Hello, welcome to 6 Minute English. I’m Rob.
And I’m Neil.
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?
Oh, that’s a good question. I do remember. And well, nothing really changes, does it?Because I looked up pictures of cats!
Cats! Very useful. Anyway, do you think the internet has generally been positive or negative for the world?
Wow, now that is a big question, a huge question.I don’t know if I can answer that.
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 in... a) 1985 b) 1989 or c) 1991 ?
好吧，或许有一个人可以回答这个问题，他就是网络的创造者：英国计算机科学家提姆•博纳斯李。我们马上将会找出他认为自己创造的互联网遭遇了什么。但是在那之前有一个问题要问你。博纳斯李什么时候提出了万维网的概念？是在 a) 1985 b) 1989 还是c) 1991 ？
Tricky, but I think it’s earlier than people think, so I’m going to go for 1985.
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?
Well, it’s hard to imagine living without it. Not impossible, but not nearly as convenient.
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?
Initially I felt the main thing that 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.
So what did he say he thought these internet giants had to do?
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.
But it’s not all good, is it?
No. He does say that giving people access to sources of information is generally a good thingBut that when it comes to social networks, social media, people have anonymity.
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.
Berners-Lee does have some suggestions for how this could be changed. And it’s based on the idea of likes and shares, which he calls kudos. What’s his suggestion?
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 be hugely ameliorated by tweaking the way the thing works, by changing the way retweets so propagated or changing the way people get kudos.Give them more kudos for being constructive for example.
So how does he think companies could address the problem?
Well, he says that some of the social networks have agreed that there is a problem and they know what could improve it.
He didn’t use the word improve though, did he?
No, he actually used the rather formal verb - ameliorate, which means ’to improve or make something better’.
So how does he suggest the problem could be ameliorated?
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.
Mmm, interesting. But I wonder who would decide if something is constructive?
Well, that’s another big question for another day, I guess.
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 infact 1989.Now before we go let’s have a quick recap of today’s vocabulary.
现在，让我们看一下我们小问题的答案。在哪一年博纳斯李提出来万维网的概念。选项有a) 1985, b)1989 还是 c) 1991。答案实际上是1989年。在结束之前让我们快速回顾一下今天的词汇。
Initially, means ’at first - in the beginning’. Then we had neutral.
In this case it meant ’not controlling’ or ’not taking any action to control’.
Then there was the noun - anonymity, which is the state of having a hidden identity or personality.
Next, to ameliorate a situation is to make it better.
To tweak something is to make a small change to the way something works.
"To tweak something"就是稍微改变某事物的运作方式。
And then we had of course kudos. Kudos is praise and appreciation for something you’ve done.
Well, kudos to you Rob for today’s programme. Thank you very much.
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.
Thanks for joining us and goodbye.