Session 7

Robots can often look like humans, but how does this make us feel? Listen to learn great language around this topic.

Roobootonni yeroo hedduu nama fakkaachuu ni danda’au, garuu kun akka maaltu nutti dhaga’amu taasisaa? Mata duree kana ilaalchisee afaan cimsitee barachuudhaaf dhaggeeffadhu.

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

What happens when we see robots that look like us?

Robots can often look like humans, but how does this make us feel? Listen  to learn great language around this topic.

Roobootonni yeroo hedduu nama fakkaachuu ni danda’au, garuu kun akka maaltu nutti dhaga’amu taasisaa? Mata duree kana ilaalchisee afaan cimsitee barachuudhaaf dhaggeeffadhu.

Before you listen

Consider the following questions:
1) What image do you think of when you hear the word ‘robot’?
2) How would a robot with a human face and body make you feel?

Listen to the audio and take the quiz.

Show transcript Hide transcript

Firaol
Yooyyaa! Odeessaalee Afaan Inglizii sirri ta’an akka hubattuuf bakka itti si barsiifnutti -baga nagana dhufte! An Firaoldha.

Tom
And I’m Tom. Hi everyone!

Firaol
Let me ask you a question. Do you like robots, robootiiwwan?

Tom
Robots? I suppose – think about all the robots in factories. They’re useful. Not to mention all the amazing gadgets you can get nowadays. Robots are not only practical, but also fun!

Firaol
What about if a robot looks like a friend, or a parent?

Tom
Agh, no! That’s really weird. I can’t imagine looking at a robot with my parents’ face – that would be really unsettling.

Firaol
I thought you might say that! Today’s clip is from BBC Radio 4’s The Why Factor. Dubbattutiin ogeetii qor-qalbiiti ykn Saayikologistiidha. Yaada robootiwwan nama fakkeessanii hojjechuun akka isaan barbaadamo ‘’relatable’’ ta’an gochu irratti mari’acha jirti. Miira roobootiiwwan kunneen nuuf kennan ibsuudhaaf jecha kam fayyadamtii?

Insert
The overall idea of making something relatable is a good one. But it’s when those features become almost too close for comfort that they become unsettling rather than friendly and welcoming. There is a point at which rather than liking them more you start to reject them

Tom

She said we can find robots unsettling. When they look like us, they’re too close for comfort.

Firaol
‘Unsettling’ jechuun itituu-dhabuu ykn jeeqamuudha. Ibsannoon ‘too close for comfort’ jedhu, haala wayita waanti tokko baayée sitti dhihaatu miira sodaafi yaaddoo sitti dhagahamu kan ibsuudha.

Tom
So, if my boss began asking me about my love life, that might be too close for comfort. That’s not a topic of conversation I would normally have with my boss, so it would be uncomfortable.

Firaol
Right!

Tom
I also like her expression ‘there is a point at which’. This expression suggests a change in something.

Firaol
Right! Haala akkanaa keessatti jijjiiramichi yaada keenya keessatti muláta.  Akka ishiin jettutti, roobootiiwwan kunneen caalchifne jaalachuurra, wayita bifa namaa qabaatan jibbuu eegalla jetti. That’s the point at which we change our opinion, right?

Tom
Correct!

Firaol
OK. There’s a point at which we need to move on. Odeessaalee hafan haacaqasnu. Roobotonni miirawwan keenyarratti miidhaa maalii qabuu?

Insert
So, if you imagine a typical factory robot, you don’t really think of it as a person. If you then humanise that by making it more friendly, giving it, eventually, a face and hair and smiling eyes, you would expect that your liking for it would just continue to increase.  But it actually doesn’t. There’s a point at which your emotional response dips off sharply and rather than it being appealing, you really don’t like it, you want it to go away.

Tom
She talks about our emotional response to robots. She says our emotional response dips off sharply when we see humanised robots.

Firaol
‘To humanise’, namoomsuu. ‘Dip off’ n gocha gaalee hiika ‘decline’ qabuudha. It’s commonly used with the adverb, sharply.

Tom
So, when our emotions dip off, they decline sharply.

Firaol
I hope our audience numbers don’t dip off sharply! Saaykooloojistittiin ‘would’ fayyadamuun waa’ee tilmaama haasofti –tilmaama namoonni roobootiiwwan beekamoo tarii jaalachuu danda’an mari’achuuf jecha.  Akkamitti  ‘would’ sagaleessitee? Ammas caqasi.

Insert
If you then humanise that by making it more friendly, giving it, eventually, a face and hair and smiling eyes, you would expect that your liking for it would just continue to increase. 

Tom
She uses 'would'- a short form of 'would'. Say it with me.

expect
would expect
you would expect

I would expect you’d like to continue?

Firaol
Galatoomi. Goolabuu keenyaan dura, akkatti dubbattuun kun yaadawwan walfaallesan ibsite haa ilaallu. Himoonni lamaan caqasne kunooti. Jecha kamtu yaadawwwan walfaallessaan agarsiisaa?

Insert
There is a point at which rather than liking them more you start to reject them.

There’s a point at which your emotional response dips off sharply and rather than it being appealing, you really don’t like it, you want it to go away.

Tom
She says rather than!

Firaol
‘Rather than’ inni jedhu yaadawan faalleessoo eera. Tom, rather than continuing, perhaps we should try to finish today’s show?

Tom
Well, I’d prefer to continue rather than stop, but that’s OK. All this talk about human robots is making me feel very unsettled.

Firaol
Turtii waliin qabaanneef galatoomaa!

Tom
Thanks and see you next time!

Listen to today’s clip in full here
Source: The Why Factor

Language features

too close for comfort
If something is too close for comfort, it makes us feel worried or frightened because it is very close to us. We can use this expression to describe things which are physically close to us.

That car nearly hit me! It was too close for comfort!

We can also use it figuratively to suggest unwanted familiarity or similarity.

Robots with faces scare me. They look a little too close for comfort!


a point at which
A point at which is a fixed expression which suggests an instance immediately before change. We can use this expression in different tenses by changing the form of [to be] which comes before.

I like working freelance, but now I’ve got a son I work full-time. There’s a point at which one needs a stable income.

After being with my husband for ten years, there was a point at which I wanted to be free. We are now divorced.


rather than
We use rather than to introduce a contrasting idea. It is often used with parallel structures. A parallel structure is when two things (nouns, adjectives etc.) are directly contrasted to each other.

Rather than going to the cinema, let’s go the restaurant.

I prefer drinking tea rather than coffee.

What happens when we see robots that look like us?

3 Questions

Choose the correct answer.
Deebii sirrii ta’e fili.

Congratulations you completed the Quiz
Excellent! Great job! Bad luck! You scored:
x / y

What do yo uthink about robots? Are they a good thing or bad thing? Tell us on our Facebook group.

Join us for our next episode of Listen Here, when we will learn more useful language and practise your listening skills.
Sagantaa Listen Here kan qooqa daran faayida-qabeessa ta’an keessatti barannuufi daandeettiiwwan dhageettiikee ittiin shaakaltutti yeroo itaanu walitti deebina.

Session Vocabulary

  • robots
    roobootota

    relatable
    kan walitti dhiyaatudha

    unsettling
    Kan hin tasgabboofne

    to dip off
    keessa gadi galchuuf

    to humanise
    Nama fakkeesuuf