IELTS Speaking topic - Technology and progress #2 -
IELTS Speaking topic - technology and progress 2 sample questions for IELTS Speaking part 2 and 3 with model answers and useful vocabulary

IELTS Speaking topic – Technology and progress #2

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Talk about a piece of technology that is now obsolete
You should say:

  • what it is
  • how long it has been obsolete
  • why you think it has become obsolete

and say whether you personally still use it

Model answer

I’d like to talk about the compact disc. Their heyday was from early nineties till mid-noughties and people would first use them for listening to music and later to store data such as pictures or software. They were pretty popular with people around me and I used them a lot myself. Coming to think of it, I haven’t seen one for well over a decade.

The reason people moved away from using it is very clear – the Internet. As the web gained higher adoption, no longer reserved for the few like it was in the mid-nineties, it proved to be much easier and efficient and storing and transferring data. People no longer had to burn CDs to share data. Another possible tech advancement that ousted the compact disc was USB flash drive, colloquially referred to as memory stick. It everything a CD would, but quicker, cheaper and in a much more compact form factor.

Do I still use CDs? Well, I have some old music CDs laying around, I play them occasionally for nostalgia’s sake. So I guess you could say I do use them to this day, yeah.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Technology and people

Some people argue that technology is making us more isolated and less social. Do you agree? Why?
On one hand, technology has allowed us to connect with more people than ever before through social media and messenger apps. However, such virtual communication can be superficial and lack the depth and intimacy of face-to-face interactions. Proponents of the argument that technology is making us more isolated and less social also believe that social media can create a false sense of connection and reduce the need for real-world interactions. And indeed, we can see the life examples of this happening in real time – teens are glued to the screens of their phones, paying little attention to people who are around them.

However, it’s not as bad as it might seem. Technology has also made it easier for people to stay in touch with friends and family who may live far away or have busy schedules. Another advantage worth noting is greater access and exposure to social events and communities, enabling people to connect with like-minded individuals they may not have met otherwise. Ultimately, whether technology is making us more reclusive and socially passive depends on how we use it and the balance we strike between virtual and real-world interactions.
With the rise of automation and artificial intelligence, some experts predict that many jobs will be lost in the years ahead. What do you think about this?
This is becoming an issue of growing concern for many. It has been extremely prevalent in the past year, when we saw huge advances in AI and machine learning. People also now have public access to AI models they can play around with, throwing tasks at them and see how impressively effective they are at dealing with those. One particular field seems to be of interest now – programming. A well-phrases prompt that describes the programme you want from the AI will return an immaculately-written code, within seconds and free of charge. One can only guess how much better the machines can get at doing things like this, as well as many other spheres. This could indeed render many professions and even entire industries useless. This is not as horrible as it might sound and eventually the job market will adapt to make room for these newly unemployed specialists. However, the interim period of uncertainty might take a while and people of many professions may indeed struggle to find employment or purpose.
In what ways has technology helped to address some of the world’s most pressing social, economic, and environmental issues?
I’d like to focus on two domains of science technology has helped to develop drastically. One is the education sector, where it made easier for people to get education and learn new skills. There are now numerous online courses, educational apps, and e-learning platforms that have made knowledge accessible to all. Even getting a degree online is possible, and it will have same credibility as the traditional one from university or college. Another sphere which benefitted greatly from progress in technology is agriculture. Various new systems can provide accurate and timely data regarding soil composition, weather patterns, and crop productivity. Farm machines, drip irrigation and other such technologies have also helped increase crop yields and reduce wastage. Consequently, farming is now not as labour intensive and more cost-efficient, which indirectly has made food more affordable.

Progress in our lives

In what ways has the development of technology affected the job market?
From a personal experience, I can say that one one the positive developments tech advancement has brought to the table is the job search procedure. In the past you had to sent your resumes to a number of prospective employers, show up for interviews. This process was pretty arduous and had huge opportunity costs.  Job hunting was a job in its own right, but without providing you any financial compensation, security or useful experience.

Thankfully, the job hunting game has changed thanks to career platforms like LinkedIn. The entire process has been streamlined – you only need to upload your CV to the website and make sure it is up to date. Now employers can search and filter the applicants without going through the hoops of having the person over for preliminary interviewing. The initial meeting now usually takes place online, and if both parties find the collaboration possible, then a formal face-to-face meeting takes place to finalise the employment contract. Isn’t technology wonderful?
Why is progress such an important element in human society?
Progress is a very general term, so in order to address the question in a more focused manner, we have to be specific. Let’s talk about scientific progress first. Developments in areas such as healthcare and medicine drastically improve the quality of life as well as enable people to live longer. Most incurable diseases are a thing of the past nowadays thanks to breakthroughs in biochemistry and medical practice in general. Same could be said about affordability of previously prohibitively expensive medication.

One other example of progress is that of a different kind – societal and cultural. Humanity has learned to understand confessional and cultural differences and be more acceptive to them. People are no longer oppressed for having an alternative lifestyle, like having to kids or not working full-time and enjoying their life instead. The population is more broad-minded nowadays, receptive and welcoming differences, all thanks to progress.
Can progress be achieved without sacrificing cultural values and traditions?
Yes, this is achievable. In fact, incorporating traditional values and cultural practices can often enhance progress and make way for sustainable development.  For instance, a cultural custom of many nationalities to pass on belongings from older generation to younger ones is a great environmental practice. Similarly, many cultures promote spirituality over materialism, which furthers helps reduce carbon print among other thing. Therefore, it is possible for modernization and traditional practices to coexist and complement each other, leading to a more sustainable, environmentally-savvy society.

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