Session 4

Join us as we practise talking about the future. Find out the experts' views on how technology will affect business, tell us about your own predictions, and read a News Report on the future of travel.

Sessions in this unit

Session 4 score

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    Activity 1
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    Activity 2
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    Activity 3

Activity 1

The future is now!

Phones, drones and drives

At the start of 2015, the BBC asked experts to predict how new technology would affect business. Here are their views on smartphones, drones and data storage. You'll see some examples of the predictions language we've learned in this unit.

To do

Take a look at some of these expert predictions. They are all based on an original BBC article. As you read, ask yourself: why does Tom Standage use the word spooky? For help with difficult words, take a look at our vocabulary area.

Read the text and complete the activity

1) Tom Standage, digital editor, The Economist

"One of the trends to watch out for in 2015 is that your smartphone will get smarter - possibly so smart that it's almost spooky, in fact.

When you're wandering around an unfamiliar city, for example, your phone might suggest nearby attractions; if traffic is bad, it might pop up an alert telling you to leave early for a dinner date; if you're late for a meeting it might offer to send a message to the other attendees."

2) Paul Lee, head of technology, media and telecommunications research, Deloitte

"We expect the value of the drone market will be a few hundred million pounds in 2015.

Drones are likely to tap into and expand the £600m aerial viewing market, which is currently dominated by helicopters."

3) Mark Whitby, senior vice president, Seagate

"2015 will be the last year where data storage capacity will be able to meet demand.
In 2013, the world generated around 3.5 zettabytes of data - enough to fill 120bn 32gb smartphones, or 600bn DVDs - but by 2020, that will be a drop in an ocean.

The good news is that several technologies are in development that should go some way to solving this problem, but it's unlikely they'll be able to completely close the gap between data generated and storage space."


So, why spooky? Tom Standage thinks that smartphones will become so smart that they can almost read your thoughts - they might be able to tell when your'e late for a meeting and let your colleagues know for you, for example.

To do

Now, try and answer the questions in the quiz to see how well you understand this unit's language in context.

Future predictions

5 Questions

Read our experts' predictions and answer the questions

Congratulations you completed the Quiz
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Do you agree with these predictions? Maybe some of them have already come true! In the next activity, it's your turn to tell us about your predictions for the future.

Session Grammar

  • Very certain: will and going to

    I'll call her tomorrow.

    This video call won't last long.

    They're going to announce a new line of laptops soon.

    We aren't going to see them any time soon.

    Less certain: be likely to and might

    It is likely to be a major advance in computing technology.

    The new smartwatches are unlikely to be a big revolution in technology.

    My new phone might arrive today.

    There might not be any announcements today.


Session Vocabulary

  • drones
    small aircraft without pilots

    data storage
    keeping digital information



    wandering around
    walking around without a specific purpose or reason

    pop up
    suddenly appear

    urgent message

    people who take part in something (like a meeting)

    aerial viewing
    looking from above

    space; the amount that can be contained

    a drop in an ocean
    a very small amount

    the space between two things