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Part Ⅱ Reading Comprehension(Skimming and Scanning)(15 minutes)

What Will the World Be Like in Fifty Years?

This week some top scientists, including Nobel Prize winners, gave their vision of how the world will look in 2056, from gas-powered cars to extraordinary health advances, John Ingham reports on what the world’s finest minds believe our futures will be.

For those of us lucky enough to live that long, 2056 will be a world of almost perpetual youth, where obesity is a remote memory and robots become our companions.

We will be rubbing shoulders with aliens and colonising outer space. Better still, our descendants might at last live in a world at peace with itself.

The prediction is that we will have found a source of inexhaustible, safe green energy, and that science will have killed off religion. If they are right we will have removed two of the main causes of war-our dependence on oil an religious prejudice.

Will we really, as today’s scientists claim, be able to live for ever or at least cheat the ageing process so that the average person lives to 150?

Of course, all these predictions come with a scientific health warning. Harvard professor Steven Pinker says: “This is an invitation to look foolish, as with the predictions of domed cities and nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners that were made 50 year ago.”

Living longer

Anthony Atala, director of the Wake Forest Institute in North Carolina, believes failing organs will be repaired by injecting cells into the body. They will naturally go straight to the injury and help heal it. A system of injections without needles could also slow the ageing process by using the same process to “tune” cells.

Bruce Lahn, professor of human genetics at the University of Chicago, anticipates the ability to produce “unlimited supplies” of transplantable human organs without the need for human donors. These organs would be grown in animals such as pigs. When a patient needed a new organ, such as a kidney, the surgeon would contact a commercial organ producer, give him the patient’s immunological profile and would then be sent a kidney with the correct tissue type.

These organs would be entirely composed of human cells, grown by introducing them into animal hosts, and allowing them to develop into an organ in place of the animal’s own. But Prof. Lahn believes that farmed brains would be “off limits”. He says: “Very few people would want to have their brains replaced by someone else’s and we probably don’t want to put a human brain in an animal body.”

Richard Miller, a professor at the University of Michigan, thinks scientist could develop “authentic anti-ageing drugs” by working out how cells in larger animals such as whales and human resist many forms of injuries. He says: “It is now routine, in laboratory mammals, to extend lifespan by about 40%. Turning on the same protective systems in people should, by 2056, create the first class of 100-year-olds who are as vigorous and productive as today’s people in their 60s”


Colin Pillinger, professor of planetary sciences at the Open University, says: I fancy that at least we will be able to show that life did start to evolve on Mars well as Earth.” Within 50years he hopes scientists will prove that alien life came here in Martian meteorites(陨石).

Chris McKay, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center. believes that in 50 years we may find evidence of alien life in the ancient permanent frost of Mars or on other planers.

He adds: There is even a chance we will find alien life forms here on Earth. It might be as different as English is to Chinese.

Princeton professor Freeman Dyson thinks it “likely” that life form outer space will be discovered before 2056 because the tools for finding it, such as optical and radio detection and data processing, are improving.

He says: “As soon as the first evidence is found, we will know what to look for and additional discoveries are likely to follow quickly. Such discoveries are likely to have revolutionary consequences for biology, astronomy and philosophy. They may also change the way we look at ourselves and our place in the universe.”

Colonies in space

Richard Gott, professor of astrophysics at Princeton, hopes man will set up a self-sufficient colony on Mars, which would be a “life insurance policy against whatever catastrophes, natural or otherwise, might occur on Earth.

“The real space race is whether we will colonise off Earth on to other worlds before money for the space programme runs out.”

Spinal injuries

Ellen Heber-Katz, a professor at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, foresees cures for injuries causing paralysis such as the one that afflicted Superman star Christopher Reeve.

She says: “I believe that the day is not far off when we will be able to prescribe drugs that cause severed (断裂的) spinal cords to heal, hearts to regenerate and lost limbs to regrow.”

“People will come to expect that injured or diseased organs are meant to be repaired from within, in much the same way that we fix an appliance or automobile: by replacing the damaged part with a manufacturer-certified new part.” She predicts that within 5 to 10 years fingers and toes will be regrown and limbs will start to be regrown a few years later. Repairs to the nervous system will start with optic nerves and, in time, the spinal cord.” Within 50 years whole body replacement will be routine,” Prof. Heber-Katz adds.


Sydney Brenner, senior distinguished fellow of the Crick-Jacobs Center in California, won the 2002 Nobel Prize for Medicine and says that if there is a global disaster some humans will survive-and evolution will favour small people with bodies large enough to support the required amount of brain power.” Obesity,” he says.” will have been solved.”


Rodney Brooks, professor of robotics at MIT, says the problems of developing artificial intelligence for robots will be at least partly overcome. As a result, “the possibilities for robots working with people will open up immensely”


Bill Joy, green technology expert in California, says:” The most significant breakthrough would be to have an inexhaustible source of safe, green energy that is substantially cheaper than any existing energy source.”

Ideally, such a source would be safe in that it could not be made into weapons and would not make hazardous or toxic waste or carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas blamed for global warming.


Geoffrey Miller, evolutionary psychologist at the University of New Mexico, says: The US will follow the UK in realizing that religion is not a prerequisite (前提)for ordinary human decency.

“This, science will kill religion-not by reason challenging faith but by offering a more practical, universal and rewarding moral framework for human interaction.”

He also predicts that “absurdly wasteful” displays of wealth will becom unfashionable while the importance of close-knit communities and families wil become clearer.

These three changer, he says, will help make us all” brighter, wiser, happier and kinder”.

1.What is john lngham’s report about?

A) A solution to the global energy crisis

B) Extraordinary advances in technology.

C) The latest developments of medical science

D) Scientists’ vision of the world in half a century

2. According to Harvard professor Steven Pinker, predictions about the future_____.

A) may invite trouble

B) may not come true

C) will fool the public

D) do more harm than good

3. Professor Bruce Lahn of the University of Chicago predicts that____.

A) humans won’t have to donate organs for transplantation

B) more people will donate their organs for transplantation

C) animal organs could be transplanted into human bodies

D) organ transplantation won’t be as scary as it is today

4. According to professor Richard Miller of the University of Michigan, people will____.

A) life for as long as they wish

B) be relieved from all sufferings

C) live to 100 and more with vitality

D) be able to live longer than whales

5.Priceton professor Freeman Dyson thinks that____.

A) scientists will find alien life similar to ours

B) humans will be able to settle on Mars

C) alien life will likely be discovered

D) life will start to evolve on Mars

6.According to Princeton professor Richard Gott, by setting up a self-sufficient colony on Mars, Humans_____.

A) might survive all catastrophes on earth

B) might acquire ample natural resources

C) Will be able to travel to Mars freely

D)Will move there to live a better life

7.Ellen Heber-Katz, professor at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, predicts that_____.

A) human organs can be manufactured like appliances

B) people will be as strong and dynamic as supermen

C) human nerves can be replaced by optic fibers

D) lost fingers and limbs will be able to regrow

8. Rodney Brooks says that it will be possible for robots to work with humans as a result of the development of _____

9. The most significant breakthrough predicted by Bill Joy will be an inexhaustible green energy source that can’t be used to make__.

10. According to Geoffrey Miller, science will offer a more practical, universal and rewarding moral framework in place of_______.


1.D 2.B

3.A 4.C

5.C 6.A


8. artificial intelligence

9. weapons

10. religion

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