(1)When is the future no longer the future? Only a decade ago, air travel  seemed to be moving continuously towards giant planes, or “superjumbos”. But last year Airbus announced it would cease manufacturing its A380, the world’s fattest passenger jet, as current trends favour smaller and more fuel- efficient airplanes. Progress changed course.A more vivid reminder of lost dreams came almost a year ago: 2 March marked the 50th anniversary of the first flight of the supersonic*1 Concorde. Once upon a time, all airplanes were going to be supersonic. But sometimes, the future is cancelled.

     What if what we think is going to be the future right now is cancelled [   (2)   ] its turn? We are supposedly on an unstoppable path towards driverless vehicles, fully automated internet-connected “smart homes”, and godlike artificial intelligence ― but, then, we’ve been promised flying cars for half a century, and they are still supposedly just around the corner. We live in a time when technological change is portrayed [   (3)   ] an inevitable, impersonal force: (4)we’d better learn how to surf the tsunami or drown. But as a society, we always have a choice about which direction we take next. And sometimes we make the wrong decision.

     For one thing, history is full of technological marvels that were abandoned for reasons that were only reassessed much later. To most people in the late 19th century, when fleets of electric taxis operated in London and Manhattan, the electric car was clearly going to win out over the dirty petrol-driven alternative. But then large stocks of oil were discovered in America, and the future went into reverse. Until, in the late 20th century, global warming and advances in battery technology made electric cars seem like a good idea again. Similarly, analogue music records have enjoyed a major revival in the age of downloaded digital music: not necessarily because they are an objectively better sound format, but because it turned [   (5)   ] that people liked owning their culture as physical objects.

     Just as we revive ideas from the past, we also have the power to bury ideas in the present ㅡ whether for business reasons, like Airbus, or for the wider public good. Technology isn’t just something that happens to us; it’s something we can decide to build and to use, or not. Should we, for example, allow anyone to make changes in the DNA of humans? One of the inventors of the modern gene-editing*2 method Crispr, Jennifer Doudna, thinks notะ she has called for a temporary prohibition of such “germline”*3 editing, because of the potentially disastrous consequences. Many thinkers on machine intelligence, meanwhile ― led by the philosopher Nick Bostrom suggest that the supposedly science-fictional scenario of a conscious AI escaping its box and taking over the world represents such an enormous threat to human existence [   (6)   ] we ought to be taking steps right now to prevent it happening.

     Not much less alarming, and far closer, is the moment when “deep fakes” ― computer-generated pictures and video ― become indistinguishable from the real thing. The scenario might be a computer generated video of a real politician who is well known as, a fluent speaker with plenty of confidence breaking down in tears and admitting he doesn’t understand half of the long words he uses, and this would be impossible to tell from a real TV broadcast. Satisfying [   (7)   ] some individuals in this way, the wider result would be a total loss of confidence, not only in news media but in documentary evidence of many kinds.

     So, as work continues on deep fakes, we are sleepwalking towards a media dystopia*4 in which nothing at all can be trusted, and the only people to benefit will be authoritarian*5 leaders who insist on their own fantastical realities. Therefore, it’s hard not. to think that researchers building deepfake technology right now are actively working, whether they realise it or not, to destroy liberal democracy. Should we just sit back and let them, because, you know, technology will always happen anyway?

     We should not, and it’s time to reject the wider myth that tech has [   (8)   ] to do with politics. We are so used to hearing that technological progress is smooth and inevitable these days that it just seems like common sense. But this idea may not be unrelated to the fact that the people who promote it are mainly the people with a large financial interest in the adoption of new technology. Just as our (9)past futures need not be dead to us, our present future is not certain.

*1 supersonic:超音速の
*2 gene-editing:遺伝子編集の
*3 germline:生殖細胞系列の
*4 dystopia:反ユートピア, 暗黒郷
*5 authoritarian:権威主義の

1. 下線部 (1)When is the future no longer the future? の意味に最も近いものを, つぎの a〜d の中から一つ選びその記号を解答欄にマークせよ。
a. When do we lose all hope in a bright future world?
b. When do we realise an assumed future path is no longer valid?
c. When do we stop feeling nostalgia for an old way of life?
d. When do we know the future will never change again?

2. 空所 [   (2)   ] に入る最も適切な語を, つぎの a〜d の中から一つ選び, その記号を解答棚にマークせよ。
a. in    b. to    c. out    d. of

3. 空所 [   (3)   ] に入る最も適切な語を, つぎの a〜d の中から一つ選び, その記号を解答欄にマークせよ。
a. in    b. as    c. for    d. with

4. 下線部 (4) we’d better learn how to surf the tsunami or drown の意味に最も近いものを, つぎの a〜d の中から一つ選びその記号を解答欄にマークせよ。
a. It is preferable for us to learn how to survive natural disasters like tsunami rather than to learn how to solve problems caused by technological change.
b. It is better for us to learn how to survive natural disasters using new technologies.
c. If we don’t adjust to technological change, we will get fatally damaged.
d. We can prevent technological change from causing serious problems in the future.

5. 空所 [   (5)   ] に入る最も適切な語を, つぎの a〜d の中から一つ選び, その記号を解答構にマークせよ。
a. away    b. in    c. back    d. out

6. 空所 [   (6)   ] に入る最も適切な語を, つぎの a〜d の中から一つ選び, その記号を解答欄にマークせよ。
a. which    b. where    c. who    d. that

7. 空所 [   (7)   ] に入るようにつぎの a〜f の語を並び替え, 2番目と4番目に来るものの記号を解答欄にマークせよ。各語は一回しか使用できない。
a. be    b. it    c. shame    d. as    e. to    f. would

8. 空所 に入る最も適切な語を, つぎの a〜d の中から一つ選び, その記号を解答欄にマークせよ。
a. everything    b. something    c. nothing    d. anything

9. 下線部 を説明するための例として,本文で挙げられたものを, つぎの a〜e の中から一つ選びその記号を解答欄にマークせよ。
a. “deep fakes”    b. “smart homes”    c. supersonic airplanes    d. a conscious Al    e. Crispr

10. 本文の内容に合致するものを, つぎの a〜g の中から一つ選びその記号を解答欄にマークせよ。
a. Like driverless vehicles, flying cars only recently became a common expectation.
b. The electric car was once cancelled to protect the environment.
c. Jennifer Doudna thinks we should use gene-editing methods to change human DNA as soon as possible.
d. “Deep fakes” are becoming far less alarming than a conscious AI.
e. Most people agree with accepting a media dystopia after careful consideration.
f. It is impossible to imagine that researchers could help destroy democracy.
g. The idea that technological progress is inevitable may not be true, but this idea is often promoted for financial reasons.


» (解答例)


1      b
2      a
3      b
4      c
5      d
6      d
7      2番目 b   4番目 a
8      c
9      c
10    g



  (1)未来はいつから未来ではなくなったのか? ほんの10年前までは、航空旅行は巨大な飛行機、つまり「スーパージャンボ」へと継続的に移行しているように見えましたが、昨年、エアバス社は世界で最も大きな旅客機A380の製造を中止すると発表しました。進歩は進路を変えました。失われた夢をより鮮明に思い出させてくれたのは、ほぼ1年前のことでした。3月2日は、超音速のコンコルドが初飛行して50周年を迎えた記念すべき日です。かつて、すべての飛行機は超音速になると言われていました。しかし、未来が白紙撤回されることもあるのです。

    今、私たちが未来だと思っているものが、順々に消されていってしまうとしたら? 私たちは、自動運転自動車や完全に自動化されたインターネットに接続された「スマートホーム」、そして神のような人工知能への止むことのない道を歩んでいる―—しかし、半世紀も前から空飛ぶ自動車は約束されていたのに、それは今だに曲がり角にあります。私たちは、技術の変化が避けられない非人間的な力として描かれる時代に生きているのです。(4)津波に乗る方法を知らなければ溺れてしまう。しかし、社会として、私たちは常に次の方向性についての選択を迫られています。そして時には間違った決断をすることもある。






出典:”Wake up, humanity! A hi-tech dystopian future is not inevitable” Steven Poole(The Guardian 紙より一部改変)


本文はイギリスの作家・ジャーナリストであるSteven Poole氏によるコラムで、ちょうど出題の1年前に英紙「ガーディアン」に掲載されたものです。

タイトルは「Wake up, humanity! A hi-tech dystopian future is not inevitable」であり、訳すと「人類よ目を覚ませ!ハイテクディストピアの未来は不可避ではない」となる。技術革新が必ずしも人類に貢献する訳ではなく、寧ろ自由民主主義の枠組みを破壊しかねないものになる危険がある、と警鐘を鳴らしています。


問6に引っ掛かる受験生は多いかもしれません。後ろの文が完全文なので空欄(6)には that を入れるのが適切です。

問7は難問です。分子構文であることは分かると思いますが、このSatisfyは自動詞として使われています。as it would be ~ は「~であることが予期されるように」とか「~であるようには」などの意味。


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