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  • Hi! Neil from BBC Learning

  • English here.

  • Did you know that we are now offering

  • a new weekly extra episode

  • of 6 Minute English exclusively

  • on our

  • website? So go to

  • bbclearninenglish.com to find your

  • favourite presenters

  • on your favourite programme.

  • The extra episodes are only

  • available on our website:

  • bbclearningenglish.com. See you there!

  • Hello. This is 6 Minute English

  • from BBC Learning English.

  • I'm Neil.

  • And I'm Sam.

  • Are you feeling well, Sam?

  • No headache or sore throat?

  • No, I feel fine thanks, Neil.

  • Why do you ask?

  • Well, I've been reading some

  • inspirational stories about the

  • doctors and nurses fighting Covid.

  • When I was a boy, I always

  • dreamed of becoming a doctor.

  • Ah, I see. Have you ever

  • been in hospital?

  • Yes, I have, and I remember the

  • nurse's bedside manner - you

  • know, the kind and caring way

  • that doctors and nurses treat

  • people who are ill.

  • Nowadays more and more

  • of the jobs that

  • humans do are being carried

  • out by machines. But I doubt

  • that a doctor's bedside manner

  • could easily be replaced

  • by a robot.

  • In this programme, we'll be

  • discussing whether the revolution

  • in artificial intelligence, often

  • shortened to 'AI', could replace

  • human doctors and nurses.

  • We'll be asking: can you imagine

  • a future without doctors?

  • In fact, machines are already

  • doing some of the jobs

  • traditionally done by doctors -

  • scanning people's bodies to

  • detect skin cancer, for example.

  • Yes, that's true, Sam, and it

  • links to my quiz question which

  • is about human skin. It's a

  • well-known fact that skin is the

  • human body's largest organ - but

  • how much skin does the average

  • adult have? Is it:

  • a) 2 square metres?,

  • b) 3 square metres? or,

  • c) 4 square metres?

  • Of course our skin gets loose as we

  • age but I can't believe there's 3

  • square metres of it! I'll say the

  • answer is a) 2 square metres.

  • OK, we'll find out if that's correct

  • later. Every year in the UK over

  • 5 million people are treated for

  • skin cancer. Catch it early and

  • your chances of survival

  • are increased.

  • Usually a skin specialist, or

  • dermatologist, will examine your

  • skin using a handheld microscope.

  • But in 2017, a team of researchers

  • at Stanford Medical School made

  • an exciting announcement.

  • Here's Oxford University researcher

  • Daniel Susskind, telling BBC World

  • Service programme, The Big Idea,

  • what the medics at Stanford

  • had invented:

  • A team of researchers at Stamford

  • last year announced the development

  • of a system that, if you give it a

  • photo of a freckle it can tell you as

  • accurately as twenty-one leading

  • dermatologists whether or not

  • that freckle is cancerous.

  • The Stanford medical team had

  • invented an AI system to analyse

  • freckles - small brown spots found

  • on people s skin, especially

  • on pale skin.

  • As it turned out the AI programme

  • was better than human doctors at

  • telling whether a freckle was

  • harmless or cancerous - connected

  • to some type of cancer.

  • So, it seems that artificial intelligence

  • is already replacing humans when

  • it comes to detecting cancer -

  • and doing a better job of it.

  • But Daniel Susskind isn't convinced.

  • One reason is that AI systems still

  • need humans to programme them -

  • and as it turns out, knowing

  • exactly how doctors detect

  • illness remains something

  • of a mystery.

  • Here's Daniel Susskind again in

  • conversation with BBC World

  • Service programme, The Big Idea:

  • If you ask a doctor how it is they

  • make a diagnosis, they might be

  • able to point you to particularly

  • revealing parts of a reference book

  • or give you a few rules of thumb,

  • but ultimately they'd struggle

  • they'd say again it requires things

  • like creativity and judgment, and these

  • things are very difficult to articulate -

  • and so traditionally it's been thought

  • very hard to automate - if a human

  • being can't explain how they do

  • these special things, where on

  • earth do we begin in writing

  • instructions for a machine to follow?

  • Most doctors find it difficult to

  • explain how they make a diagnosis -

  • their judgement about what

  • someone's particular sickness is,

  • made by examining them.

  • Diagnosing someone's illness is

  • complicated but there are

  • some rules of thumb. A rule of

  • thumb is a practical but

  • approximate way of doing something.

  • For example, when cooking, a good

  • rule of thumb is two portions of

  • water to one portion of rice.

  • Exactly. And because identifying

  • sickness is so difficult, Daniel

  • says 'where on earth do we begin

  • writing instructions for a machine?'

  • We use phrases like where,

  • how or what on earth to

  • show feelings like anger,

  • surprise or disbelief.

  • I might show surprise by asking

  • Sam, how on earth did you

  • know the answer to that?

  • Ha ha! I guess you're talking

  • about your quiz question, Neil?

  • And you needn't be so

  • surprised - I'm naturally brainy!

  • Of course you are. In my quiz

  • question I asked Sam how

  • much skin there is on

  • an adult human body.

  • And I said it was

  • a) 2 square metres.

  • Which was the correct answer!

  • With your brains I think you'd

  • make a good doctor, Sam, and I'm

  • sure you'd have a good

  • bedside manner too.

  • You mean, the kind and caring

  • way that doctors and nurses

  • treat their patients. OK, let's

  • recap the rest of the vocabulary,

  • starting with freckle - a small brown

  • spot on someone's skin.

  • Freckles are usually harmless, but

  • some skin spots can be cancerous -

  • connected to cancer.

  • A doctor's diagnosis is their

  • judgement about what someone's

  • particular sickness or disease is.

  • A rule of thumb is a useful but

  • approximate way of doing or

  • measuring something.

  • And finally, we use phrases like

  • where on earth..? as a way to

  • show emotions like anger,

  • surprise or disbelief.

  • That's all for this programme

  • but join us for the next edition of

  • 6 Minute English when we'll

  • discuss another trending topic

  • and the related vocabulary.

  • Why on earth would you

  • miss it? Goodbye for now!

  • Goodbye!

Hi! Neil from BBC Learning

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B1 skin programme thumb square daniel bedside

A future without doctors? - 6 Minute English

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/08/19
Video vocabulary