418. The Rick Thompson Report: Technology and The Future (January 2017)

Talking to my Dad about developments in technology in the future.

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Introduction Transcript

Hello and welcome back to the podcast. Thank you very much for choosing to listen to this episode. How are you? Are you doing alright? Are you ready to listen to some English? You are? Good! (I’m assuming that you all said yes to that) OK, well let’s go then shall we?

It’s the new year period and it’s normal at this time to look forward to the year ahead and to think about the future in general, so in this episode I’m talking to my Dad about technological developments that we can expect to see and read about in the coming months and years and the implications of those developments.

Of course neither of us are experts in this field (my Dad is a broadcast journalist and I’m an English teacher) but we both like to keep fairly up-to-date on technological issues, and since CES happened earlier this month in Las Vegas (that’s the Consumer Electronics Show where all the latest tech products are presented) there’s been quite a lot of coverage in the media about new technology. My Dad has been reading about it, I’ve been reading about it, and maybe you’ve been reading about it so let’s talk about it.

And that’s what we’re going to do and that’s what you’ll hear in this episode – two blokes, talking about technology, including some bits about driverless cars, green energy, drones, virtual reality headsets, augmented reality, and superintelligent computers that talk to you in that slightly threatening and disturbing sounding voice. “Good morning Mr Thompson”, “Did you sleep well?” “I have noticed that you are late with your banking payments Mr Thompson.” “It’s the 3rd time this year.” “I’m afraid I am going to have to turn off your oxygen supply unless you pay the outstanding credit on your account Mr Thompson”.

As I said, we’re not experts but I am sure that I have many tech-minded listeners who know a thing or two about this subject, so if you have anything to add to this conversation then I invite you to write your comments and predictions in the comment section on my website.

From a language point of view, you’re going to hear a lot of terms relating to technology of course, but also the natural conversational English that you’ve come to expect from episodes of this podcast.

If you’re interested in transcribing this episode as part of the Orion Transcription Team, go to my website and click transcripts – the details are all there. The team is growing all the time and it’s a good way to get some intensive language practise while helping to add value to my website by working together with other podcast listeners.

OK, so without any further ado, here’s a conversation with my Dad about technology and the future.


Moore’s Law
(n.) Moore’s Law is a computing term which originated in around 1970 based on an observation made in 1965 by Gordon Moore (not Ian Moore), co-founder of Intel. The simplified version of this law states that processor speeds in computers, or overall processing power for computers will double every two years.
So, it starts as 2 and becomes 4, then 8, then 16 – doubling every two years, resulting in massive levels of development at an ever-increasing rate.

Basically: computers are getting more and more advanced all the time and eventually they’ll take over the world and make us their slaves like in The Terminator or The Matrix, maybe.

What is Moore’s Law? Webopedia Definition

How driverless cars could solve our traffic problems

Dad’s footballing predictions (wishful thinking I think!)

Leicester City will win FA Cup
Liverpool will win the Premiership


Outtro Script

What do you think? I am sure many of you have interesting things to add to this conversation. There’s bound to be a lot of things that we missed, including things like chatbots, Uberisation and plenty of other things. Get into the comment section to share your thoughts.

Did you understand everything we said in this episode? There’s a lot to be gained from that conversation in terms of vocabulary. Taking part in the transcript collaboration is a way for you to focus on that, but also perhaps I should do another episode just focusing on the language you heard in this one. Just let me know.

Don’t forget to do these things:
Join the mailing list on my website.
Like the Facebook page for LEP and follow me on Twitter. @englishpodcast

If you’re a ninja listener, hiding in the shadows, I invite you to come forward and leave a comment on my website saying who you are and how you found the podcast.

Thanks very much to those of you who have written recently. It’s good to hear from you and to know exactly who is out there downloading my episodes.

Take care and have a good day, etc!


  • Benjamin

    Hi Luke,
    Would you consider making a podcast on aspects of protection of the environment?

  • Benjamin

    Dear Luke,

    Thank you for the opportunity to listen to your podcasts. I find them to be
    thought-provoking, entertaining and always topical – just like this
    episode were you and your dad discuss new trends. Thank you for this.

    I have had a couple of thoughts that I would like to share with everyone here who is interested on the subject of amazon, the e-commerce giant, as you and your dad briefly talk about it and as you are also talking about electric vehicles and the potential of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

    Since I am an environmentally-conscious person, allow me to use your comment
    section to give a few tips on environmentally friendlier online shopping.

    I once learned that online shopping is very bad for the environment as it causes a lot of energy consumption (think of all the computers and servers but also the transport involved). So I did some research in order to make a corroborative statement here.

    What I found is that online shoppers who want to take the protection of the
    environment into account should to be aware of the following points:

    1. Avoid express or next day deliveries, as these usually involve faster transport methods, which naturally produce more emissions, e.g. air freight or transport methods that combine fewer shipments per delivery.

    2. Say you want to buy a single item, buy it online if instead you would be
    taking a car to do the shopping in town. Research in Germany* suggests that a six-kilometre car drive to a shop produces considerably more emissions than having a parcel delivered to you does. But note the following points too:

    3. Only shop online if you are certain that you want to keep the product. Because
    returning the product to the online shop will affect the emission balance negatively for online shopping – as not only will you need to drive to the post office to hand it back but also will there be subsequent processes taking place such as newly packaging the item which also consume energy and thereby cause emissions.

    This point is especially relevant for shopping clothes and shoes online, as
    researchers find these kinds of purchase are returned by a fifty percent chance.

    4. Have your online shopping delivered only once. Say if the postman attempts to deliver it to you when you are not at home, and none of your neighbours accept it for you, then you are causing additional emissions, i.e. for the van drive back to the post station, your car drive to collect it from there, or an additional van drive for a further delivery attempt by the postman. One solution to get around this is to have the shopping delivered to where you are likely to be at the time of delivery, e.g. in the office – if you are allowed to receive shipments there.

    5. If you take the bicycle or if you walk to do your shopping in actual shops, then your carbon footprint is even smaller than buying online. Because in this case only the emissions caused in producing, storing and disposing of the items you buy fall into the equation.

    Tip: Panniers are a great bicycle accessory. They are portable bags that can be easily attached to, and detached from the rear rack of the bicycle, they are voluminous enough to fit an entire weekend shopping and they are available in waterproof materials.

    Thank you for listening.

    * The source of my research is the Öko-Institut e.V., one of Europe’s leading independent research and consultancy organisations founded in 1977.


  • Orion team

    Hi people. there you have the 418 episode finished so you can read it and help us to improve it through your suggestions.

    418. The Rick Thompson Report: Technology and The Future (January 2017)


    To help Luke you can do it also proofreading a little bit of each episode and suggesting the modifications you will find out.

    Thanks very much to people who have worked with us in this episode and to all of you, YES, YOU! the people who are going to continue improving our work. :)