Monday 31 August 2020

047 – The robots are coming. Are you ready?

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A study predicts that all human tasks could be automated in the next 30 years. And that all human jobs might be replaced within the next 100 years or so. Holy crap! What will we do when the robots take over? A.I. is coming. The robots are coming. But are we ready?

In this Real English conversations podcast from Better at English, Lori and her American friend Will talk about their questions and concerns about the rise of A.I. (Artificial intelligence) and the automation of human labor. You can find the full transcript at

Additional resources and supplementary material

Humans need not apply
Video about how automation and A.I. will affect the job market for humans

Robots will beat humans at every task

Traffic death statistics

Dirty, Dirty robots.

Funny (but still disturbing) video about A.I. from comedian Lee Camp

Link to original Yale / Oxford study about A.I.

This is for learners of academic English. People in the videos about A.I. summarize findings from this study. This is the actual academic study for comparison.

Elon musk on the Joe Rogan podcast, talking about A.I.

Elon Musk’s talk at SXSW

Ted talk with neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris

Sam Harris on the Joe Rogan Podcast

TED talk by Peter Haas A robot designer who is afraid of robots

The Real Reason to be Afraid of Artificial Intelligence

How frightened should be be of A.I.?

Article in the New Yorker, free, with full text and audio so you can read along as you listen.

Video about delivery robots

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Saturday 29 August 2020

Pre listening information for Real English Conversations 047

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Hi English learners! Lori here, your teacher from better at English dot com. This little update is just to let you know that new Real English Conversations are coming. I know you love the conversations, and I do love making them for you, but they are quite a lot of work, let me tell you! In fact, I just invested in some fancy new recording equipment that’s going to make it much easier for me to record and transcribe the conversations in the future. Because hey, let’s face it, what good is a conversation episode with out a transcript that you can use to learn from?

The first new conversation is coming in the next couple of days, and I’m letting you know in advance because I think you’ll get more benefit from the conversation if you can familiarize yourself with the general topic before you listen.

“Hey Lori, what’s the topic?”

Oh yeah, what’s the topic?

You’ll be hearing me and an American friend talk about AI, or artificial intelligence, and the automation of human labor. Yes, the robots are coming and – whether we like it or not – a lot of the work that humans are doing now, a lot of our jobs, our skills, will be replaced by machines and artificial intelligence. How are we going to deal with that as a society? Where will we find our sense of value and purpose when we don’t have to work anymore? And how will we make a living in the first place? How will we put a roof over our heads and put food on the table? These are some of the things you’ll hear us discuss.

You won’t think I’m so cute when I take your job.

And in the conversation we mention some videos and other things that we’ve seen online. And that’s not so fun for you if you haven’t seen the video yourself and have no idea what we’re talking about. So I’ve put the links to these in the show notes for this episode, and if you check out the background material in advance, you’ll be on the same page with us as you listen to the conversation. You won’t be left in the dark, scratching your head, when you hear us mention the videos. So I highly encourage you to take the next couple of days and get familiar with some of these materials so you’ll get more out of the conversation when I post it next time.

That’s all for this time…I’ll see you soon with a brand new, fresh, juicy, delightful and delicious real English conversation. Unless I’m replaced by a robot before then. Oh, wait. How do you know I’m not already a robot now…seriously, how would you know? Woo! Scary question.

Anyway, as always, you can find me at if you want to leave a comment, send an email, or leave me a voice message. I love getting voice messages from you so I can hear you show off your beautiful English. You can do all of that from my website. Until next time, here’s wishing you an inspired and productive day. Bye for now.

Funny (but still disturbing) video about AI by a comedian
Dirty Dirty Robots

Facts, figures and big questions about what will happen when machines and AI take over our jobs
Humans need not apply

Article and short video about some predictions related to Artificial Intelligence and automation
This is when robots will start beating humans at every task

For learners of academic English – here is the original study by researchers at Oxford and Yale. This is the study that the people in the videos talk about.
When will AI exceed human performance?

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Tuesday 18 August 2020

046 – Five American English slang expressions

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Hey there English learners, Lori here, your teacher from I’ve got a different type of episode here for you today. I’m gonna go through some American English slang expressions, some really common ones that you hear all the time if you’re watching American English sitcoms or dramas on TV or Netflix.

They’re ones that have been in use for quite a few years, and that you hear people in a wide range of ages using. So it’s not just super new ones that are just used by teenagers and younger people. They’re a lot more, I think, general and for me that means there are a lot more useful. So I hope that you will enjoy this episode.

It’s a bit scary for me because it’s different from what I normally give you. But, you know, when I think about it, I’m always encouraging you to try new things with your English learning and to risk embarrassment, to risk failure. So all I can do is try to lead by example and hope that you enjoy this episode.

The expressions we’re going to look at are:
– Oh my god
– that sucks
– tell me about it
– to bomb, and
= bummer / bummed / to bum someone out

You can find the full transcript for this episode at

If you benefit from this episode, please consider leaving a review (or at least some stars) :-)

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Monday 10 August 2020

045 – Stupid English grammar rules – is it OK to break them?

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The data is clear: some English grammar rules are stupid.

Is it ever OK to make a grammar “mistake” on purpose? Is it ever OK to know a grammar rule and break it anyway, even when you know that some people will strongly disapprove?

In this episode I talk about English grammar rules that (I and many people think) are stupid, and discuss whether or not it’s OK to break them. You’ll also hear a short extract from a podcast by Scott Adams, a well known cartoonist and professional writer, talking about breaking a grammar rule on purpose. His opinion might surprise you! And you’ll also learn the (somewhat vulgar and offensive) slang term douchebag, and hear a really great example of how it’s used in context.

“Hey Lori, what’s a douchebag?” I hear you asking. Listen to the episode and find out!

If you enjoy the show it would totally make my day if you could leave a review or at least some stars on Apple Podcasts or Spotify or basically, anywhere you can leave a review. I’m not picky! It’s an easy thing you can do that would mean the world to me.

You can find the full transcript of this episode online and as a downloadable PDF at

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Sunday 2 August 2020

044 – A very embarrassing mistake

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Hi English learners! Lori here, your teacher from Better at English dot com. It’s story time here today, something I don’t think I’ve done here on the podcast before. I’m going to use natural English, but will try to speak just a little more carefully than I normally would, so that more people can follow …

044 – A very embarrassing mistake Read More »

The post 044 – A very embarrassing mistake appeared first on Better at English. © 2020 Lori Linstruth

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