Scientists are racing to build the world's first thinking robot. This is not science fiction: some say they will have made it by the year 2020. Carol Packer reports.
Machines that walk, speak and feel are no longer science fiction. Kismet is the name of an android （机器人） which scientists "have built at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology （MIT）. Kismet is different from the traditional robot because it can show human emotions. Its eyes, ears and lips move to show when it feels happy, sad or bored. Kismet is one of the first of a new generation of androids —— robots that look like human beings —— which can imitate human feelings. Cog, another android invented by the MIT, imitates the action of a mother. However, scientists admit that so far Cog has the mental ability of a two-year-old.
The optimists （乐观主义者） say that by the year 2020 we will have created humanoids （机器人） with brains similar to those of an adult human being. These robots will be designed to look like people to make them more attractive and easier to sell to the public. What kind of jobs will they do? In the future, robots like Robonaut, a humanoid invented by NASA, will be doing dangerous jobs, like repairing space stations. They will also be doing more and more of the household work for us. In Japan, scientists are designing androids that will entertain us by dancing and playing the piano.
Some people worry about what the future holds: will robots become monsters （怪物）? Will people themselves become increasingly like robots? Experts predict that more and more people will be wearing micro-computers, connected to the Internet, in the future. People will have micro-chips in various parts of their body, which will connect them to a wide variety of gadgets （小装置）. Perhaps we should not exaggerate （夸大） the importance of technology, but one wonders whether, in years to come, we will still be falling in love, and whether we will still feel pain. Who knows?
1 Kismet is different from traditional robots because
A it thinks for itself.
B it is not like science fiction.
C it can look after two-year-olds.
D it seems to have human feelings.
2 What makes Cog special?
A It looks like a mother.
B It behaves like a child.
C It can imitate the behavior of a mother
D It has a huge brain.
3 In about 15 years'time from now, robots
A will become space designers.
B will look like monsters.
C will behave like animals.
D will think like humans.
4 In the future robots will also
A explore space.
B entertain people.
C move much faster.
D do all of the housework
5 What is the writer's attitude to robots in the future?
Credit Card Only Works When Spoken To
A credit card that will not work unless it hears its owner's voice could become an important weapon in the fight against fraud （欺骗）.
The card requires users to give a spoken password that it recognizes using a built-in voice-recognition chip. The idea is to prevent thieves using a stolen card or fraudsters using someone else's credit card details to buy goods online.
A model built by engineers at Beepcard in Santa Monica, California, represents the first attempt to pack a microphone, a loudspeaker, a battery and a voice-recognition chip into a standard-sized credit card.
They are not quite there yet: the card is the length and width of an ordinary credit card, but it is still about three times as thick. The company now plans to make it thinner.
The voice card is based on an earlier Beepcard technology designed to prevent fraud in online transactions. This earlier card has no microphone, but has a built-in loudspeaker that it uses to "squawk" （发出叫声） a voice ID signal via a computer's microphone to an online server.
By verifying （证实） that the signal matches the card details, the server can establish that the user is not simply keying in a credit card number but actually has the card to hand. The ID code changes each time the card is used in a pre-ordered sequence that only the server knows.
This prevents fraudsters recording the beeps, noting the card details and then playing back the audible ID when they key in the details later. But this earlier technology cannot prevent fraudulent use of stolen cards. The new one can.
The new voice card also identifies itself by its ID squawk, but it will not do this until it has verified the legitimate （合法的） user's spoken password. Thieves will be unable to use the card because even if they knew the password they would have to be able to copy the owner's voice with a high degree of accuracy.
The challenge for Beepcard has been to develop voice-recognition and audio circuitry that can be powered by a mini battery embedded （嵌入的） in a credit card. To maximize battery life, the electronics are only switched on when the card is being used. Pressing a button on the card's surface prompts it to utter "Say your password" in female voice. If the voice-recognition software proves that the password is authentic （真实的）, it sends its ID squawk which the server then identifies, allowing the transaction to proceed.
9 The voice credit card is an important invention because
A it can be made cost-effectively.
B it can leave voice messages.
C it makes online shopping easy.
D it makes fraud difficult.
7 What is the problem with the model card?
A It is too large.
B It is too thick.
C It can't be used in online transactions.
D It doesn't have a loudspeaker.
8 Which of the following statements about the earlier card is true?
A Its owner can change the ID code freely.
B Its user does not need to key in the ID number.
C It can record its user's spoken password.
D It still can be used by someone else after being stolen.
9 What is the advantage of the new voice card?
A It recognizes only its owner's spoken password
B It doesn't need to work with an online server.
C It requires less ID information.
D It has a playback function.
10 What can we learn from the last paragraph about the voice card?
A Only female voice passwords could be recognized.
B Further improvement should be made to extend battery life.
C There is no limit to its application.
D Female customers like to use it.
More Than a Ride to School
1. D 2. C 3. D 4. B 5. C
6. D 7. B 8. D 9. A 10. B
11. D 12. A 13. C 14. B 15. DThe National Education Association claims, "The school bus is a mirror of the community." They further add that, unfortunately, what appears on the exterior does not always reflect the reality of a chosen community. They are right m sometimes it reflects morel Just ask Liesl Denson. Riding the school bus has been more than a ride to school for Liesl.
Bruce Hardy, school bus driver for Althouse Bus Company has been Liesl's bus driver since kindergarten. Last year when Liesrs family moved to Parkesburg, knowing her bus went by her new residence, she requested to ride the same bus.
This year Liesl is a senior and will enjoy her last year riding the bus. She says, "It's been a great ride so fad My bus driver is so cool and has always been a good friend and a good listener. Sometimes when you're a child adults do not think that what you have to say is important. Mr. Hardy always listens to what you have to say and makes you feel important." Her friends Ashley Batista and Amanda Wolfe agree.
Bruce Hardy has been making Octorara students feel special since 1975. This year he will celebrate 30 years working for Althouse Bus Company. Larry Althouse, president of the company, acknowledges Bruce Hardy's outstanding record: "You do not come by employees like Bruce these days. He has never missed a day of work and has a perfect driving record. He was recognized in 2000 by the Pennsylvania School Bus Association for driving 350,000 accident free miles. Hardy's reputation is made further evident through the relationships he has made with the students that ride his bus."
Althouse further adds, "Althouse Bus Company was established 70 years ago and has been providing quality transportation ever since. My grandfather started the business with one bus. Althouse Bus Company is delighted to have the opportunity to bring distinctive and safe service to our local school and community and looks forward to continuing to provide quality service for many more years to come."
Three generations of business is not all the company has enjoyed. Thanks to drivers like Bruce Hardy, they have been building relationships through generations. Liesl's mother Carol also enjoys fond memories of riding Bruce Hardy's bus to the Octorara School District.
11 The word "mirror" in the first line could be best replaced by
12 Bruce Hardy has been working with Althouse Bus Company
A for 30 years.
B for 70 years.
C since last year.
D since 2000.
13 Which of the following statements is NOT true of Bruce Hardy?
A He is popular with his passengers.
B He has never missed a day of work.
C He is an impatient person.
D He has driven 350,000 accident free miles.
14 Althouse Bus Company was founded by
A Larry Althouse.
B Althouse's grandfather.
C Liesrs mother.
D Ashley Batista.
15 Althouse Bus Company pays much attention to
A employing young drivers.
B running quality schools.
C providing free driving lessons.
D building sound relationships