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Rob: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute
English. I'm Rob.
Dan: And I'm Dan.
Rob: Hey Dan. What's the time?
Dan: Time you got a new watch?
Rob: Now I didn't ask you that just for a
joke or a sarcastic comment now did I?
Dan: Well no, but look there's a clock over
there, and you are wearing a watch, you
have a smartphone and a computer,
all of which show the time.
So why are you asking me?
Rob: Dan! I was trying to introduce today's
topic which is all about virtual assistants
or bots.
You seemed to have forgotten the script.
Dan: Oh yes, sorry. We're talking about
software that you talk to and that can talk
back to you. Like Apple's Siri, Google's
Assistant, Amazon's Alexa and
Microsoft's Cortana.
It might be on your phone or computer or
even a speaker in your house.
Rob: Now before we hear more about this
topic, here is today's quiz question:
Do you know when was the first computer
which could recognise speech, launched?
Was it in a) 1951 b) 1961, or c) 1971.
Dan: I have found my script, so I've seen
the answer but I have to say I was
surprised.
Rob: Don't tell anybody Dan, OK. We'll give
the answer for the listeners at the end of
the programme. We're going to hear now
from Tom Hewitson, who is a
conversation designer, working in the field
of virtual assistants, talking on BBC Radio
4's Word of Mouth programme.
He talks about the whole idea of virtual
assistants and how they are changing the
way we interact with technology.
How does he describe our existing
relationship with computers?
Tom Hewitson: It changes the way that
we think about computers.
To date we've thought of them largely as
tools. They're just an advanced version
of a calculator. They're something you
kind of use to get a specific thing done,
whereas this is kind of changing them
more into like an agent. They're an active
participant in the kind of interaction and in
guiding you to make the right decision.
Rob: How did he describe our existing
relationship with computers then?
Dan: He said that to date, which is an
expression which means 'up until this
point in time', we have thought of them
as advanced calculators.
Rob: Yes, that's right, we use them as a
tool to get things done. But he says that
modern technology is turning them into
an agent.
This doesn't mean a secret agent, like
James Bond! In this sense an agent is
something that has agency and that
means it has the ability to act individually
and make its own decisions.
Dan: I'm not sure I'd like my phone to have
agency. It probably wouldn't like being
in my pocket all day.
Rob: Who would Dan? But I'm not sure
Hewitson is suggesting our devices would
become that clever but he did say they
could become more active in our lives.
Dan: Maybe. I imagine, for example,
telling us if we are spending too much
time in fast food restaurants?
Rob: Maybe in your case Dan. Mine would
be telling me I spend too much time in the gym!
Hewitson goes on to explain how
the way we will talk to our virtual
assistants will develop.
What does he say we don't need to do?
Tom Hewitson: We will develop our own
kind of vernacular for speaking with
machines that will be subtly
different from how we speak to other
people because as you rightly point out
you don't need to make the machine like
you don't need to kind of make random
chit-chat that's just filling the time. It can
be much more brusque and to the point.
Dan: A lot of what we say in human
communication is to do with our
relationship with the person we're talking to.
Rob: We say things and talk about things
that are maybe not directly relevant to our
point. With a digital virtual assistant, we
don't need to do that, so we don't need to
make the machine like us.
Dan: Hewitson said that we will develop
our own vernacular, this is a general word
for a native language. This vernacular will
be a little bit different from our everyday
vernacular because, as we said, we don't
need to maintain a social relationship
with the artificial assistant.
Rob: This means that we won't need
chit-chat. Chit-chat is another expression
for small talk: conversation topics which
aren't important but are part of everyday
social communication, like talking about
the weather.
Dan: And because we don't need to be
friends with our virtual assistants, we can
be brusque and to the point. Both of these
mean being very direct and not very
polite.
Rob: Well Dan, I don't mean to be brusque but
it is time for the answer to this week's
quiz question. Earlier I asked when was
the first computer which could recognise
speech, launched. The options were:
a) 1951, b) 1961, or c) 1971.
Well actually the first computer which
could recognise speech was launched in 1961.
Dan: Yep! It was called the IBM Shoebox and
could recognise 16 words and the
numbers zero to nine. That's nearly as
many as you!
Rob: Cheeky! Right enough of this
chat-chat. Let's recap today's vocabulary.
Dan: Well chit-chat was one of today's
expressions. Meaning 'small talk', but we
also had the expression to date. That
means 'up until this moment in time'.
Rob: Then we had the noun agent. This
refers to something that has agency. And
that is the ability to think, make decisions
and act independently.
Dan: The next word is vernacular, another
word for language, particularly when
talking about a native language.
Rob: And finally there was brusque
meaning 'direct and not polite' and to the
point, which also means 'direct and without
unnecessary information'.
Dan: Hey Rob
Rob: Yes, what can I do for you Dan?
Dan: End the programme.
Rob: Certainly Dan. Well that's all from us
today, be sure to check us out on all the
usual places: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
and YouTube, and of course please don't
forget our website
bbclearningenglish.co m. Bye for now!
Dan: Bye!
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【BBC 英語】6 分鐘學會談論虛擬助理 (Learn to talk about virtual assistants in 6 minutes)

8151 分類 收藏
Samuel 發佈於 2018 年 7 月 27 日    Vera 翻譯    Evangeline 審核
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