Looking to Robots and Other Technology to Improve Health Care

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This is the VOA Special English Technology Report.

An organization called the World Future Society publishes a yearly report about how technology, the economy and society are influencing the world. Tim Mack heads the World Future Society. He says medicine is one area of growth.

TIM MACK: “I was surprised by the enormous growth in medical technology.”

Mr. Mack says the fields of nanotechnology, biotechnology and information technology are working together to create new ways to help patients. These include better ways to provide medicine and identify disease without invasive operations.

Mr. Mack also says developments in artificial intelligence could lead to a future where disabled patients could be cared for by a voice-activated robot.

The World Future Society also publishes The Futurist magazine. Every year it examines developments in technology and other areas to predict the future. The magazine released the top ten predictions from the Outlook 2011 report.

Several of the predictions dealt with technology. The report said Internet search engines will soon include both text and spoken results. It said television broadcasts and other recordings could be gathered using programs developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis.

Outlook 2011 also examined refuse collection. It said industrial nations will send much more waste to developing countries. This will cause protests in those countries. In about fifteen years, developing countries will stop accepting foreign waste. This will force industrial nations to develop better waste-to-energy programs and recycling technologies.

The report also had a prediction about education. It said young people use technologies for socializing as well as working and learning. So they solve problems more as teams instead of competing. In this way, social networking is supporting different kinds of learning outside the classroom.

The World Future Society also predicts that robots will be able to carry out mental commands from human beings. Scientists have shown that individuals can type by using their brains without physically touching computer keyboards. In the near future, experts say brain e-mailing and “tweeting” will become more common.

And that’s the VOA Special English Technology Report. You can find scripts and audio of our programs at voaspecialenglish.com. We are also on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube at VOA learning English. I’m Steve Ember.

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