Bestcom CONSIPERATE COMPUTING
A. “YOUR BATTERY IS NOW FULLY CHARGED,” ANNOUNCED THE LAPTOP COMPUTER to its owner, Donald A. Norman, with enthusiasm—perhaps even a hint of pride? in its synthetic voice. To be sure, distractions and multitasking are hardly new to the human condition. “A complicated life, continually interrupted by competing requests for attention, is as old as procreation,” laughs Ted Selker of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab. But increasingly, it is not just our kids pulling us three ways at once; it is also a relentless barrage of e-mail, alerts, alarms, calls, instant messages and automated notifications, none of them coordinated and all of them oblivious to whether we are busy—or even present. “It’s ridiculous that my own computer can’t figure out whether I’m in front of it, but a public toilet can,” exclaims Roel Vertegaal of Queen’s University in Ontario.
B. Humanity has connected itself through roughly three billion networked telephones, computers, traffic lights— even refrigerators and picture frames— because these things make life more convenient and keep US available to those we care about. So although we could simply turn off the phones, close the e-mail program, and shut the office door when it is time for a meeting or a stretch of concentrated work, we usually don’t. We just endure the consequences.
C. Numerous studies have shown that when people are unexpectedly interrupted, they not only work less efficiently but also make more mistakes. “It seems to add cumulatively to a feeling of frustration,” Picard reports, and that stress response makes it hard to regain focus. It isn’t merely a matter of productivity and the pace of life. For pilots, drivers, soldiers and doctors, errors of inattention can be downright dangerous. “If we could just give our computers and phones some understanding of the limits of human attention and memory, it would make them seem a lot more thoughtful and courteous,” says Eric Horvitz of Microsoft Research. Horvitz, Vertegaal, Selker and Picard are among a small but growing number of researches trying to teach computers, phones, care and other gadgets to behave less like egocentric oafs and more likeconsiderate colleagues.
D. “Attentive” computing systems have begun appearing in newer Volvos and IBM has introduced Websphere communications software with a basic busyness sense. Microsoft has beat running extensive in-house tests of a much more sophisticated system since 2003. Within a few years, companies may be able to offer every office worker a software version of the personal receptionist that only comer-suite executives enjoy today. But if such an offer should land in your inbox, be sure to read the print before you sign. An attentive system, by definition, is one that Ỉ B always watching. That considerate computer may come to know more about your work habits than you do.
E. Most people aren’t as busy as they think they are, which is why we can usually tolerate interruptions from our inconsiderate electronic paraphernalia. James Fogarty and Scott E. Hudson of Carnegie Mellon University recently teamed up with Jennifer Lai of IBM Research to study 10 managers, researchers and interns at work. They videotaped the subjects and periodically had them rate then “interruptibility.” The amount of time the workers spent in leave-me-alone mode varied from person to person and day to day, ranging from 10 to 51 percent. On average, the subjects wanted to work without interruption about one third of the time. In studies of Microsoft employees, Horvitz has similarly found that they typically spend more than 65 percent of theft day in a state of low attention.
F. Today’s phones and computers, winch naively assume that die user is never too busy to take a call, read an email, or click “OK” on an alert box, thus are probably correct about two thirds of time. To be useful, then, considerate systems will have to be more than 65 percent accurate in sensing when their users are near theft cognitive limits.
G. Bestcom/Enhanced Telephony, a Microsoft prototype based on Horvitz’s weak, digs a little deeper into each user’s computer to find clues about what they are up to. Microsoft launched an internal beta test of the system in mid-2003. By last October, Horvitz says, about 3,800 people were using the system to field their incoming phone calls.
H. Horvitz himself is one of those testers, and while we talk in his office in Redmond, Wash, Bestcom silently handles one call after another. First it checks whether the caller is listed in his address book, the company directory, or its log of people he has called recently. Triangulating these sources, it tries to deduce their relationship. Family members, supervisors and people he called earlier today ring through Others see a message on their computer that he is in a meeting and won’t be available until 3 RM. The system scans Horvitz’s and the caller’s calendar and offers to reschedule the call at a time that is open for both Some callers choose that option; others leave voice mail. E-mail messages get a similar screening. When Horvitz is out of the office, Bestcom automatically offers to forward selected callers to his cellphone—unless his calendar and other evidence suggest that he is in a meeting.
I. Most large companies already use computerized phone systems and standard calendar and contact management software, so tapping into those “sensors” should be straightforward. Not all employees will like the idea of having a microphone on all the time in them office, however, nor will everyone want to expose them datebook to some program they do not ultimately control. Moreover, some managers might be tempted to equate a “state of low attention” with “goofing off” and punish those who seem insufficiently busy.
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 2? In boxes 14-19 on your answer sheet, write
TRUE if the statement is true
FALSE if the statement is false
NOT GIVEN if the information is not given in the passage 2
14. According to Ted Selker, human productivity has been disturbed by office competitors frequently.
15. If people are interrupted by calls or E-mails, they usually put up with it instead of taking uncooperative action
16. Microsoft is now investigating a software which is compatible with ordinary office units
17. People usually have misperception about whether they are busy or not.
18. Researches conducted showed concentration-time span in office takes up only average a bit over than 65%.
19. Advanced phone and computer system will install a shortcut key for people receive information immediately.
Answer the questions in the diagram below.
Choose ONLY ONE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from like passage for each answer.
Cambridge IELTS Reading 5-17 Explanation