Archivo de la categoría: Inglés

A.I. and Robots

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Cut from Ex Machina (Alex Garland, 2014)

Imagine a world where everyone owns a robotic butler, an automatic car or an intelligent house. This future scenario here depicted seems to get closer every day, a life defined by the omnipresence of mechanization and autonomous intelligent machines. However, it has become necessary to evaluate this phenomenon closely.

To begin with, an ideal situation is depicted: making all the workforce artificial will liberate plenty of time for humans. This is the world where leisure is what people are occupied in, finally able to entirely dedicate ourselves to personal, familiar and social welfare -all of this progress thanks to the dramatic increase of productivity and production and the derived growth of general wealth.

However, this view is optimistic and superficial. Humans having that amount of free time can only be explained by the absence of work, which means one thing: massive unemployment. The fact that robots work more efficiently than anyone means that we are no longer necessary while at the same time completely dependent on the owner of the machines. What is more, if AI develops enough, it will make the owner dispensable. In this case, our entire existence will be determined by an extremely advanced computer.

In light of the above, it is not hard to think about a future where humans are enslaved by machines (a very common topic in Sci-Fi novels) and it is therefore crucial to design any autonomous device as carefully as possible.

Alberto A.

 

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Outer space exploration and colonization

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“Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”, “I, Robot”, “The Foundation Trilogy”, “The Martian”, “2001: A Space Odyssey” -these are just some of the many novels in which humans have conquered space and colonized other planets. For sci-fi writers it seems obvious that sooner or later, in one way or another, humans will start a space colonization mission and, as time passes by, they seem to be right. But what could the consequences of these missions be?

At first glance the positive aspects seem obvious: new materials and minerals would be at our reach. This means cheaper ways of production and new items available to purchase, which could start to shape a change in our lives. As a consequence, many companies would be interested in exploiting new planets, and they would start developing new space programs and, most importantly, jobs. Migration would as well solve our overpopulation problem. With a new, better life in the horizon who would reject moving to Mars?

However it could turn out in a way which could degenerate our lives. The opportunity of acquiring new materials could be interpreted by companies as a way to increment their income, being tempted to offer jobs on conditions similar to those of a slave and dividing society once again into the upper and lower classes, as happened during the industrial revolution.

Something else to take into account is the military consequences of space colonization. Driven by economic and political benefits any nation could start adapting its army to a space war, the limits of the Outer Space Treaty would become arguable and we would no longer be safe from a missile attack sent from outer space.

In the end it all comes down to one point: will we be able to cooperate to get the largest benefit or will we let our differences divide us? We, as humans, have a lot to win with these programs if they are applied correctly, so it’s our responsibility and in our best interests to demand the respect we deserve to those in power.

Javier S.

Let’s save humankind

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The Earth is dying. Year after year, the human population increases and our resources decrease just as fast. On top of that, CO2 emissions add to global warming. Currently, some people are trying to stop this, but it may already be too late. The solution? Outer space exploration and colonization.

Many with traditional ideologies might oppose this idea due to the difficulty of maintaining habits from their respective cultures. At the same time, it is also possible that we might experience the dangers of outer space, which can happen with the collision of debris into spacecrafts, or a miscalculation of the orbits. Another negative consequence of leaving Earth could be the necessity of creating a new set of political arrangements, which might be ambiguous and cause conflicts between multiple countries.

On the other hand, the positive effects of outer space exploration completely eclipse the mentioned downsides. These includes the potential of solving the issue of overpopulation as well as the possibility of exploiting  new resources. These options could also be assisted by the amount of research, which can at the same time accelerate the pace of evolution. And also, who knows whether or not we´ll find extraterrestrial beings?

Therefore, the most logical solution is to leave Earth in order to assure our wellbeing, because in the end, it´s all about the survival of the fittest. Why shouldn´t we use the resources we have left?

Jordi L.

The advantages of multilingual programs

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English is pretty much the default language nowadays, everywhere we go. It is taught in almost every school in the world, and a requirement in most job application processes. It should be taken for granted that everyone has a proficient level, and yet this isn’t the case, especially in Spain. Our educational system is heavily focused on college admissions, instead of the many opportunities students will miss in the future due to the fact that they didn’t learn proper English in the past.

Research shows that people who are enrolled in multilingual programs, or that are fluent in more than one language, are three times more efficient in problem-solving and dealing with complex tasks. This, combined with the many benefits of speaking multiple languages, such as communication, is big enough a reason to prioritize bilingual programs.

But one thing should be kept in mind: this kind of educational programs should be efficient. It’s not enough to have two or three one-hour-long sessions a week -the modern language and the new one should be at the same level and the same amount of time should be dedicated to each.

In summary, the key to prepare students with high language levels is to develop modern, innovative programs that enhance students’ abilities not only at a classroom level, but in all aspects of life.

Elena A.

The Victorian Era VS Today

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Victorian London, 1887

I cannot imagine my mom just staying at home doing the dishes and washing our clothes, making sure that when my father comes home his dinner is ready. I can certainly not imagine that as my adult life. But that’s kind of what it was like in the Victorian Era, that’s why I think our society is better than the society then.

In the Victorian Era, there was a big difference between classes. There were 3 classes: the upper class, the middle class and the lower class. The upper class barely had to work, because in many cases their families and ancestors had earned enough money for them. Their children were able to get tutors, who belonged to a developing middle class. Other people from the middle class owned industries. The lower class, however, lived the worst life. Their families were big, so only the father working was often not enough. That’s why children had to go to work for long hours with low incomes. Now we cannot imagine sending 7-year-old kids to factories to work all day long. Every child in our society gets educated and if parents don’t earn enough money or don’t have a job, the government can help.

Another big difference between the 2 societies is the way women are treated. Although the Industrial Revolution changed the opportunities for women and they could have a job as well, there were still a lot of inequalities between men and women.

In the Victorian Era, the knowledge about medicine was developing and growing. The problem was that it was only for people who could afford it. Now, no matter how much money you have, everyone can get the medicine he or she needs.

Therefore, I think the society we live in is better than the Victorian Era’s. There is a smaller difference between classes. Actually, I think we can’t speak about classes anymore. Also, our society offers more opportunities: there are more jobs, everyone can go to school and study whatever they want and the equality between men and women is quite acceptable.

Marie Do.

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Queen Victoria’s portrait (1887)

In the history of the United Kingdom, the Victorian era formally begins in 1837 when Victoria became queen and it wasn´t until her death in 1901 that this period was actually finished. Over this period of time the UK was able to consolidate and progress in terms of economy, technology and territorial expansion. In this essay we are going to talk about how this could affect people, and then we will compare the Victorian society with today’s.

On one hand, regarding the Victorian society it is very important to mention that due to all of these rapid changes and development, the British population underwent a massive increase from sixteen million to over thirty two million people. Nevertheless, a portion of this individuals decided to depart to Canada, the USA and other countries in order to find a better life despite the progress in the UK.

Another point of high relevance is that society was actually able to advance in the pyramid, being able to join ranks which belonged to the high-class; of course, they had to obey Victorian stereotypes but it still was the best chance they ever had as ordinary citizens.

On the other hand, today´s society has better life conditions than people in the Victorian era as, first of all, we have almost two hundred years of advantage. However, there are some key features which need to be pointed out. Currently, we have a democratic government so we take part in most of the social and political decisions. Also, our jobs are more rewarding, education has improved and we are able to join more leisure and cultural activities.

In conclusion, modern society has clearly evolved compared to the Victorian one, and as a consequence we can affirm today´s society is much better. But it is also important to say that the Victorian period promoted decisive changes that provided society with some of the advantages that we have nowadays.

Miguel C.

 

Views on the Jack the Ripper museum

ripper museum.jpgThe opening of a museum dedicated to Jack the Ripper in Cable Street, London has recently been the subject for eyebrow-raising. Although many may consider this strange, it’s the original premise of the exhibition what really bothered people: it had been announced that a new museum dedicated to women’s history would open in East London. It’s not hard to see why it was criticized by Londoners and many others, including me, when we found out about its real theme.

My opinion on museums will never be altered: if it’s educational, and adds to the knowledge of visitors, then I’m all for it. The problem begins when something is sold as something it’s not, which is the case of the Jack the Ripper museum. Why is the first  museum in the East End supposedly dedicated to women’s history entirely about a man’s actions? This only proves the fact that sexism is still well-and-alive in today’s society, which leads us to my second argument.

Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe, the creator of the museum, argues that the exhibition explores the perspective of the victims, only to later discuss their responsibility on their own murders. Easy analogies can be made with what happens nowadays with rape claims from women: they aren’t taken seriously based on the woman-in-question’s behavior or clothes, for example. Palmer does the same with Jack the Ripper’s victims when he explores the possibility that prostitution was the deep cause of their death. Aside from the fact that it’s never anyone’s fault when they’re attacked, I’d like to point out how women those days were forced into prostitution in order to survive and how an action for survival should never lead to something much worse like death.

Leaving moral thoughts apart, I want to say I find the idea of a Jack the Ripper museum to be very interesting as, if done right, visitors would be able to enter the murderer’s mind and learn about all kinds of related aspects.

In conclusion, there’s a great appeal to the existence of a Jack the Ripper museum, but it should definitely not be sold as a museum dedicated to women’s history and, much less, try to find their fault in the situation. This is an idea what many don’t seem to understand yet.

Elena A.

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Protest against the opening of the Jack the Ripper museum

Everybody knows about the Whitechapel murders and most importantly, about the murderer. It might sound like something sick for some people, but to others it’s just fascinating. This is why the museum should not be closed, although it has to be somewhere appropriate so people won´t complain.

For criminology lovers, this is the chance to see first-hand information, documents and objects which helped in the investigation. It´s the most truthful source they´ll ever be able to acquire knowledge from. As a person who is interested in criminology, I would visit it myself.

Also, for people interested in history, it´s a unique way to experience the Victorian era, from a whole new and different point of view: the mind of the assassin. We might not learn about the sociocultural differences between classes, but historical criminology is also history, and in my opinion, it´s one of the most interesting fields, seeing how detectives worked back in the times of Queen Victoria, and the differences between investigations nowadays. Today, for example, it would be unthinkable to send a bloodstained knife to the police, because it would be like giving your name and address.

And finally, I think the museum is a good option because it gives you perspective. It´s really easy to judge how crazy Jack the Ripper had to be to commit all those murders, but no one actually knows how mentally sick he was. He could have done it all out of madness, or even vengeance, or maybe he wasn´t sick at all and was a cold blood killer. No one will ever know his motives, but we know he killed innocent women and that´s enough to give him his blood chilling nickname, the Ripper.

So, in conclusion, Jack The Ripper museum should be built somewhere appropriate so people can visit without anyone being annoyed at it, and so everyone can gather knowledge, learn about history or try to guess Jack the Ripper´s darkest motives to do what he did.

María M. A.

 

Jack the Ripper and the sensationalist media

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In 1988, a terrible serial killer known as Jack the Ripper haunted the cold streets of the East End of London. Although he only killed prostitutes, the newspapers and the media accentuated the citizens’ fear by publishing Jack’s grotesque and explicit letters to the police and not hiding any details from the murderer’s crimes. My opinion on this matter is that, nowadays, these kind of horrors should be kept away from the general public.

Firstly, I’d like to talk about how impressionable people might be affected by these type of crimes. Nowadays, everyone has access to newspapers, television or the Internet, including little kids or mentally ill people who could be triggered by the situation. If the details from the crimes are divulged with no initial thought whatsoever, this could affect people’s lives forever.

Although I consider myself to be a curious and open person who doesn’t want to be lied to by the government or the media, I care way more deeply about the health and well-being of people around me, and wouldn’t want to risk these vital aspects of someone’s life just to know the truth.

Finally, I need to point out how, in 1888, Jack the Ripper sent a series of letters to the police laughing at their uncertainty and giving details about his next work. These letters are believed to have been written by different people as the written expression significantly varies from one to another. Although numerous theories discuss the possibility of Jack the Ripper being more than one person, the letters are more likely to have been written by impostors as a way of entertainment. We can’t risk this happening nowadays, seeing that it could lead to fake clues and only keep the authorities away from the real criminal.

In conclusion, I believe that, in general, the truth should not be hidden from the citizens, but there are cases in which there’s no alternative because it could alter their welfare, like it happened more than a century ago with Jack the Ripper’s case.

Elena A.

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‘From Hell’ letter handwritten in blood, allegedly sent by Jack the Ripper to Scotland Yard in 1888

“Jack the Ripper” might be the most well known killer in the world. But do people know about the real story that lies behind? Or do they only know what the journalists said about him? His murders were horrible, atrocious and insane; but he was never caught by the police.  Apart from that, the police didn’t give much information about his crimes so the sensationalist journalists invented stories.

Here’s the problem of keeping the information away from people. Everyone wants to know what’s going on with the murders, the killer… so if they don’t have the information, they’ll probably invent it. By the way, the people need to know what types of dangers they are exposed to. Imagine that the killer murders at night in a particular place, so the police need to warn people not to be out at night alone in the dark…

That way people would be safer, because they’d know what the killer does. Also, it’s really important that the information the police gives to the journalists doesn’t change. People need to know the truth, it doesn’t matter if it’s grotesque or terrible because the story hasn’t changed.

In conclusion, the truth is the most important element when fighting against crime. In the case of “Jack the Ripper”, if the police had given more information about it, the journalists wouldn’t have invented stories. Maybe some people wouldn’t have sent fake letters to the police and maybe the case could have been solved with everyone’s help. But we’ll never know who “Jack the Ripper” was and all the murders he or she committed will never be punished.

Eider V.