Real Talk #009 – Do you mind?

In English, sometimes yes can mean no and no can mean yes. In this episode, Andrew and Morag tackle an example of such a tricky situation. Come join them as they explain all about the useful, but potentially difficult construction of do you mind if [something]?

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Expressions included in the learning materials

  • Do you mind if [something]?
  • A do you mind if question
  • No, not at all (positive response)
  • Yes, I mind (negative response)
  • Yeah, that’s OK
  • I’d rather you not

Sample transcript

Andrew:           Some people are really interested in artificial intelligence and the role that it will play in the future. Other people don’t care at all. So I would say that I’m in the first camp. I really am interested in this topic. What about you, Suzanne? Are you interested in it? Have you thought about it much? What camp are you in?

Suzanne:        I’m definitely not in the camp of I don’t care or don’t think about it. I have only seen examples of artificial intelligence on TV or in movies. But I haven’t really experienced artificial intelligence, except for my robot, Susan. Ugh … I do think about it, but it kind of scares me because I find the human qualities and human connections so important in the world that I get kind of scared that maybe robots would take over the world.

Andrew:           Well, you’re not alone in this thought, because some of the world’s smartest people—like Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates—they’ve all warned about the potential dangers of AI, of artificial intelligence. But I also think there can be good things with AI. And so today, you and I will have a chat about AI, and we’ll break this episode into two parts. The first part, I want to talk about the good news, the potential benefits of AI, the positive aspects. And then in the final half of the episode, we’ll go to the gloom and doom and we’ll talk the potential negative aspects of AI. Does that sound good to you?

Suzanne:        That sounds good to me.

Andrew:           OK. Let’s start with the good news.

Suzanne:        OK. Good news first. Can you put on your thinking cap for a second?

Suzanne:        Mmhmm.

Andrew:           Thinking into the future, if artificial intelligence becomes a thing, if we can figure out how to invent artificial intelligence, what would be a potential positive aspect, in your opinion?

Suzanne:        I think we would have access to even more of the world, and more information.

Andrew:           Hmm.

Suzanne:        I think the speed at which we could communicate would be even faster than it is now, and that is exciting.

Andrew:           That is exciting. Can you imagine an artificial intelligence supercomputer that could act as a translator, a perfect translator for all of the world’s languages? How cool would this be?

Suzanne:        Yeah! That would be amazing. And what about the idea of cars that can drive themselves and direct themselves, in traffic and across the country, like on big road trips?

Andrew:           This is such a cool idea to me. I drive but I honestly don’t love driving—stresses me out a little bit because I don’t trust other people. They’re on their phone texting or … I don’t know. They’re distracted. This is the scary part about driving.

Suzanne:        Yeah.

Andrew:           But if we had self-driving cars, wow! That would take the stress right out of it.

Suzanne:        Would it, though? Would you feel like you can trust a machine to drive itself?

Andrew:           I would trust it, yes.

Suzanne:        More than a person?

Andrew:           Yeah, because from what I’ve seen about self-driving cars so far, they are pretty good and they have cameras looking all over the place. They have lasers. They have tons of tech built into the car.

Suzanne:        Yeah.

Andrew:           So that it’s more aware than a person can be.

Suzanne:        That’s true.

Andrew:           I think right now, maybe the technology isn’t perfect but in 5, 10 years, the speed of technology, the way that it progresses so fast, we’re going to figure this one out. I’m really confident about it.

Suzanne:        That’s really interesting. Additionally, the cars that would be programmed to be able to drive themselves, they would also have a uniform response to things.


For a complete transcript, click:

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english PodcastAudio/Learning Materials: Culips