Exercise 1

A. Listen to a show about driverless car technology. Choose the areas in which the impact of the technology would be mostly positive according to the speakers.


road construction

fuel consumption


car repair


B. Listen again and take notes about the impact of driverless car technology on the areas in part A. Then take turns describing the impact with a partner.



accidents, road construction, fuel consumption, parking, traffic


accidents: would decrease dramatically; businesses that profit from accidents would lose money

road construction: would be cheaper since lighting, guardrails, safety signs, etc. would be unnecessary

fuel consumption: efficient routes and better design would improve gas mileage; drop in sales for gas stations

parking: car sharing would mean fewer cars on the road and more parking spots

repair: the complex technology can’t be repaired by the average mechanic at this point

traffic: fewer cars on the road due to car sharing would result in less traffic congestion


Tim:   Hello, and welcome to Eyes on Tech, a show that brings you the cutting edge of today’s technology. I’m your host, Tim Arnold. Today, I’m taking a ride with our technology editor, Crystal Morton, in a car with . . . no driver!

Crystal:   That’s right, Tim. It’s a little frightening, isn’t it?

Tim:   I have to admit it is, a little.

Crystal:   Well, don’t worry, Tim. Everyone’s nervous at first. You’ll get used to it.

Tim:   But driverless car technology is safe, isn’t it?

Crystal:   Well, it’s actually still in development, so I’m not sure anyone can say it’s perfectly safe because there might be problems the developers haven’t encountered yet. But the cars are equipped with lots of laser scanners, radar, and cameras for safe navigation. Some experts even say that if the whole country switched to driverless cars, the number of traffic accidents would fall dramatically.

Tim:   Wow! That would be great!

Crystal:   Wouldn’t it, though? And another benefit would be the amount of money saved on road construction, as it would no longer be necessary to make roads “human proof ” with lights, guardrails, safety signs, and the like.

Tim:   That would be a plus. It sounds like everyone would benefit from driverless cars.

Crystal:   Well, not everyone. Businesses that profit from auto accidents, for instance, would lose hundreds of billions of dollars. Gas stations would also feel a negative impact with a drop in sales. Driverless cars usually choose more efficient routes than humans, and they get good gas mileage because of the way they’re designed.

Tim:   I can see how that wouldn’t be advantageous for the gas companies, but it would certainly be a benefit for consumers. Now, what about professional drivers? If driverless car technology really caught on, there’d be no more need for taxi drivers, truck drivers, bus drivers . . .

Crystal:   There’s no question that a lot of changes would occur in the economy. The worldwide changes that could happen are difficult to imagine. But they’ll likely take place slowly and steadily over time, so the impact won’t be such a shock.

Tim:   It’s really incredible. Um, how about parking, though? Sometimes parking spaces are nearly impossible to find, especially in the city. Would there be special garages reserved for driverless cars somewhere?

Crystal:   No, and there wouldn’t have to be. Planners envision that driverless cars would often be shared by multiple users. As soon as one dropped you off at your destination, it would then go and pick up another person. This would result in fewer cars on the road, less traffic congestion, and plenty of parking spots!

Tim:   Wow, never having to worry about parking would be great. But I imagine repairs could be quite a headache. I would think that not many people are qualified to repair such complex technology.

Crystal:   That’s very true. Repairs on the navigation systems require skills that the average auto repairman just doesn’t have at this point.

Tim:   Well, I see we’re just about out of time. This has certainly been a smooth ride, hasn’t it, Crystal?

Crystal:   It certainly has. It makes me want to thank the driver . . . but, of course, there isn’t one!

Tim:   Thanks for riding with us! If you’d like to learn more about driverless car technology, visit . . .

Exercise 2

A. Listen to a comedian talk about problems he had with technology. Write the types of technology and the problems he mentions in the chart.

















B. Listen again. What examples does he give of how the problems affected him? Complete the chart.



1   Autocorrect;

      It doesn’t always give the right words.) It overcorrects.

2   Voice recognition;

      It doesn’t recognize what he’s saying.

3   Autofill;

      It doesn’t fill in the right information.


1   It typed “Mr. Coffee” instead of “Mr. Coffel.”

2   It typed “I’d really like to go out for a romantic dinner with Sue” instead of “I’d really like to go out for a romantic dinner with you.”

3   It filled in a group contact instead of just one friend and invited 20 people to dinner.


Comedian:   Oh-ho-ho-ho, the convenience of technology, right? A swipe here, a touch there, and – zing – life is easier! Not so fast . . . Honestly, technology is sometimes just one big inconvenience! Take, for instance, that useful tool, autocorrect. It fixes our grammar and spelling so that we don’t have to spend all that time consulting dictionaries and such. And it helps us write those perfect texts our favorite English teacher would be so proud of. What could be better, right? Wrong! I don’t know about yours, but the thing my autocorrect loves to do is . . . overcorrect! Just the other day, I was writing a cover letter to Mr. Coffel. Not your everyday last name, so I carefully typed C-O-F-F-E-L. What I didn’t notice was that my ever so-helpful autocorrect changed it to “Mr. Coffee!” So my perfect cover letter now started: “Dear Mr. Coffee” . . . Guess who didn’t get an interview for that job . . .

And then there’s voice recognition. I talk, and my phone types. Easy, right? Well, it would be easy if my phone actually recognized what I’m saying! But it doesn’t understand me! Get this . . . I was in the mood to go out last Saturday, so I told my phone, “Find Megan.” No problem, her number came up right away. Then I said, “Hi, there! I’d really like to go out for a romantic dinner with you. Where should we go? Send text.” Zing! My text rocketed through space. And Megan immediately wrote back wanting to go out with me, right? Wrong again! Because what Megan received was this lovely message, “I’d really like to go out for a romantic dinner with Sue. Where should we go?” I don’t even know a woman named Sue, but Megan wouldn’t give me a chance to explain! So, you can guess again . . . Yep, Megan and I did not go out for that dinner.

So, that brings me to another so-called useful tool, autofill. You just type the start of a name, and the computer or smartphone automatically fills in the rest. Convenient, right? Wrong again! I don’t know about your phones, but mine never fills in the right information! Remember my dateless Saturday night? Well, instead of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to invite my friend Drew to dinner. Of course, I decided not to send a text using voice recognition after my problem with Megan. So, I did it the safe way . . . I typed in his name. D–R . . . and the phone filled in the rest. Great! Then I typed, “Hey, let’s go out to dinner. Westside Café. 8:00. I’ll pay!” He texted back immediately, “I’m in! Thanks!” Perfect! So, I headed out, got on the subway. When I got off the subway, I noticed 10 other friends had texted me saying they could come. What? Well, instead of filling in Drew’s number, my phone had filled in “Drama Club,” a group contact I have with all the numbers of my Drama Club friends. All 20 people in the group got the message, and 10 actually showed up! Guess who bought dinner for 10 friends.

Ah, yes, the convenient world of technology – a swipe here, a touch there, auto this, auto that, and this guy has no job interview, no Megan, and no money!

Exercise 3

Listen to an advertisement. Then check (✓) true or false.




1   The LifePhone only checks your e-mail and plays games.

2   The LifePhone won’t confirm your appointments.

3   The LifePhone makes reservations at restaurants.

4   You can use the LifePhone to find a baby-sitter.

5   The LifePhone can’t help you if you’re in an accident.


1 False   2 False   3 True   4 True   5 False


Announcer:   Are you fed up with your old cell phone? Does it only check your e-mail, navigate, organize your appointments, and play games? Introducing the LifePhone, the new personal data assistant that really does run your life! Not only does it act as a cell phone with all the regular features, but it calls ahead to confirm your appointments, makes dinner reservations at your favorite restaurants, and takes messages from callers like a human answering service. It mixes your music like a real DJ, searching through your collection and automatically downloading music that it thinks you would like. It even finds baby-sitters according to criteria that you specify, and interviews them for you! Here’s what people are saying about the LifePhone.

Man:   The LifePhone coordinated my laundry, my appointments, and my tennis class! I couldn’t by happier. The LifePhone has changed my life for the better.

Woman:   My LifePhone saved my life! Once I was involved in an accident, and the LifePhone automatically contacted the hospital and gave them my insurance information before I arrived. When I got there, I was taken care of immediately – I didn’t have to wait!

Announcer:   Don’t wait, get your LifePhone today. Your life may depend on it!

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