Has man a future?
Liang Shuming, a Chinese philosopher who spent 70 years of his life seeking an answer to this question, held the belief that the world would get better every day. However, as the fast development of modern society has brought unprecedented challenges to mankind, this lingering question continues to provoke deep thought, reflection, doubt or even fear. For example, Igor Morski, a Polish graphic designer, has created a series of pictures depicting some of the lurking problems in today’s world that will endanger rather than improve people’s lives. Some scholars even warn that if severe threats like nuclear weapons and climate change remain unchecked, “the doomsday clock is on the verge of striking.”
What is your answer to this question? Write an essay with YOUR OWN TITLE, clearly stating your opinion and supporting your ideas with reasons and examples. You should write about 800 words.
当我一开始看到题目“Has man a future?”的时候，我第一时间想到的是各种的“世纪末日论”，包括电影2012、核威胁与核泄漏、全球变暖、人工智能AlphaGo打败韩国棋王李世石等等的素材。
最终我进行取舍，选择了第二个方向，因为比赛写作与平时的写作不同，构思的时间很短，这个时候必须要有策略性地取舍，假如采用第一个方向的话，虽然深度够，但是很容易会写到一半素材不够或者观点贫乏，适合平时有比较长准备时间的写作；而采用第二个方向的话，则让我感觉下笔如有神，素材很容易想出来，而且“Has man a future?”的“future”本身就是涵盖了很多方面、比较泛，如果仅从一个方面论证，说服力度也不够大。
We Are More Than We Assume
With the ocean flooding, and the sky darkening, people are fleeing on the streets, with their feet trembling in panic. This sort of scenario has been depicted repeatedly in the science fiction films, such as 2012. Sometimes, we question ourselves, "Are we human beings doomed to extinct some day?" No one, including the scientists, can now give an affirmative answer to this thought-provoking question. Yet, having been through decades of speculations and prophecies about whether we are doomed, we are still here, and we are still living, and breathing. As an optimist, I reckon that we, mankind, are destined to have a promising future.
There are, however, several myths about humans' doom. One of the commonly held misbeliefs is that human race would be wiped out one day by the environmental problems triggered by our own deeds. Indeed, environmental problems are one of the headaches for humans, and some of them were generated by our behaviors. However, the situation is being improved continuously. First, nature is endowed with the capability to purify itself. An environmentalist once told me that nature is more powerful than we presume, and every minute it is amending and readjusting itself to the environment. For instance, nature purifies the contaminated water by rainfall and waterflow. Another very crucial factor in sustaining the ecological balance is humans per se. As a renowned Chinese proverb goes, those who tied the bell are the ones who can untie it. Since this status quo is mainly attributed to our behaviors, we are the ones who can actually resolve this issue. As we can see, humans are now making concerted endeavor in tackling the thorny environmental problems and we have also achieved tangible progress in various spheres, namely water conservation, wildlife protection, the prevention of deforestation and so forth.
Another prevalent misconception is that with the advancement of the devastating and massive nuclear weapons, human beings are doomed to kill each other and end up perishing in wars. Admittedly, the development of nuclear weapons might inevitably bring about some disputes and conflicts. But staggering statistics manifest that for the past few decades after the second world war, the number of wars throughout the world is plunging on the whole, despite our weapons being more destructive. So from my perspective, instead of escalating wars, we are refraining from provoking wars. The first possible justification for this is that humans are born with an amicable mind, as is contended by Confucius. When our malicious thoughts outflow the verge of our brain, we tend to try our utmost to restrain our mind. Another reason might be the fact that every single country in the world is endeavoring to develop their own military technologies and weapons to guard itself and its citizens from suffering from wars. Even North Korea is devising its own nuclear weapons to prevent the rest of the world from offending it. So with each country becoming more capable of safeguarding its own territory and sovereignty, those powerhouses like the US dare not to make irrational move to wage a war for the sake of its own citizens’ safety. Third, the vast majority of nations in the world know pretty well that collaboration brings more benefits than wars do. Countries in different regions are resorting to regional and global cooperation, and international organizations, such as the UN, and APEC, are helping to actualize mutual benefits and win-win outcome.
Lastly, it is universally misperceived that artificial intelligence would lead to the extinction of human race. Indeed, artificial intelligence might outperform us in certain aspects. For example, AlphaGo triumphed over the best chess player in the world this year. However, we cannot use this example to overgeneralize that artificial intelligence has excelled humans' intelligence, because there are still many things that we can do whereas AI cannot do. Personally speaking, artificial intelligence would not bring the doom to us. First and foremost, humans' brains are more complicated than the artificial intelligence. According to a research conducted by a group of American scientists, for our whole lifetime, most of our brains are merely developed for 20%, and 80% of our potential is yet to be exploited and unleashed. Secondly, artificial intelligence does not have its own emotions, at least for now. All the actions are predetermined by the programmer. Emotions and our own impulse sometimes can drive us to do some irrational things. So if the artificial intelligence does not possess emotions, that means most of its actions are logical and rational. Thirdly, artificial intelligence, in essence, is merely a tool and its actions depend on the users. Since its users are, very obviously, humans, we can actually control artificial intelligence if we can regulate its users' own behaviors.
Has man a future? When we contemplate this question, we are inquiring something unsubstantiated. But what I can tell you is that even though we worried a lot, every day when I woke up, I could always see the sun rising in the dawn, and I could see a prospective future is awaiting us.
这篇议论文立意新颖、独特，与常见论说文使用的立论写法不同，采取了驳论的写法。文章开头先呈现悲观情景，进行质疑，指出其错误的实质（No one, including the scientists, can now give an affirmative answer to this thought-provoking question.），并对此进行驳斥（Yet, having been through decades of speculations and prophecies about whether we are doomed, we are still here, and we are still living, and breathing.），最后，提出自己鲜明的立场（As an optimist, I reckon that we, mankind, are destined to have a promising future.），作为全文主旨句或总论。
one of the commonly held misbeliefs; another prevalent misconception; it is universally misperceived that …）。然后，批驳错误论点，同时提出自己的论点，非常清楚地体现出驳论文中破与立的结合，注意作者使用的连接词语：（第一段Indeed, … However, 第二段Admittedly, … But, 第三段Indeed, … However）。最后，从几个要点（supporting ideas）入手，并借助例证、数据、名言警句、名人等进行说明解释，层层深入，对自己的论点进行充分论证，从过渡词语（first, first and foremost, secondly, another, third, thirdly, etc.）可以很清楚地看出作者清晰的思维与严密的逻辑组织。另外，作者对自己论点的论证都占据各段内容的大部分篇幅，更好地突出了全文的重点，即对文首中自己的立场观点做出支持和论证，而不是对错误的观点展开长篇大论。
在结尾段，作者以写作题目中所给出的问题开始，较好地呼应了文首段，接着对文中的讨论进行简要归纳，最后在结尾句重申自己的立场观点I could see a prospective future is awaiting，与全文主旨句前后呼应（promising--prospective）。
纵观全文，作者采用的论证结构为：总分总，各段展开方式平行一致，呈现出反-正这样的对立写法（counter—argument—author’s own argument + supporting points）。作文逻辑性强，语言准确、鲜明、严密；段落间有非常清楚的逻辑关系，如总分、并列等，并借助过渡性词语突出这种关系。
建议将第二段开头的那句，并到第一段的最后一句中，构成全文的总论或主旨句，涵盖后面段落的分论点，如：As an optimist, I reckon that we, mankind, are destined to have a promising future, though there are several myths about humans’ doom. 或者As an optimist, I reckon that we, mankind, are destined to have a promising future, despite the fact that there are several myths about humans’ doom.