventions, including the electric light, the phonograph, and the motion-picture camera. These three inventions gave rise to giant industries—electric utilities, phonograph and record companies, and the film industry—thus changing the work and leisure habits of people throughout the world. Age of Edison The period from 1879 to 1900, when Edison produced and perfected most of his devices, has been called the Age of Edison. Edison National Historical Site in West Orange, N. J. Edison National Historical Site in West Orange, N. J. It is a museum about 15 miles west of New York City, New York. It now has closed for major rehabilitation work. The Site plans to reopen sometime in 2006. Edison National Historical Site For more than forty years, the laboratory created by Thomas Alva Edison in West Orange, New Jersey, had enormous impact on the lives of millions of people worldwide. Out of the West Orange laboratories came the motion picture camera, vastly improved phonographs, sound recordings, silent and sound movies and the nickel-iron alkaline electric storage battery. Edison National Historic Site provides a unique opportunity to interpret and experience important aspects of America's industrial, social and economic past, and to learn from the legacy of the world's best known inventor. Today, the Laboratory remains a powerful symbol of American technical ingenuity and productive power. In the decades represented by the display, the concept and purpose of sound recording changed dramatically: In the tens of years covered by the machines on exhibition, the idea and purpose of sound recording experienced great changes. Edison conceived of his phonograph as a business machine that would help people in distant places communicate: Edison designed and developed his sound recording machine as a working tool for people to talk to each other over long distance. conceive of ..(as): think of …(as), imagine…(as) He intended to record voices—nothing more: His only intention in inventing the machine was the recording of voices. envisioned the greater potential for His competitors,/His business rivals, adversaries saw in their minds that there was great possibility of using the machine for entertainment and art. envision: picture in the mind. Am.E; envisage: see in the mind as a future possibility; foresee; e.g. It should be quite simple; I don‘t envisage /envision any difficulty. envision doing/ that… When do you envision being able/ that you will be able to pay me back? potential: future possibility; Where he saw internal memos, someone else 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. Edison applied the machine to business while others to a different thing, music— entertainment. memo=memorandum (formal): a note from one person or office to another within the same firm or organization; a note of sth. to be remembered. e.g. I made a memo on my memo pad to buy more coffee. Beethoven: metonymy, referring to the music by Beethoven Why do the authors say ―Where he saw internal memos, someone else saw Beethoven‖? Because by saying this, he means to gives an example how Edison‘s invention brought about the development. Para.2 definition of the interactive life a similar memorial to…breakthrough—interactivity: 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. memorial (to): n. sth. esp. a stone monument, in memory of a person, event, etc. e.g. a war memorial (=in memory of dead soldiers) a memorial sculpture. The church service is a memorial to those killed in the war. What do you think is the latest breakthrough— interactivity? The Internet is the latest breakthrough—interactivity in particular, because it has created a brand new environment. A new culture has been born – free, rapid, and universal – where people share their knowledge and expertise. Information and communication techniques have been turned upside down, distance has been eliminated, frontiers abolished. A tremendous interactive potential is burgeoning on our planet Earth today. Like it or lump it – none can stop it! Can you mention one or two of the creators of the latest breakthrough—interactivity? The inventors in 1990 of the World Wide Web (WWW), which revolutionized the contemporary computer world, did not become millionaires. British Tim Berners-Lee and Belgian Robert Caillau, both researchers at European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, did not make any money through their invention of the WWW. They refused to patent it. They feared that in so doing, the use of the Web would prove prohibitively expensive preventing its use worldwide. Thus, they passed up a fortune so that our world can learn and communicate today, and we should be grateful to them for their foresight. With…, there‘s no limit 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 idea, there certainly is a lot of exaggerated publicity. on the drawing board: in the planning stage; hype: n. (infml. often derog.) loud, exaggerated promotion or publicity; attempts to get a lot of public attention for things or people by saying loudly and often that they are very good, or better than they really are e.g. media hype 传媒宣传 to hype v. hyping their latest record with a lot of interviews 借大量采访大肆宣传他们的最新唱 片 …from airline schedules to esoteric scientific journals to video versions of off-off-off Broadway. To put it in a simple way, the most wonderful thing is that if you press a button, you will be able to get a large amount of information over a wide range of topics, from something common like airline schedules to something very professional like esoteric scientific journals to something untraditional like video versions of off-off-off Broadway esoteric scientific journals: magazines on science written in such a way as to be understood only by a few who know the subject Broadway: New York City thoroughfare that traverses the length of Manhattan, near the middle of which are clustered the theatres that have long made it the foremost showcase of commercial stage entertainment in the United States. The term Broadway is virtually synonymous with American theatrical activity. Broadway gained its name as the axis of an important theatre district. off-off-off Broadway : Shows that cannot make into Broadway are called "off Broadway." If a show is really bad, or really small in scale, it is even less than off Broadway show. Broadway shows are usually big budget productions with famous producers. Newer shows usually start as off Broadway, meaning that they are performed in some smaller theaters, usually in some other odd places like the village. Some of these off Broadway shows can become successful and eventually become a Broadway show, but mostly that never happens. At various points … version of ―Terminator XII‖: Terminator XII: an American science fiction movie series, starring the popular actor, Arnold Schwarzengger. The number XII implies a future installment of the series. At different places, you can turn on the device for other possible development of the story and offer your own variation. Say you shoot a video that you think is particularly artsy. For example, you film a video which you think has special artistic pretensions or quality. Beam it out and make a small fortune by charging an untold number of viewers a fee for watching: 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. 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. obsolete: no long used; out of date e.g. obsolete machine, obsolete idea On the receiving end, … the no-brainer will have finally arrived: For viewers, the time of no need to bother about the selection of programmes will have finally arrived. on the receiving end: for those who are the viewers. the era of the no-brainer: the period of no need to bother about the selection of programmes. Para.3 a hard time Sounds great in theory… how it will 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. come to: concern e.g. When it comes to politics/ to repairing cars, I know nothing. nailing down: making sure, settling to nail sb. down: to force (a person) to state clearly their intention or wishes. e.g. Before they repair the car, nail them down to a price.(=make them tell how much it will cost). to nail sth. up: If you nail sth. up, you fix it to a vertical surface using nails. e.g. the warning notice that he had nailed up on the pole specifics : details, particulars How will we negotiate …still find time to sleep? How shall we handle and manage such a large quantity of data and still have time to sleep? negotiate: infml. to succeed in dealing with or getting past (sth. difficult); succeed in crossing, surmounting, moving through, overcoming; e.g. to negotiate a steep hill/ sharp bend in one‘s car mass: a large quantity or number; Will government regulate messages sent out on this vast data highway? Will government formulate regulations to control and govern the kind and number of communications sent over the numerous channels? 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. And frankly, what do we need all this stuff for anyway? This is no longer a question on specifics. It inquires/makes a search, investigate into the usefulness and ultimate purpose of such an idea. Para. 4 near future life ―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.‖ Wild Palms is a TV miniseries directed by Oliver Stone. It was released in 1993. It is a science fiction: Los Angeles in the near future, Harry Wykoff accepts a job as presidents of a gigantic TV company. He is confronted with a total new technology called "The New Reality" where three- dimensional TV animated pictures are projected in living rooms all around the world. Harry launches to the top of the company with his career but once there he is caught in a web of intrigues, betrayal and murder. A game of life and death begins… But even if… computers will be entering a new and deeper phase within a year or two: But even if we are still far away from the technological disorder of that highly imaginative TV series, some consumers may actually find that their relationships with their TVs, telephones and computers will develop to a higher order within a year or two. techno-chaos: technological disorder or confusion futuristic: dealing with the future, esp. by imagining what may happen then e.g. She writes futuristic novels about voyages to distant galaxies. the futuristic fantasy: highly imaginative TV series, with stress on the speed, flux and violence of the machine age; The futuristic fantasy mini-series refer to ―Wild Palm.‖ Instead…through a menu displayed 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 of thousand movies to have it beamed to you. Game fanatics … library filled with realistic video versions of arcade shoot ‗em-ups: Those who are obsessed /absorbed 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. fanatic n. often derog. a person who shows very great and often unreasoning keenness for sth. esp. for a religious or political belief. e.g. a health food fanatic The heathen temple was torn down by a crowd of religious fanatics. realistic: (of art or lit.) showing or describing things as they really are.; e.g. a realistic drawing of a horse arcade: a roofed passageway esp. one with shops on either side; a covered passage, esp. one with a roof supported by arches or with a row of shops on one or both sides; a place full of machines which spin numbers or with which one can play games after putting coins into them. In the text it refers to an amusement center having coin-operated games; a video arcade; shoot-‗em-up: a movie or television show featuring much physical violence, esp. shooting and killing Instead of flipping …J.Crew [and]of Victoria‘s Secret, … the 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. J. Crew: a catalogue published by J. Crew, a company selling casual wear for the rich Victoria‘s Secret: a catalogue published by Victoria‘s Secret, a company selling women undergarments gear: (often in comb) clothing or an article of clothing esp. for a particular purpose; football gear; headgear;. select camera angles for sporting events: choose how one would like to watch the ball games or other athletic competition. Para. 5 “fake interactive” What is called ―fake interactive‖? Channel-surfing with the remotes, ordering pay- for-view movies and running up the credit-card bills on the Home Shopping Network can be called ―fake interactive,‖ because it is just one step past passive viewing, pure couch-potato mode. couch-potato: a person who spends most of his time on a couch watching TV newsletter: a small sheet of printed news sent regularly to a particular group of people the company newsletter 公司的业务通讯 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. couch-potato: a person who spends most of his time on a couch watching TV version: one person‘s account of an event, esp. as compared with that of another person To some degree, …on the Home Shopping 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 to be paid for seeing and doing shopping at home with credit cards so frequently that the bills accumulate. run up: to cause oneself to have (bills or debts) e.g. She ran up a large phone bill. Para.6 ―true interactive‖ What is called ―true interactive‖? The major changes in the technological and regulatory infrastructure can be called ―true interactive‖, for example, the use of the multimedia and World Wide Web, Moving beyond phase one, into what Caruso calls ―true interactive,:‖ will require major changes in the technological and regulatory 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. infrastructure: the system or structures which are necessary for the operation of a country or an organization Vast sums are needed to maintain the infrastructure (=water / power/ road system) A country‘s economic infrastructure (=its banks and other organizations which handle and control its money cf. superstructure to use a TV … fronting for a gigantic hard disc full of all kinds of data: to use a TV receiver that functions more like a computer screen acting as a front for a gigantic hard disc full of all kinds of data to front for: to act as a front for… Para.7 basic changes The shows of the future may be the technological great grandchildren of current CD-ROM titles: Future programs may be the technological descendants of today‘s CD-ROM discs. CD-ROM: Compact Discs with Read-Only-Memory titles: discs of movies or TV programs CD-ROMs do provide a glimpse of what the future might 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. hold: to be in store still photographs: static photographs Philips Interactive… clicking on the screen. Other titles: ―Jazz Giants,‖ a musical history, and ―Escape from CyberCity,‖ an animated adventure game: Philips Interactive machine, for example, has many discs, among them a visit to Smithsonian in which the viewer may decide on which part on the museum to visit and turn on the television by clicking on the screen. Other discs: ―Jazz Giants,‖ a musical history, and ―Escape from CyberCity,‖ an exciting experience filled with activity and vigor. Philips Interactive: an interactive machine manufactured by Philips Interactive Media of America Smithsonian: Smithsonian Institution, research and education center, at Washington D.C.: founded in 1846. Today it is a vast complex, housing many museums, art galleries, research institutes, etc. ByberCity: a city controlled by computers etc. Para.8 interactive market Many investors are betting on entertainment as the most lucrative interactive market: Many investors are confident that amusement will be the most profitable market for interactive products. bet: vt.& vi. risk on the future event e.g. I(‗ll) bet (you) ($5) that they will win the next election. He bet me five pence that he would win. It‘s foolish to bet on horses. Bet on the wrong horse: He expected Stevenson to be elected President in 1952 but as it happened, he bet on the wrong horse. I bet = I‘m sure. I bet you can‘t do this puzzle. lucrative: profitable But some industry observers predict the development of two parallel home markets, one catering to leisure activities and the other to business: 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 business two parallel home markets: two house markets running side by side but not crossing each other. cater to: to take account of and provide with what is necessary; try to satisfy e.g. Some magazines cater to boys. She refused to cater to his ridiculous demands. The doting husband catered to his wife‘s every wish. leisure activities: entertainment Hawkins says… an outlet for teleconferencing and potable computing devices: Hawkins says the people who work at home are computer based and provide a market for teleconferencing devices and movable computing devices Hawkins: Diana Hawkins, who is running an interactive TV consulting firm the work-at-home market: those people who stay at home to do their work and have their computers linked with the office terminals. outlet: market teleconferencing devices: equipments used for holding a conference of individuals in different locations, as by speakerphone, closedcircuit TV, etc. portable computing devices: equipments used for calculation which can be easily carried around like the Newton touted by Apple chairman John Sculley that can be carried in a pocket and runs on handwritten commands scribbled on a small screen. like the Newton: such as the device named the Newton tout: to praise greatly, esp. as a form of advertising; recommend highly Apple: an American computer company runs on a handwritten commands scribbled on a small screen: operates on instructions written by hand on a small screen in a casual way Para.9 complete viewer control What is called ―complete viewer control‖? When people have access to thousands of channels delivered through some combination of cable, telephone, satellite and cellular networks, which provide data from computer-based archives and information services, ―complete viewer control‖ is reached. If all this comes to pass—still a very big if—the next step could be what Digital Media‘s Caruso calls ―complete viewer control‖: If all this comes true, which is still uncertain that it will be realized, the next step will possibly be ―complete viewer control‖ as what Digital Media‘s Caruso calls. come to pass: come about or happen still a very big if: so far, it is still not certain that this will be realized could : demoting possibility She says consumers would be a little like information ―cowboys,‖ rounding up data from computer-based archives and information services. She compares consumers to cowboys. The cowboys round up cattle while the consumers round up data. archives: (a place for storing) historical materials, such as old papers, letters, and reports concerning a government, family, organization, etc. kept esp. for historical interest cellular: mobile phone, using a network of radio stations to pass on signals To prevent getting trampled … viewer wants: 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. The authors here continue to follow the metaphor of ―cowboy‖: Hence words like trample, stampede, corral, rope in trample: crush, destroy by or as by treading heavily on stampede: a sudden, headlong running away of a group of frightened animals, esp. horses or cattle; a sudden mad rush or mass movement e.g. There‘s been a stampede to buy gold before the price goes up. corral: an enclosure for holding horses, cattle or other animals; pen: an enclosed area, esp. in North America where cattle etc. are kept rope in: to enclose (animals ) with ropes Para. 10. “final frontier” What is called ―final frontier‖? A complete two-way link of video, audio and data is called ―final frontier‖. According to Red Burns, chair of the interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University, ―Interactive means we are all involved. There is no viewer. Interactive is like a conversation.‖ Caruso‘s ―final frontier‖ is … a complete two-way link of video, audio and data: the last new field of learning beyond which there is no more unexplored field is what she calls video and telephonic transmission, a complete two-way link of video, audio and data. telephony: the science of telephonic transmission two-way: used for both transmission and reception At the very least, it would probably mean the end of anonymous obscene 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. obscene: adj. (esp. of ideas, books, etc. usu. about sex) offensive to accepted ideas of morality; indecent e.g. The police seized a quantity of obscene publications. It‘s obscene (=shocking) that people should still be dying of starving in the 1980s. chair: chairperson; the position of professor e.g. Please address your remarks to the chair. Who will be in the chair at tomorrow‘s meeting? She holds a chair of chemistry in the university. Para. 11 interactivity and convergence ―Interactivity‖ may be the biggest buzzword of the moment, but ―convergence‖ is a 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 second place in frequency. convergence: act or condition of moving towards the same place, result; v. converge; adj. convergent ant. divergence v. diverge adj. divergent e.g. The roads converge just before the station. This is where our opinions diverge (from each other). divergent opinions convergent lines To the moneymen, it means that everything will come together and they‘ll clean up: To the business people, it means that everything will move toward the same place and they will make a lot of profit. clean up: to make much money or profit e.g. We really cleaned up at the races today. He cleaned up a fortune playing cards. to clean sth. up: to clean thoroughly and remove anything unwanted e.g It‘s your turn to clean (the kitchen) up. Clean up this mess at once! To scientists, it means … a critical point where fantasy could now become reality: To scientists, it means that technology has developed to such a stage that what was considered as wide notion can now be realized and become a fact. Nicholas Negroponte, director of MIT‘s Media Lab, a leading think tank in this new world: Nicholas Negroponte, director of MIT‘s Media Lab, one of principal research centers for offering proposals on current issues to official agencies in the new research field of new medium MIT: acronym for Massachusetts Institute of Technology a leading tank: one of the principal research centers for offering proposals on current issues to official agencies think tank: a group or institution organized for intensive research and problem-solving, esp. in the area of technology or political strategy. (Senator) Proximire‘s Golden Fleece awards : William Proxmire, U.S. Senator (1957), opposed wasteful government spending, especially by the military, so he put forward Golden Fleece award: a prize awarded to a government project considered to be the most silly, wasteful and corrupt Now, politicians, from President Clinton [video- 11]on down, are falling over themselves to proclaim support for 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 sth.) If you are falling over yourself to do sth. you‘re very keen to do it. e.g. Producers were falling over themselves to hire girls who had acting experience. Para. 12 possible dreams These dreams are possible because researchers have made vast leaps in both the quality and quantity of data transmittal: These dreams are possible because researchers have made big advances in both the quality and quantity of information transmission data transmittal: the sending out of information transmittal: transmission Today a chip with the capacity of 4 million transistors costs about a tenth of a cent 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. It implies that the chip has a large capacity and it is very cheap, too. Para. 13 electronic highway clogged these electronic highways have become clogged: the wires, cables or air can no longer carry the increased number of signals become clogged: become stopped up; become jammed, blocked clog: become blocked or filled so that movement or activity is very difficult Para.14 digitalization What makes interactivity possible? Digitalization, fiber optic cables and large capacity chips make it possible. Both of these developments are possible because of digitalization: Both of these fiber cable developments are possible because of digitalization. digitalization: the turning of data into a numerical description expressed in digits. digitalize v. putting information into a digital form digit: n. any of the numbers from 0 to 9 e.g. The number 2001 contains 4 digits. Called binary formatting, the system expresses numbers and letters in a code using only 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. binary system: consisting of two things or parts, double The binary system is used in computers because the two numbers 0 and 1 can be represented by an electrical signal that is either off or on. Originally, this code was stored as on-or-off electrical charges: Originally, this signal was kept in a computer memory unit as electrical energy which can be sent out or stopped. pulses of light: light waves Bringing high-speed computers into the loop means that much more complicated information 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. loop: a complete circuit; the complete fibre-optic cable system unimedia: single medium ant. multimedia Bits are bits: Digits are digits All are digits and digits. bit: a single digit in a binary number system Para. 15. experiment of intelligent agents to experiment with the future: to conduct experiments in order to invent devices for future use. artificial intelligence: man-made intelligence to build some working ― intelligent agents‖: to produce some artificial device which can solve problems, direct conduct by reasoning and which can function properly, e.g. electronic device an actor dressed as a butler took the stage: an actor dressed as a chief male servant of a house acting on the stage In one program, Maes has created four ―icons‖ on the computer screen representing agents with specific marching orders: 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. icon : an image, a small sign shown on a computer screen which you point it with a mouse so as to make the computer perform a particular operation Although the agents…they actually learn by watching their masters‘ preferences: Although these artificial intelligent persons are only given coded instructions for the fist time, they come to know a lot by watching what their masters are interested in. Imagine the conversation: ―Have I got a compatible user for you!‖: Try to think what the conversation would be like: ―I have got a user who will suit you fine!‖ compatible: (with) able to exist together, live together or be used together or with (another thing) Their marriage ended because they were simply not compatible. Is your computer compatible with my equipment? Para 16. dark side of interactive life What will be the dark side to the interactivity? There‘ll be no protection for the privacy of consumers whose shopping, viewing and recreational habits are all fed in one cable-phone company data bank. Interactivity may widen the gap between the rich and wired vs. the poor and unplugged. There‘s likely to be considerable debated over the realistic presentation of violence in the new generation of video games, which will include viewer –directed movies. Maes and others concede that there‘s a dark side to all these bright dreams. Maes and others acknowledge that there‘s a bad effect to all these bright dreams. concede: admit as valid: acknowledge a dark side : disadvantage: bad effect Who will protect … cable-phone company data bank? Who will protect one‘s private life or personal affairs such as shopping, viewing and recreational habits that are all put into a data bank of a company through the cable-phone viewing habit: what one likes to watch 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 data bank: a large collection of data in a computer, organized so that it can be expanded, updated and retrieved rapidly for various use And where there are agents, can counteragents be far behind: spies who might like to keep tabs on the activities of your electronic butlers?: In whatever place in which there are agents, spies will be there soon. can counteragents be far behind: a parody. This is an imitation of British poet Shelly‘s ―Ode to the West Wind‖ in which the last line runs ―If winter comes, can spring be far behind?‖ keep tabs on: to keep checks on: follow or watch every move of; watch closely The police have been keeping tabs/ a tab on him. electronic butler: the head servant of a household who is an artificial intelligence device Indeed, intelligent agents could be a gold mine of information: Certainly these electronic devices are a source e of valuable information. Advertisers aren‘t the only ones who could abuse the network if they were able to 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. tap into : to tap; to make use of; to listen secretly or illegally to (a person, telephone conversation, etc.) by making a connection to (the telephone , a telephone wire, etc.) Para. 17 gap between the haves and the have-nots 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. If the tolls for using …the rich and wired vs. the poor and unplugged: If the charge for using the information highway is too high, interactivity may widen the gap between the rich people who have access to the network and the poor people who don‘t have toll: a charge for service or extra service have: a person or nation with relatively much wealth or rich resources have-not: a person or nation with little or no wealth or resources vs: standing for versus: meaning in contrast with the wired: those who have access to the network the unplugged: those who cannot afford to use the information highway levy a fee for services used: impose and collect certain amount of money for using the facilities levy a fee (to , upon): v. to demand and collect officially; e.g. to levy a tax on tobacco 对烟草征税 the new technology may eventually have a democratizing effect: the new technology may in the end have the effect of making society more democratic It‘s a shift from elitism to 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. elitism n. [U] derog. (behavior based on) the belief that there should be elites and that they deserve power, influence, special treatment, etc.; (believe in a) system, leadership, etc. that aims at developing an elite populism: n. type of politics that claims to represent the interests of ordinary people populist: a person who claims to believe in the wisdom and judgment of ordinary people, esp. in political matters. Para. 18 considerable debate In the next few years there‘s likely to be considerable debate over the realistic presentation of violence in the new generation of video games, which will include 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. 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: 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. It’s one thing… (it’s) quite another: this is a useful pattern, denoting contrast e.g It is one thing for a teacher to speak and understand a language, quite another to consciously understand and explain the system of that language. to zap: infml. to attack or destroy; to kill sb. esp. with a gun mutant: n. a living thing which has a quality different from any of its parents‘ qualities and produced by mutation; a living thing that is deformed or disfigured as a result of genetic change Para. 19 advice What is the advice the authors give at the end of the essay? In that case, hang on for the ride.‖ At this point, so much is still speculation: At the present stage, a lot of things are still guesswork. while the big players and major thinkers spin predictions: while the big gamblers and main designers produce statements In that case, the best advice is : hang on for the ride: If that is the situation, the best thing to do is to join in passively waiting for future changes. 3. Structure analysis 1. Paragraphs 1-2: Introduction of interactive life a huge amount of information available to anyone at the touch of a button 2. Paragraphs 3-18: description of interactive life A. difficult to understand because it‘s still a long way B. four phases: fake interactive, true interactive, complete viewer control, and final frontier C. possible dreams because of large capacity chip, fibre optic cables and digitalization D. dark side: no privacy, wide gap, considerable debate 3. Paragraph 19: Suggestion hanging on for the ride 4. Language appreciation The authors describe an interactive life of the future from three aspects. First they introduce many imaginative images about an interactive life to readers; then they go on to describe many possible features of this future life. At last they analyze the dark side of these dreams. As the essay is a scientific writing, it contains many technical terms and long sentences. To make such a complicated technical assumption vivid and interesting, the authors used figures of speech such as metaphor, metonymy and rhetorical question. 5. Summary of words and phrases Words of general use conceive of …as envision potential hype nail down obsolete flip through cater to outlet trample stampede round up buzzword convergence clean up think tank fall over oneself to do compatible concede keep tabs on levy a fee it‘s one thing… quite another… speculation prediction entrepreneur Words related to computer button programme click on data highway menu game fanatic video version video telephony fiber-optic cable transmit transmittal transmission computer screen monitor receiver front for hard disc network CD-ROM titles animated computer based teleconference telecommunications portable computing device two-way link of video, audio and data beam back and forth silicon chip transistor capacity pulse of light loop digitize digitalization digit bit multimedia icon intelligent agent unplug arcade a cartoon mutant tap into 6. Exercises: Paraphrase 1) 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. Or: Edison applied the machine to business while others to a different thing, music—entertainment. 2) 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 idea, there certainly is a lot of exaggerated publicity. 3) For example, you film a video which you think has special artistic pretensions or quality. 4) but even for those who firmly believe in this, it is difficult to work out the details of how it will actually function 5) another electronic library which has a large number of video tapes recording the actual shootings and killings seen in video game 6) just one step ahead of passive watching, just like the type of a person who spends most of his time on a couch watching TV 7) ordering film to be paid for seeing and doing shopping at home with credit cards so frequently that the bills accumulate 8) Future programs may be the technological descendants of today‘s CD-ROM discs. 9) ―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 second place in frequency. 10) 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. 11) The solution is to use fiber optics. 12) Digits are digits.
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