Idea of Progress (Baccalauréat expression orale en anglais)



I’m going to talk about the notion of « Idea of Progress » and illustrate my point with one aspect of this theme: scientific breakthroughs. Progress is the idea that the world is becoming increasingly better so we can wonder: to what extent do scientific breakthroughs illustrate the notion of progress? First I’d like to mention their impact on societies and on development. Then I will talk about their seamy side.

First of all, some people created the Internet which has social impacts It changed the way of communication thanks to the social networks. You use them to speak, share something with people who live away from you for instance.
The Internet has also an impact on the economy. We studied a document about online shopping which is a better way of doing your shopping as it provides services that supermarket does not provide. You can have yours goods delivered at home. Consumers associations can give you some advice.
Then the Internet has also made things evolve; in developing countries, basic welfare is not enough, people generally need access to the Internet. We studied a document which shows that Internet helps famers, rural artists and craftsmen to check the going prices and reach a global market for their products.
In the medical field, scientists can select embryos and eliminate those carrying diseases like the Down syndrome or the Cystic Fibrosis. It makes babies avoid a life that their parents do not want them to bear.
Scientists like Marie Curie discovered radioactivity and this discovery is used to supply big cities with the electricity.

But these breakthroughs have downsides.
Radioactivity was used to make atomic bombs during the Second World War with the Manhattan project. The bombs killed lots of people like inhabitants of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
Scientists think that they can control births and deaths whereas it’s supposed to be something natural. There are the dangers of eugenics and selective breeding and all those manipulations raise ethical issues. Scientists should not have the power to decide who can survive and who should die.
On the Net all data circulating is not reliable all the time: there are extremist websites, viruses, spam, criminal networks, etc…
There are also dangerous people on the Internet. Children are easy preys when it comes to meeting people online. On a photo, we studied; we see that virtual relationship can be altogether different from reality.
On the Internet, there are hackers. They know how to spy on secret, personal and highly sensitive data which may harm people, especially as the Net has unlimited memory.
The internet has made some people hooked on the internet, especially teenagers. We studied a comic strip on which a young couple only live and communicate through the internet because of the social networks. The drawer underlines the paradox between the web connection and the word disconnection.

To conclude the Internet and scientific breakthroughs are new discoveries which seems to lead the word to progress but for several years, people has been discovering seamy sides that should force people to be more cautious. In fact scientific discoveries are a double-edged sword.
We can draw a parallel between the Internet and the notion Spaces and Exchanges.


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