March 31

English C1 Speaking: Talking About Artificial Intelligence – Part 1

How to talk about artificial intelligence in C1 Speaking? Let’s find out!


Hello, this is Kristian from Cambridge Advanced Speaking, how are you doing today? I’m happy as Larry that you’re listening and I hope you’re ready to learn some English with me.

If you didn’t know, I run the website Get Ready For Success, and there you can find the audio files, videoclips and lesson notes for all the podcast episodes.

I create and share these learning materials, because I want to help you become a confident communicator on your exam day, and beyond.

In addition, I’m also the founder of the C1 Speaking Club. The what??

The C1 Speaking Club.

In this private community we help each other go from struggling speaker to confident communicator. How do we do that? Well, we talk about different kinds of interesting topics in natural spoken English, and we do that in several ways:

  1. Weekly challenges;
  2. Weekly live lessons on Zoom;
  3. Weekly speaking rooms on Zoom with help from an app called Twine;
  4. A monthly book club.

All these things happen in a safe, private environment. No Facebook group, no LinkedIn group, no Telegram or WhatsApp group. It’s our own speaking community built with the amazing software of

Officially we launch on April 10th with a 5-day Idiom Challenge, but next week we start with our first live lessons.

If all of this sounds interesting to you, and you would like to take part in all the action to improve your speaking skills, then check out the C1 Speaking Club page at

All right, let’s dive into the topic of today: artificial intelligence (AI).


Let’s start this episode with a BBC News article that was published earlier this week. The headline is: Elon Musk among experts urging a halt to AI training.

Key figures in artificial intelligence want training of powerful AI systems to be suspended amid fears of a threat to humanity. They have signed an open letter warning of potential risks, and say the race to develop AI systems is out of control. Twitter chief Elon Musk is among those who want training of AIs above a certain capacity to be halted for at least six months. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and some researchers at DeepMind also signed.

The article then mentions OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT. This startup recently released GPT-4 – a state-of-the-art technology, which has impressed observers with its ability to do tasks such as answering questions about objects in images.

Now, this news item was not only on the BBC. It was everywhere. AI, and in particular ChatGTP, are a hot topic these days. And between you and me, I think this is just the very beginning. Therefore, it’s important to develop some ideas to talk about this topic, whether it’s in your C1 exam or in everyday life.

A definition of AI

All right, let’s start with a definition of AI. For this definition I used Goole search and ChatGTP. I asked the question:

What is AI in layman’s terms (simple language that anyone can understand. “The process was explained to us in layman’s terms”.)


Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as understanding natural language, recognising images, making decisions, and solving problems.

AI is achieved through a combination of machine learning, which allows computer systems to learn from data, and algorithms, which provide instructions for the system to follow.

The goal of AI is to create intelligent machines that can think, reason, and learn like humans, and perform tasks that are too difficult, time-consuming, or dangerous for humans to perform. Some examples of AI in everyday life include virtual personal assistants like Siri and Alexa, facial recognition technology, and self-driving cars.

Google search:

Artificial intelligence (AI) involves using computers to do things that traditionally require human intelligence. AI can process large amounts of data in ways that humans cannot. The goal for AI is to be able to do things like recognise patterns, make decisions, and judge like humans.

Cambridge Dictionary:

The use of computer programs that have some of the qualities of the human mind, such as the ability to understand language, recognise pictures, and learn from experience.

A simplified definition:

Machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions.

The key thing to remember is the phrase “to think and act like humans do”.

Examples of AI

Now that we know how to define Artificial Intelligence, let’s look at some examples. You know that I’m a big fan of using examples in your exam answers to clarify your opinion.

So, to help you get some ideas, I asked Chat GTP the following question: Could you give some examples of AI? Here is the answer:

  1. Virtual Personal Assistants: Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, and other virtual assistants use natural language processing to understand and respond to users’ requests.
  2. Image and Speech Recognition: Image recognition technology is used in applications such as self-driving cars, facial recognition, and security systems. Speech recognition technology powers virtual assistants and interactive voice response systems.
  3. Recommendation Systems: Recommendation systems like those used by Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify use machine learning algorithms to analyse user behaviour and recommend products, movies, or music that users may like.
  4. Chatbots: Chatbots are computer programs designed to simulate human conversation. They are used by businesses to provide customer service, answer questions, and offer support.
  5. Self-Driving Cars: Self-driving cars use a combination of sensors, machine learning, and decision-making algorithms to navigate roads and traffic safely.

These are just a few examples of AI, but there are many more applications and use cases.

Great! Thanks ChatGTP! Now we have at least 5 examples we could talk about in our C1 exam, or in our everyday life conversations.

Questions about AI

Now that we have 5 examples, let’s look at 5 questions you could get in your C1 exam. And by the way, I think it’s also a good idea to think about these questions in your everyday life. I mean to say, this is an extremely important topic for all of us, right?

All right, here are 5 questions:

  1. How has artificial intelligence changed the way we work?
  2. How will artificial intelligence change the way we work in the future?
  3. How will artificial intelligence change the way we communicate in the future?
  4. Is artificial intelligence a good or a bad thing?
  5. What are the positives and negatives of artificial intelligence?

Now, I want you to pay special attention to the types of questions. You could easily change artificial intelligence to ‘the internet’, ‘technology’, ‘self-driving cars’, ‘globalisation’, or ‘remote work’.

Closing Notes

Okay then, in this episode we have been talking about definitions, examples and questions. In the next episode I’m going to teach you how to structure your answers, and I will give you a couple of model answers. So keep your eyes peeled for the next one.

I hope you enjoyed this episode! If you did, please share it with someone who could benefit from it.

If you are interested in getting more content to practise, review and repeat this lesson, I’d suggest subscribing to my mailing list.

In the email about this episode, I’ll share language you can use to talk about artificial intelligence. Collocations and idioms.

So, if you want to learn more about this topic, I highly encourage you to subscribe to my email lessons. You’ll also get a brand-new ebook that I wrote for you.

All right, that’s all from me. Take care of yourself, and each other.

Speak soon, my friends.


About the Author

As a Dutch proficient speaker of English, Kristian not only holds a grade A Cambridge C2 certificate but is also CELTA qualified. His five years of experience as a teacher and ESL exam coach, specialising in Cambridge English C1, C2, and IELTS, has equipped him with a unique blend of skills to guide and support your English learning journey.

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