108 by zhangyun


									 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
 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
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
 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
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
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

  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.
  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—
memo=memorandum (formal):

 a note from one person or office to another within
 the same firm or organization; a note of sth. to be
 e.g. I made a memo on my memo pad to buy more
 Beethoven: metonymy, referring to the music by
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—

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
      …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
esoteric scientific journals:
 magazines on science written in such a way as to
 be understood only by a few who know the subject
 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

  For example, you film a video which you
  think has special artistic pretensions or
 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
  the era of the no-brainer: the period of no
  need to bother about the selection of
                  Para.3 a hard time

Sounds great in theory… how it will actually
  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

   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

 This is no longer a question on specifics. It
 inquires/makes a search, investigate into the
 usefulness and ultimate purpose of such an
                 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
            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.

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.

(of art or lit.) showing or describing things as they really are.;
   e.g. a realistic drawing of a horse

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;

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

gear: (often in comb) clothing or an article of
  clothing esp. for a particular purpose; football gear;
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

  a small sheet of printed news sent regularly to a
  particular group of people the company newsletter
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.

 a person who spends most of his time on a
 couch watching TV

  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.
 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
 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.
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
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
bet: vt.& vi. risk on the future event

  e.g. I(‗ll) bet (you) ($5) that they will win the next
  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

  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

 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

  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
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

 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

  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;
  e.g. The police seized a quantity of obscene
  It‘s obscene (=shocking) that people should still
  be dying of starving in the 1980s.

  chairperson; the position of professor
  e.g. Please address your remarks to the chair.
  Who will be in the chair at tomorrow‘s
  She holds a chair of chemistry in the
        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

  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
  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

  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
  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

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

  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,
  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

   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

  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
  electronic butler: the head servant of a
  household who is an artificial intelligence
Indeed, intelligent agents could be a gold mine of

   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.

  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
  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
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
  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
while the big players and major thinkers spin

  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
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
 nail down
 flip through
 cater to
round up
clean up
think tank
fall over oneself to do
keep tabs on
levy a fee
it‘s one thing… quite another…
Words related to computer
 click on
 data highway
 game fanatic
 video version video telephony
 fiber-optic cable
 transmit transmittal transmission
computer screen monitor receiver
front for
hard disc
CD-ROM titles
computer based
teleconference telecommunications
portable computing device
two-way link of video, audio and data
beam back and forth
silicon chip
pulse of light
digitize digitalization digit
intelligent agent
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
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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