This episode's vocabulary
- Tumble dryer (noun) - a machine that dries wet clothes by turning them in hot air.
- Incubator (noun) - a device for keeping birds' eggs at the correct temperature to allow young birds to develop until they break out of the shell.
- Intangible (adj.) - impossible to touch, to describe exactly, or to give an exact value.
- To replicate (verb) - to make or do something again in exactly the same way.
- Sapient (adj.) - intelligent; able to think.
- Coronal mass ejection (noun) - a cloud of particles ejected from the sun's surface during a solar flare.
- Innovation (noun) - (the use of) a new idea or method.
- Plumbing (noun) - the water pipes and similar systems in a building.
Questions and Answers
M: Let's talk about household appliances. What household appliances make people lazy?
R: Well, I'm not sure any of them do, really. I mean, if anything, they've made people more productive. If you don't have to spend forever preserving food or washing clothes by hand or doing the dishes in the same manner, then you're free to do other things. And for most people, that involves some other sort of work. It's not like people just stopped working when something came along to replace a particular job, they moved on to something else.
M: What's the most helpful innovation at home?
R: Well, I, I'm torn between refrigerators and the washing machine tumble dryer combinations, to be honest, it would be hard to get by without a place to keep foods from going off for a long period, which is what a refrigerator does. But it's also nice not to have to spend ages washing your clothes by hand or waiting for them to dry. If I had to choose one of those two, I think the washing machine. I could live off dry foods and be okay for the most part, but I certainly wouldn't enjoy it.
M: What electrical appliances do people in your country have at home?
R: Oh, I'm not an expert, but probably all of the modern conveniences like, like washing machines, and like microwaves, for example.
M: What kind of invention can be used at school?
R: Just about any kind you care to name to be honest, I imagine the most common ones for students would be calculators, computers and tablets to access and store information. But the last school I was at had a fridge and an oven. We even had an incubator for live chicken eggs.
M: And how can technology be used in the classroom?
R: Well, just in the same way that pen and paper can be used. It's all about accessing and storing information. So maybe it makes it more efficient, for example, or more easily personalizable. If we can use such a word.
M: And do you think in general, modern technology makes people lazier or no?
R: No, I just go back to my previous comment. I think it frees people up to do other things. It's not made any one lazier, definitely.
M: Do you think artificial intelligence will replace human teachers?
R: Probably not for a variety of reasons. I mean, firstly, there's something intangible about being human that despite all of our flaws, the only thing we can really have a connection with. And label as real as a person. The connection teachers, our students enables learning. And I'm not really sure an AI can replicate that. Moreover, assuming an AI is sapient, there's no reason to think that they would have an interest in teaching, since that's primarily a human concern you could order them to but who's to say they would even care what you ordered them to do or not?
M: Do you think there'll be any negative effects resulting from future technology?
R: Probably. There are negative effects from everything that anyone does? Probably increasing social isolation, perhaps. And an increasing dependency on technology means that people might be more vulnerable to shocks to the system like a coronal mass ejection from the sun, which causes an EMP (electromagnetic pulse).
M: Do you think it's good that new inventions are appearing so often?
R: Well, first of all, I'm not sure they are. But let's say they are. And yes, it's good, because it means that the spirit of innovation is alive and well. It would be worse if they weren't because it would mean that people were running out of ideas, and I really hope we're not because there's still lots of problems that have to be solved.
M: Tell me about the most important inventions in the last 100 years.
R: Well, what would you like me to tell you about them what they are? I suppose the big ones are the development of any digital technology like the internet or anything that could be portable. Mobile phones are a good invention because you can take them anywhere and it enables communication at a fast rate, and then you have plumbing, like indoor plumbing, mass indoor plumbing has probably saved millions of lives.
M: Thank you, are you for your inventive answers!
R: So, dear listener, first couple of questions could be about household appliances. So household appliances, they are different like machines like washing machines. What else? Dishwashers, kettles. Rory help me. What else?
R: Microwaves. Did you say microwaves?
M: Microwaves, yes, microwaves. So you see, so they are called household appliances. We don't have a synonym to this, you can call them modern conveniences that Roy mentioned. So, like most people in my country have pretty much all modern conveniences. So appliances, yeah, household appliances. And do they make us lazy? Well, they make people more productive. Right? Because if you want to cook rice, you have a rice maker. If you want to bake bread, a bread maker, if you want to make coffee, your turn, Rory, what do we have?
M: Coffee maker. Coffee maker! You can say like we don't spend forever preserving food. Because we preserve food in our freezers, in our fridges. So we don't wash clothes by hand. We use washing machines. We do the dishes. No, we don't do the dishes. The dishwasher does the dishes. Yeah, and I think there was an advertisement where they go like, you are a woman, you are not a dishwasher. So buy our dishwashers, or something like this, you are a person.
R: Hurray for empowerment, but also mass consumerism.
M: Yeah, mass consumerism, yeah. Do you have a dishwasher?
R: We had one. And it was the most expensive ornament in the house because mom and dad would just never get over just washing things in the sink. Like, how they usually did it. So we gave it to someone else who needed it more.
M: Oh, really? Oh, wow, okay. Interesting. So you see, you can say that different appliances, replace a particular job that we used to do ourselves, then the most helpful innovation at home. So innovation, again, you can talk about appliances. We say electric appliances, for example, refrigerators, washing machines. You said washing machine, tumble dryer, tumble dryer.
R: I don't know what they're called. I think they have a name, but I can't remember what it is. But it is a combination of a washing machine and a tumble dryer together. And my friend had one and it was just magical.
M: Nice. Yeah. People with many children. They usually have one or they don't have one, because it kind of you don't need to hang clothes everywhere, every day. Yeah. And then again, the strategy. If I had to choose one, I think the washing machine is the most useful. Because again, the examiner asks you what's the most useful. So just name one. If I had to choose it would be the washing machine. Then innovations and technology at school in the classroom. So what inventions what technology do we have? It's tech. Technology. Rory, you talked about calculators, tablets, computers, you didn't talk about 3d printers and drones and virtual reality glasses. You don't have them in Scotland.
R: In classroom? Maybe if you're a millioner.
M: In classes. Yeah, virtual reality glasses.
R: I don't know what Scottish classrooms you've been in. But we don't have those things. Or at least I haven't seen them. Maybe if it's an ultra elite private school, but we don't really have those either.
M: Interactive whiteboards are not in fashion anymore?
R: No, whiteboards are in the classroom, or they're in every single classroom, but I mentioned big ones.
M: Oh, okay, so interactive whiteboards. You see, dear listener, it's just like they are out of fashion, it's just okay, they're there. But it's just like nothing special, you know?
R: Well, yeah. But I mean, think about where people are coming from to take IELTS. I imagine most of them haven't got interactive whiteboards in their classroom. Do you?
M: No, well, actually, I used to work at school, at Gazprom educational center. And yes, yeah, we did have I think two boards. And at the time, they were kind of they were really new. And they were like, everybody, oh, my God, it's an interactive board. What do I do with it? So at those times, a long time ago, they were really innovative and super modern, but not anymore. I don't think in Russia now we have interactive whiteboards everywhere, even at universities. I don't think so.
R: I don't think you need them.
M: At some universities we still have chalkboards. Seriously, at some universities in Russia, they have chalk boards. Chalk.
R: That's fine. That's not a problem.
M: Ah, not a problem? Okay. Well, it's a problem for my hands, Rory, because they stop being so soft. I used to work at a school with this chalkboard and my hands were like all white, and they were not soft.
R: Buy moisturizer for your hands.
M: Yeah. Thank you. We'll do. But I don't use chalk anymore. We have this podcast. So please, dear listener, keep buying our premium.
R: I don't want to go back to the chalkboards.
M: So I don't use chalk. Yes. Chalkboard. So this technology helps us to be more efficient, you say, at school. Also artificial intelligence, will it replace human teachers? No.
R: No. But then we're biased. We have to say that.
M: Yeah, we have to say that. Because we are teachers. Never.
R: Yes. Don't. Never. Don't trust don't trust the machine.
M: Yeah, yeah, watch the Terminator. You know what can happen.
R: Yes, the second that you stop investing in Success with IELTS the machine apocalypse will happen.
M: And you can say that it's something intangible.
R: Intangible means that you can't touch it. So you can't touch it or see it. It's just there's something magical about human interaction that machines I don't think will ever be able to replicate or to copy. Which is good, because it's going to keep me in a job.
M: Yeah, so something tangible that you can touch, like money, like a new car, like nice shoes from Manolo Blahnik and something intangible is you can't touch it.
R: Can't touch this. Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na. Okay, let's pretend I didn't do that.
M: What could happen with all this technology, increasing social isolation, because people are overly dependent on computers, which could increase social isolation, and also increase dependency on technology.
M: After which Rory started saying some spiritual words. Yeah. Alright. It's like.
R: Listen, a brief lesson in astronomy. I apologize to any astronomers who are listening because I'm going to grossly oversimplify this. Basically, the sun is not solid. I'm sure everybody knew that. And it's not stable.
M: Not solid?
R: Yeah, it's not solid. It's a bowl of burning gas, basically.
M: Oh, okay.
R: Well, again, it's not really. It's a ball of plasma. But like, let's just, let's make this simple. So what happens is because it's a burning ball of gas, it's not stable. And sometimes bits of the sun get blown out into space. And when that happens, sometimes it hits the air. And when it interacts with the atmosphere, and with the Earth's magnetic field, it creates what's called an electromagnetic pulse, and that can disable electronic equipment. So if you're overly reliant on technology, that would be a problem because if it doesn't work, then your life would just fall to pieces. I'm pretty sure it caused a blackout in the 80s or the 90s. I can't remember which one but there was a blunder that was caused by this.
M: Intresting. So you know, like you're sitting there at home, listening to Success with IELTS podcast, and then bam. Technology goes to you know, no, no electricity, sorry. Just like nothing works. Wow, blackout.
R: You might never hear our voices again.
M: Okay, well, as long as you have this battery on your phone, and then the battery dies and that's it. There's no electricity.
R: Actually, electromagnetic pulse might take out your batteries as well to be honest with you.
R: Anyway it's all about having power. It's about electronics. But still the point is that is why being overly dependent on technology is a bad thing. Because sometimes technology is vulnerable to certain conditions. I can't believe you've never heard of this like the same thing happens when you blow up nuclear weapons in the atmosphere.
R: Yeah, there was a study published by The United States Department of Defense and they basically found that if you blew up one nuclear weapon high above the United States, like the continental United States, it would take out a great deal of the electronics because they weren't shielded from this kind of attack.
M: Oh, interesting. Wow. Right. Thank you. Yeah, that's, that's, you know, we should, we should wrap it up. Thank you very much, dear listener! Hugs and kisses! Use technology! Don't be dependent on this! Bye!
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