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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Dialogue:______read aloud in pairs

A: Do you think everybody should be trained to use computers?

 

B: That's an interesting question, because in a sense most of us are already using them.

 

A: How do you mean?

 

B: Well, whenever we program our washing machines to work in a certain way, we are using computer circuitry.

 

A: But I'm really talking about desktop PCs.

 

B: That's the technology which is popular at present, but it's difficult to predict what we'll be using in five or ten years' time.

 

A: Would you like to make a guess?

 

B: Well, the 1990s will be remembered for much more powerful computers, CD-

ROM, much better printers and scanners at affordable prices. Yet, computers are still

not very user-friendly even with the latest version of Windows. Moreover, there's the

problem of everybody developing square eyes.

 

A: How do you think things will improve?

 

B: Well, you may have noticed that screens are getting bigger. We will soon

have flat screens - the big screen in your living-room which could cover a whole wall.

 

A: Why would you want anything as big as that?

 

B: Firstly, digital television and video will use this space. There will be no need

for any blackout. You will be able to open windows of any size depending on the

distance you want to be from the screen. Keyboards will be portable and of course

you'll have the option of voice control.

 

A: What does that mean?

 

B: You'll literally be able to talk to the wall, to recite a shopping list, for

example. What you say will appear as text on the wall. Your computer will be able to

search the local supermarkets for the items you have listed, you'll be given

information about quality and price and may even see pictures of what is available.

Then you'll fill in an order form and the items will be delivered to your door the next day.

 

A: Surely, the technology for all this isn't going to be very user-friendly.

 

B: On the contrary. There'll be different levels of user-friendliness for different

users. Shopping by computer needn't be any more difficult than operating a cassette player.