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Lesson 8 An Interactive Life


Lesson 8 An Interactive Life from Newsweek Objectives To understand the text To learn the words and phrases about the interactive life To be familiar with the ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Lesson 8 An Interactive Life

Lesson 8 An Interactive Life
  • from Newsweek


Introduction of the text
  • To understand the text
  • To learn the words and phrases about the
    interactive life
  • To be familiar with the interactive life

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

2. Detailed study of the text
  • Whats the meaning of the title?
  • An Interactive Life a life which acts
    reciprocally, mutually, receives and gives in
  • 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 lifethe
    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
  • 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 time.

  • 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
    industrieselectric utilities, phonograph and
    record companies, and the film industrythus
    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

  • 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 voicesnothing 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 dont 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
  • 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, musicentertainment.

memomemorandum (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
  • 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 Edisons invention brought about the

Para.2 definition of the interactive life
a similar memorial tobreakthroughinteractivity
  • 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
  • The Internet is the latest breakthroughinteractiv
    ity 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 breakthroughinteractivity?
  • 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, theres 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 ????
  • to hype v. hyping their latest record with a lot
    of interviews ????????????????

      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 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
  • 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,
    overcominge.g. to negotiate a steep hill/ sharp
    bend in ones 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
  • 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
  • Were 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
  • 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 thene.g. She writes
    futuristic novels about voyages to distant
  • 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. 

Insteadthrough a menu displayed on the TV.
  • If you want to see a film, you dont 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

  • 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 andof Victorias
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
  • Victorias Secret a catalogue published by
    Victorias Secret, a company selling women
  • 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

  • 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

  • a person who spends most of his time on a couch
    watching TV version
  • one persons 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
  • 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
  • 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

  • the system or structures which are necessary for
    the operation of a country or an
    organizationVast sums are needed to maintain the
    infrastructure (water / power/ road system)A
    countrys economic infrastructure (its banks and
    other organizations which handle and control its
    moneycf. 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 todays CD-ROM discs.CD-ROM
  • Compact Discs with Read-Only-Memorytitles 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

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.Its 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 Im sure.I bet you
    cant 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
  • 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 businesstwo 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 satisfye.g. Some magazines
    cater to boys.She refused to cater to his
    ridiculous demands.The doting husband catered to
    his wifes 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

  • 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
  • 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 companyruns 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 passstill a very big ifthe
next step could be what Digital Medias 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 Medias Caruso calls.
  • come to pass come about or happenstill 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
  • archives (a place for storing) historical
    materials, such as old papers, letters, and
    reports concerning a government, family,
    organization, etc. kept esp. for historical

  • 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 movemente.g.
    Theres 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
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.
Carusos 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

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.Its
    obscene (shocking) that people should still be
    dying of starving in the 1980s.

  • chairperson the position of professore.g.
    Please address your remarks to the chair.Who
    will be in the chair at tomorrows meeting?She
    holds a chair of chemistry in the university. 

Para. 11 interactivity and
  •   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.  

  • act or condition of moving towards the same
    place, result v. converge adj. convergent
  • ant. divergence v. diverge adj. divergente.g.
    The roads converge just before the station. This
    is where our opinions diverge (from each
    other).divergent opinionsconvergent lines 

To the moneymen, it means that everything will
come together and theyll 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 unwantede.g Its 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 MITs Media Lab,
a leading think tank in this new world
  • Nicholas Negroponte, director of MITs 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) Proximires 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

Now, politicians, from President Clinton
video-11on 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.
    youre 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
  • 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 signalsbecome clogged
    become stopped up become jammed, blockedclog
    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
  • 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,
    doubleThe 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

  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 agentsthey 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
  • Their marriage ended because they were simply not
  • Is your computer compatible with my equipment?

Para 16. dark side of interactive life
  • What will be the dark side to the interactivity?
  • Therell 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. Theres likely to be
    considerable debated over the realistic
    presentation of violence in the new generation of
    video games, which will include viewer directed

Maes and others concede that theres a dark side
to all these bright dreams.
  • Maes and others acknowledge that theres 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 ones 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 Shellys 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

Indeed, intelligent agents could be a gold mine
of information
  • Certainly these electronic devices are a source
    e of valuable information.

Advertisers arent 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 todays 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 dont 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
  • e.g. to levy a tax on tobacco ?????

the new technology may eventually have a
democratizing effect
  • the new technology may in the end have the effect
    of making society more democratic

  Its a shift from elitism to populism
  • Its 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 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 theres likely to be
    considerable debate over the realistic
    presentation of violence in the new generation of
    video games, which will include viewer-directed
  • 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

Its 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
  • 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.

Its one thing (its) 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

while the big players and major thinkers spin
  • while the big gamblers and main designers produce

  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
  • a huge amount of information available to anyone
    at the touch of a button
  • 2. Paragraphs 3-18 description of interactive
  • A. difficult to understand because its still a
    long way
  • B. four phases fake interactive, true
    interactive, complete viewer control, and final
  • C. possible dreams because of large capacity
    chip, fibre optic cables and digitalization
  • D. dark side no privacy, wide gap, considerable
  • 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

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
  • its 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,

  • 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
  • 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 todays 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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