Friday, April 14, 2017

TEFLpocolypse: Endgame

There's a story -- most likely not accurate -- that the early indigenous people, when they first saw the boats of the Europeans crawling over the horizon, simply couldn't see them. Their brains just didn't register something so far out of their experience and frame of reference.

(Perhaps they were just choosing not to swallow the red pill, eh?)

Now that's probably crap, of course. This article suggests they were too busy surviving to react until the explorers got close enough to deal with, for example.

Most certainly, even if they saw the ships, they had no idea they were the beginning of the end of their civilization.

Now, I think of that whenever I look at my smart phone.

The end of my job, and most jobs, as we know them, is just sitting there in our pockets.

I visited the city of Xi'an last week during a long weekend, to see the Terracotta Warriors. See, the emperor thought he could take his army with him to the other side, in the form of 8000 clay statues, but little did he know their heads would fall off and they'd just end up a tourist attraction.

Xi'an is not a very cosmopolitan place, and few people speak English; but that doesn't mean a damn thing anymore, because their phones do. 

Taxi drivers, hotel employees, restaurant personnel -- they all talked to us with their smart phones. There are apps now that not only instantly translate text, but translate voice to text (and vice versa) and can scan a word and change it to spoken or written Chinese. And not just crude sentences of a few mangled words, either -- our taxi driver managed to bark a few gruff words of Chinese into his phone and have it produce, "Shall we return to the hotel now?" in a beautiful British accent. 

I mean, of course, most jobs will be eliminated in the very near future by software and robots anyway. Porn and masturbation robots will even eliminate the need for the world's oldest profession. In a world where you can buy a Scarlett Johansen robot for $50,000, who needs humans anyway?  


Anonymous said...

This is why people voted Trump. JOBS JOBS JOBS! (For Americans not Mexicans :)

Jug Jugette said...

Got me a firesale Mrs Thatcher robot. She's an '80s model so when I told her I fancied a spot of anal, she barked, "This lady's not for turning".

Anonymous said...

Yes, thankfully, Donald Trump will destroy technology and we'll all go back to being hunter-gatherers

Darzin said...

Speaking of our fearless leader, ETX you mentioned before that the Russian response to Donald Trumps election was generally positive. Do you think with Trump in power Russians will begin to take a more friendly more 90s view of Americans? Or do the nationalism and rivalry go to deep to be reversed.

englishteacherx said...

I'll write at length later about the state of Russians, 2017, but my prognosis is: somber nationalism and xenophobia for at least the next four or five years.

Anonymous said...

Well, while the idea of the Trump / Putin White Aryan State that encompassed America, Russia, and Europe seemed a possiblity for a while, it looks less likely now. Syria and North Korea will be the flashpoint; global thermonuclear war by 2020, with Syria, Iran, and Russia on one side, and America, Saudi Arabia and what's left of NATO on the other.

Anonymous said...

@X Why if you have a girlfriend in Russia and you speak Russian do you not go teach English in Russia? It seems odd.

I am going to visit some places around Baltic Russia this summer and may look for a job in that region.

englishteacherx said...

the salaries are abyssmal, usually, is the main reason, and I pissed away many years there already.

Anonymous said...

How would you be pissing away your time if you have a girlfriend there?

Anonymous said...

Ten years ago the translation app was barely useable. It seems the app is better, but what may be the culprit is the legions of google nerds freely translating phrases. once the phrase is translated, google applies it to their translation app memory. There will never be a smart translation app, but a passable brute force app.

Still, how will this affect ESL and people learning languages? I'm not sure. Business will still need proper speakers, and socially, people will still need to know the language.

A bigger concern is Skype and Indian/Philipino lessons. What's the story with that?