A2 Basic UK 10566 Folder Collection
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Rob: Hello welcome to 6 Minute
English. I'm Rob.
Neil: And I' m Neil.
Rob: Now Neil, can you remember the first
time you ever used the World Wide Web
or as we often call it, the internet,
and what you used it for?
Neil: Oh that's a good question. I do
remember. And nothing really changes
does it? Because I looked up pictures of
Rob: Cats! Very useful, anyway do you
think the internet has generally been
positive or negative for the world?
Neil: Wow, that's a big question. A huge
question. I don't know if I can answer that.
Rob: Well one person who perhaps can
answer it, is the man who invented it -
British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee.
We'll find out what he thinks has
become of his 'child' shortly but before
that, a question for you all.
When did Berners-Lee first suggest the
idea for what would become the World
Wide Web? Was it?
a) 1985, b) 1989, c) 1991.
Neil: Tricky but I think it's earlier than
people think so I'm going to go for 1985.
Rob: Well that was a long time ago but
we'll reveal the answer a little later in the
programme. I think it's true to say that the
internet has been one of, if not the most
important technological developments
perhaps of all time. Would you agree Neil?
Neil: Well it's hard to imagine living
without it. Not impossible, but not nearly
as convenient.
Rob: These days we take the internet for
granted. We share our lives on social
media and not just with friends and
family. And that isn't always a positive
thing according to the father of the
internet, Tim Berners-Lee. In a recent
BBC Tech Tent programme he talked
about his concerns with the internet and
particularly the companies that control its
information. Companies which he calls
'internet giants'. What does he say he
thought these companies had to do?
Tim Berners-Lee: Initially I felt the main
thing an internet giant had to do was just
to be neutral, just be a platform and
humanity, once connected by
technology, will do wonderful things. And
clearly it doesn't work like that. If you
connect humanity via Wikipedia then they
do produce, in general, wonderful things.
If you connect people by social network
where they have anonymity, then it can
bring out the very nastiest of people.
Rob: So what did he say he thought these
internet giants had to do?
Neil: He said that he thought initially, that
they just had to be neutral. Initially means
'at first', 'in the beginning' and it also
suggests that later he changed his mind.
Anyway, he said that he thought they just
had to be neutral. Neutral here means
that they didn't need to do anything, they
didn't need to control the internet or
information. He thought it would be a tool
to connect people and ideas and information
and it would be wonderful.
Rob: But it's not all good, is it?
Neil: No. He does say that giving people
access to sources of information is
generally a good thing but that when it
comes to social networks,
social media, people have anonymity.
Rob: Anonymity?
Neil: Yes. It means that on the internet
people can hide their true identity or
personality. Some people write things that
they would never say to someone in
person because they think there
will be no consequences. Berners-Lee
says anonymity can bring out the nastiest
side of people. People saying horrible and
terrible things to each other.
Rob: Berners-Lee does have some
suggestions for how this could be
changed. how this could be changed. And
it's based on the idea of likes and shares,
which he calls kudos. What's his suggestion?
Tim Berners-Lee: The different social
networks and different platforms are
in different situations and in some cases
they have acknowledged there
is an issue. I think they realise that the
issue could perhaps be hugely ameliorated by
tweaking the way the thing works by
changing the way retweets are
propagated or changing the way
people get kudos - give them more kudos
for being constructive for example.
Rob: So how does he think companies
could address the problem?
Neil: Well, he says that some of the social
networks have agreed that there is a
problem and they know what could
improve it.
Rob: He didn't use the word improve
though, did he?
Neil: No he actually used the rather formal
verb ameliorate, which means 'to improve
or make something better'.
Rob: So how does he suggest the
problem could be ameliorated?
Neil: By tweaking the way in which people
give or receive kudos. Tweaking means
'making a small change to the way
something works'. Much of what
happens on the internet is driven by
our desire to get likes and shares – this
is the kudos that Berners-Lee talks about.
He feels that tweaking this could lead to
a better experience. For example, getting
more kudos for constructive or positive actions.
Rob: Mmm, interesting – but I wonder
who would decide if something is
Neil: Well that's another big question for
another day, I guess.
Rob: For now though, let's have the
answer to our small question. In what
year did Berners-Lee present the idea for
what would become the World Wide Web?
The options were a) 1985,
b)1989 or c) 1991. It was in fact 1989.
Now before we go let's have a quick recap
of today's vocabulary.
Neil: Initially – means 'at first - in the
beginning'. Then we had neutral.
Rob: In this case it meant 'not controlling'
or 'not taking any action to control'.
Neil: Then there was the noun anonymity
which is the state of having a hidden
identity or personality.
Rob: Next, to ameliorate a situation is to
make it better.
Neil: To tweak something is to make a
small change to the way something
Rob: And then we had kudos. Kudos is
praise and appreciation for something
you've done.
Neil: Well kudos to you Rob for today's
programme. Thank you very much.
Rob: Well, thank you Neil and thank you
everyone for listening. That's all we have
time for today
but you can, find us on Facebook,
Twitter, Instagram and YouTube and of course
our website bbclearningenglish.com! Bye for now.
Neil: Thanks for joining us and goodbye.
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Learn how to talk about the World Wide Web in 6 minutes

10566 Folder Collection
colinsyuan published on April 27, 2018
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