【写作】2017“外研社杯”写作大赛决赛记叙文佳作展示

记叙文赛题
 
        Read the beginning of the story below and complete it in 600-800 words.
 
        The alarm wakes him. Lin jumps to his feet. Thursday, December 6, 2035, perhaps the most important day in his life. After a series of online tests he has made it to the final stage: a face-to-face interview. He dresses himself quickly but carefully. He is well aware that he will face four competitors, two humans and two humanoid robots. He was not quite sure who were the humans during the online conversations, though. Well, he doesn't really mind working with a robot which has human intelligence and emotions as well as a human face and flesh; nor does he mind taking it as an equal.
        Will he be one of the two luckiest to get the job? He's ready to be tested…
 
选手作品展示
邬可馨
石河子大学
2017“外研社杯”全国英语写作大赛一等奖
(指导老师:崔建强老师)
 
        为真实展示选手赛场上的写作风貌,文章为从iTEST 大学外语测试与训练系统中摘出的原生作品,仅供学习分享使用。
 
        Lin's friend, Lee, is one of the competitors. They grew up together and surely he is the one Lin least expects to see. Lee is not prepared to be eliminated, though. He has obtained a PhD degree from a prestigious University. For the last two months, the HR manager has been inviting him to apply for this position. It seems pretty obvious that Lee, this young and accomplished man, with a bright future ahead of him, is definitely going to get the job, even though he will confront those so-called mighty robots.
        "What is that again? Human Intelligence." He scrolls down the web page introducing the types of the two humanoid robots he is going to meet. "I prefer this one. She was set to be more docile. She might be a good friend, well, when I am in need."
        "Type C112345." Lee tells the type of that female robot to phone.
        "And what level of control would you like to access, Sir?" coming from the other end of the phone.
        "Well, let's make it the top level." He replies. After paying 1o, ooo grand for it, he receives a link to an application called RB control.  He opens the app, and laughs out insanely when the control options pop on the screen.
        With his head held so high and hair pressed so neatly, he enters the company gate. He turns off his phone, and starts glancing at people, until he finally sets his eyes on a similar figure of a man.
        "Lin! My old friend! What a surprise!" Lee marches forward.
        Lin, on the other hand, is not so pleased to see him. His body freezes when that very voice of Lee's comes from his back." Dear Lord, please, not that man." And as he is praying, he turns to the origin of the voice. Well, here Lee is, with that neatly pressed hair like cold stone and that oily warm smile.
        As Lee is shaking his hands and hugging him from various angles, the HR manager approaches, calling the two guys inside and that is when Lee is finally able to let go of Lin's fragile body. Lee naturally sits in the very middle of the room, while Lin gets a seat beside Lee, and the three other competitors enter. Lee stares at the only lady. The lady is wearing a very decent black dress and looks absolutely smart. He instantly takes out the phone and starts to change everything.
        "Intelligence, down to 4. Eloquence, down to 3....." As he murmurs, the brightness in the lady's eyes start to fade. She was talking to one of the men, but suddenly, she was stammering and speaking with a lot of grammar mistakes. 
        " I name is Mary. I from near and I want get this job...."  The lady starts introducing herself, and apparently, this introduction is not good enough.
        "I am sorry, but are you sure your name is Mary? As in , the Mary whom I sent the interview offer to?" The HR manager speaks with slight irritation, while he is flipping Mary's file.
        Tear starts to fill the lady's eyes. She cannot explain what is going on with her brain.
        Lin has witnessed everything about Lee manipulating this lady. He pinches Lee's left hand and says, " Stop it right now, or I will report you I swear it!"
        Lee gives him a pat on his back ," Well, mate, you haven't changed a bit. "
        Lin feels disgusted; he raises his hands and asks for permission to go to the toilet. Lee as well, says he wants to go along. The second after they leave the room, Lee stops Lin and whispers," I want to show you something. Shh, promise me you will not laugh out." 
        Before Lin can refuse, of course he knows it is going to be about insulting the poor lady inside, Lee starts to make changes again. "Intelligence, down to 1. Eloquence, down to 2. Temperament, let's, make it, bad." again, that smile appear on his face." You know, Lin, I wasn't going to get this far. I was going to make her just a little less excellent than me. But now that you are going to report me. I might as well jeopardize everything. Andthat is so fun, just look at her!"
        The lady is speaking, but no one can understand. She is sweating and everyone inside seems reluctant to listen to her. And she starts yelling, screaming, stomping her feet like a crazy woman.  In the end, she slams the door and runs away, as Lee watching her and laughing.
        Lin runs after her, calling out her name," Mary! Mary!"  and finally able to stop her from running any further. “I know that you are a humanoid robot. I just want to tell you the truth. My friend Lee has been changing you statistics. And that is why you are acting all strange inside. If you are willing, let's go back inside, and I will give you justice."
        "I know." Mary wiped away her tears and sweats.
        "What?" Lin seems confused.
        "It is just the way it is. It is our business. We act like being controlled, because that is what you human beings are obsessed with, isn't it?" She says it so easily, and starts to adjust her collars and dress.
        "No, I assure you not. No one is like Lee, he is crazy, and I assure you no one is as crazy as him!" Lin tries to explain.
        "Thank you. I know you are not like him. You are one of the good ones. But, brother, I have made a lot of money doing this; so, stay out of my business, will you?"
        Lin watches Mary walk away with all her poise. And he is just not able to explain anything anymore.
 
名师点评

田朝霞老师

田朝霞老师
        南京师范大学外国语学院教授、英语语言文学专业文学博士。《“外研社杯”全国英语写作大赛参赛指南》作者。2015、2016、2017“外研社杯”全国英语写作、阅读大赛决赛评委,2015年在“外研社杯”大学生英语挑战赛总决赛闭幕式上担任写作大赛点评专家,2016、2017年担任阅读大赛点评专家。曾担任“外研社杯”全国英语演讲大赛决赛评委、“‘外研社杯’全国英语演讲大赛”系列丛书点评专家。
 
        这篇故事续写在近百篇作文中也是比较独特,容易让人记住的一篇。给人深刻印象的内容至少有两处:Lee对人工智能的控制与玩弄;智能机器人的负面人性化,那种被腐蚀和堕落的倾向。
        下面从内容、组织和语言三个维度看看这篇作文的优点与不足。
        应该说,这篇作文的亮点主要在其内容方面第一,故事的主旨较为明确。作者意在揭示,在高度发展的AI时代,AI仍然受人类的掌控,甚至玩弄;而被人性化的AI表现出被腐蚀,并甘于堕落的一面。这一主题通过画面描写和背景烘托来表现。一方面,作者刻意描写了智能机器人(以Mary为例)的发展在20年后所达到的高度,其智力、情感已与真正的人类接近,难辨真伪;另一方面,作者从反面刻画智能机器的一切智能如何受控于人类,如Lee如何调控Mary的智力与情绪。第二,故事情节跌宕起伏,自然展开,人物鲜活。故事一开始对Lee的登场做了处理,从与“我”摩擦的细节描写,读者对Lee的人品产生质疑。接着,智能机器人Mary登场,虽然各方面表现与人类无差,但很快在Lee的操纵下,出尽洋相,这使得Lin以及读者对Mary充满了同情,对Lee充满厌恶。作者对于主要人物的性格描绘得较为充分:Lin的善良与正义、Lee的邪恶与玩世不恭,以及Mary的可怜与可恨。第三,结尾出人意料。正当Lin希望为Mary伸张正义之时,Mary却表现出被腐蚀并甘于堕落的状态。这一被人性化的智能机器人以其“人类的写照”讽刺了人类社会的丑陋。故事结尾的出人意料可以圈红,但是整个故事读下来却给人一种莫名的不舒服感,因为故事的作者对于这种现状的解释和态度不够明朗,甚至没有能激发更深层次的思考。这样的故事给我们怎样的启示和建设性的帮助呢?这一点笔墨明显不够。
        从组织方面看,这篇作文也处理得较为成功。1)对话和描写较为成功地呈现了人物的性格;2)Lee通过对Intelligence、Eloquence和Temperament的调控来调控机器人,这个部分极富想象力;3)欲扬先抑(先尽量凸显Lee的可恶以及Mary的可怜)使用较为成功。故事的发展脉络清晰,过渡较为自然。当然,一些逻辑环节还不太清楚,例如,Lee跟Mary什么关系,凭什么能够控制Mary?为什么Mary说他们通过这种方式挣到很多钱?智能机器人以怎样的方式存在于人类社会中?为什么智力水平可以调控到很低,而真实表现出来的情商(例如了解人情世故、懂得八面玲珑)却不能呢?这些较细的逻辑环节未能交代。
        这篇作文的语言并非亮点。虽然语言能够表达故事发展,对话也算流畅,也能够刻画和烘托人物性格,换言之,从句法和词汇使用来看还可以。但是,从语言的规范与整洁角度,这篇作文不能称为高水平的范本。这些细节方面的瑕疵几乎遮掩了词汇使用上的优势。问题表现在至少两个方面。第一,拼写(如1o,ooo等)、空格(如多余空格、上引号后空格)、标点(如逗号句号之前空格而之后不空格、不规范省略号等)方面的疏忽过多。卷面不够neat。第二,出现一些不该出现的语法错误。如,动词用法的错误:tell sth. to sb.;甚至流水句:My friend Lee, has been changing you statistics, that is why you are acting all strange inside等。故事虽好,但这些不规范的语言使用给人不够严谨的印象。
        如果重点关注语言使用,这篇作文很可能难以脱颖而出。但是,瑜不掩瑕,瑕不掩瑜。当大部分故事较为平淡,缺乏跌宕起伏的情节发展,寓意也缺乏深刻性的情况下,这一篇便突显出来。
        在这次作文大赛中,读到最多的故事是:Lin在面试的路上,或在面试过程中,甚至在面试之后,出现一个小插曲,主要表现出人有情感,而机器人没有,所以最终人类被选上。还有其他故事意在表现机器人必定不如人类,还有一些作文故事脉络不清楚,没有高潮等等。频繁出现雷同的故事、故事不够生动或者没有故事,这都是缺乏想象力的表现。归根结底,出于至少两个原因:第一是陷入俗套,“不敢越雷池一步”;第二是思维僵化,不能深入洞察。
        这里,想再说两句续写故事任务所要求的创造性思维和批判性思维能力。人们常将创造性思维(creative thinking)与批判性思维(critical thinking)对立起来,其实不然。缺乏想象力可能是因为缺乏批判性思维能力。创造性思维与批判性思维密不可分(“Criticality assesses; creativity originates.”)。(有关创造性思维和批判性思维之间的关系,这里不赘述。感兴趣的同学可以阅读“思想者系列丛书”之《批判性思维与创造性思维》。)
        总体来说,这一篇作文仍是一篇较为成功的故事续写。

关注“外研社Unipus”公众号
每日坐收专业有趣的外语知识