The world is becoming increasingly automated with robots. How much of global business can automate through new technologies? There are feelings that society could be changed by robotics through lack of employment and geographic displacement. That said, robotics is creating a new relationship with people. Should we befriend machines like other people? Are they helpers or will they become our future oppressors?
- Language level: B1+
- Aim: Issues surrounding automation and machines
- Learner type: Young learners; Teens; Adults
- Time: 45 – 60 minutes
- Activities included: Discussing quotes, conversation questions, presentation, image discussion
- Topic: job losses and a change in work life balance
- Language: Any
- Materials: Text and images
Android – a machine which looks like a human being
Turing test – a simple test to see if a machine is intelligently having a conversation with someone. Developed by Alan Turing.
Artificial intelligence (AI) – computers which seem to have human-level intelligence.
Machine learning – similar to AI, but when is able to learn from past performance.
Susceptible to – likely to be affected by.
White collar jobs – professional jobs like doctor, teacher, nurse, accountant.
Cognitive labour – using your mind to complete a task.
Robots printable worksheet
Download the PDF talking points page: Robots PDF
Download the PDF images for class: Robots Images PDF
Did you know?
Infographic on robots from Visual.ly
“The human condition is not perfect. We are not perfect specimens, any of us. We’re not robots”.
– Michael Ovitz
“In the future, I’m sure there will be a lot more robots in every aspect of life. If you told people in 1985 that in 25 years they would have computers in their kitchen, it would have made no sense to them”.
– Rodney Brooks
• Robots are already an integral part of manufacturing in factories. Do you believe one day that there will be little need for humans in manufacturing? How are robots better than the human workforce?
• If you could have a robot, what tasks would you use it for?
• Police and the military use robots to sweep for landmines and bombs. What are the advantages of these practices? Do you see any other uses for robots in combat and police work?
• Do you think that one-day robots will replace teachers?
• What threat do machines present to mankind?
• Do you believe machines will ever outsmart people and take over the planet?
• Robotic surgery is a method to perform surgery using very small tools attached to a robotic arm and a surgeon controls the robotic arm with a computer. How beneficial do you think this is now and for the future of medicine?
• Do you believe it’s just a matter of time before fast-food workers are replaced by machines?
• What do you think would happen to the world’s economy if robots began replacing people in the workforce?
• Did you ever have a favourite Sci-Fi films hero who was a robot?
• Would you ever trust a robot to watch your children or walk your dog?
Work in pairs or groups. Discuss the benefits and disadvantages of machines and automation. Share information with the class.