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“The Future of Robots”



Pre-Listening Question

  1. Brainstorming: Begin by asking students to brainstorm everything they know or think about robots. You can write their ideas on the board, creating a mind map or list of words and phrases associated with robots. Encourage students to think about where robots are currently used and what roles they might play in the future.

  2. Predictions: Have students predict what the interview might be about based on the title and any relevant background information. Ask them to share their predictions with a partner or the class. After listening to the interview, they can compare their predictions with the actual content.

  3. Vocabulary Preview: Introduce key vocabulary related to the topic of robots. Provide definitions, synonyms, or example sentences for words such as “self-driving car,” “classroom instruction,” “store assistant,” and “negotiate.” This will help students better understand the conversation.

  4. Discussion Questions: Ask students to discuss the following questions in pairs or small groups before listening to the interview: a. Where do you currently encounter robots or automated systems in your daily life? b. Can you imagine any potential benefits or drawbacks of robots becoming more common in various settings? c. What concerns or challenges do you foresee in the future of robots?

  5. Opinion Poll: Conduct a quick poll in the class by asking students to raise their hands in response to statements related to the interview, such as “Do you think self-driving cars will reduce accidents?” or “Would you trust a robot to assist you in a store?” This can lead to a class discussion on differing opinions.

Vocabulary and Expressions

disaster (noun): a sudden and widespread catastrophic event causing significant damage or disruption.
– The earthquake was a disaster that left many people homeless and in need of assistance.

tolerate (verb): to allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of something without interference or objection.
– The teacher cannot tolerate disruptive behavior in the classroom and enforces strict rules.

negotiate (verb): to engage in discussions to reach an agreement or settlement, especially in a business or diplomatic context.
– The two countries are currently negotiating a trade deal to benefit both their economies.

rise up (phrasal verb): rebel or fight against a higher authority, often with the intention of overthrowing it.
– The citizens decided to rise up against the oppressive government and demand their rights.

self-awareness (noun): conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires.
– Developing self-awareness is an important part of personal growth and emotional intelligence.

Listening Comprehension Questions

Now, watch the interview and answer the comprehension questions. You can also turn on the automatically-generated captions for the video once you start it.


Randall: In this video, Aubrey, let’s talk about the future of robots. And we realize that we find robotics in many parts of our lives, in factories, and so forth. But what do you imagine the future will be like with robots? Even in our homes like this little one that is, uh, that looks like, uh, whipping up a meal.

Aubrey: Yeah, I guess that depends on how you define robot. Like does a robot like, have to have moving parts? Like. Like the one in the picture? Does a self-driving car count as a robot?

Randall: I think so.

Aubrey: Because I’m hoping we have more of those because, you know, research has showed that, you know, self-driving cars get in a lot fewer accidents than humans do. And I hate driving, so that would be nice.

Randall: Okay. What about robots in the classroom? Could you ever see a robot taking over classroom instruction?

Aubrey: Oh, that sounds like a disaster ready to happen.

Randall: In what way?

Aubrey: I mean, the kids are definitely gonna hack that thing.

Randall: What do you, what do you mean?

Aubrey: I mean, some smart kid is gonna take over that robot and it’s gonna be chaos. Yeah, No, that sounds like a disaster.

Randall: Yeah. Well, what about in stores like a store assistant or something like that?

Aubrey: I know that there are some stores that have experimented with that, but I haven’t heard a lot about it. I guess it really depends on to what capacity because is this robot going to tolerate getting yelled at? Will it know what to do when someone’s yelling ridiculous things at it?

Randall: Okay. What about, for example, a used car salesperson? How would you program a robot to actually negotiate in that particular case?

Aubrey: I don’t know. That’s an interesting software problem.

Randall: I mean, you think about it, you know, sometimes people have a tell. In other words, they can look in the person’s eye and tell whether they’re being honest with you, whether they’re trying to, you know, pull a fast one.

Aubrey: Yeah

Randall: I don’t know how that would work.

Aubrey: Yeah, I don’t know. I feel like if we’re going to that point, we’re going more self-awareness. And that’s scary because the robots are going to rise up and kill us all.

Randall: All right, Aubrey. Well, thank you for sharing your thoughts on the future of robots.

Conversation Questions

Intermediate Level:

  1. What is the main topic of the interview?
  2. According to Aubrey, why does she support self-driving cars?
  3. Do you think robots in the future will be more prevalent in our daily lives? Why or why not?
  4. Why is Aubrey concerned about robots taking over classroom instruction?
  5. How do you feel about the idea of robots becoming self-aware, like in science fiction stories?
  6. How do you think society should address the potential challenges posed by increasing automation and the integration of robots into various aspects of our lives?

Advanced Level:

  1. Aubrey raises concerns about children hacking robots in classrooms. Discuss the cybersecurity challenges that could arise in a future where robots play a significant role in education, and how can these challenges be mitigated?
  2. The interview mentions the idea of robots as used car salespersons. Explore the complexities of programming a robot to negotiate and recognize human behavior and emotions during a negotiation. What technological advancements would be necessary for this to become a reality?
  3. In your view, what should be the guiding principles and regulations for the future development and integration of robots in various sectors, including healthcare, education, and commerce? How can we strike a balance between technological progress and potential risks?

ChatGPT was used collaboratively to prepare some of the discussion questions for this lesson.
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