Why taxing robots is not a viable economic solution

Why taxing robots is not a viable economic solution

Robots are one of the hottest properties in the world of technology. The technology, or at least the concept, is nothing new. Since the turn of the 1900s. there have been tales of killer robots from the future and/or other planets coming to earth to wipe us all out.

Fast forward to modern times and robot technology has evolved into to a much more sophisticated and efficient proposition. Many modern industries rely on robots to automate their manufacturing process. Ever since the first ‘model t’ ford rolled off the assembly line, robots have been destined to take our place performing repetitive tasks without the need for breaks, wages or HR management.

The Future Of Robotics

The future, however, paints a more bleak picture for many of us, with robots now becoming smarter, more agile and coupled with big data and artificial intelligence seem on a more dystopian path of dominance that Henry Ford himself could’ve dreamed of, although we’re not quite on the Orwellian scale just yet. Self-driving cars, drones and the internet of things are now considered commonplace. Taxi drivers, truck drivers, pilots and many others risk losing their jobs to autonomous vehicles.

Companies such as Über, Tesla, and Google’s Lyft have all successfully tested self-driving cars and have predicted that robots will be driving all of its cars by 2021 but it’s the successful tests in Europe by large truck manufacturers like Volvo, Scania, Man and others that threaten millions of jobs worldwide.

mars-67522
Advanced robots like The Mars Rover are already exploring worlds we can’t.

The Threat Of AI

Artificial intelligence and the use of it to perform much more complex tasks is a much greater threat to us all however. Doctors, lawyers, scientists and many others risk losing their jobs to machines that can learn in just days, hours and even minutes what it takes many of us years and even a lifetime to learn.

Aside from manufacturing services, many technology firms in different sectors have seen this trend evolve and are well ahead of the curve in documenting clear machine-to-machine learning service solutions which they themselves offer their clients as a secondary business function. We predict that this will soon become a primary function within the telecommunications sector, for example, where the Internet of Things is seeing unprecedented exponential growth that even a robot couldn’t have predicted in the pre-iPhone era of the early 2000s.

The past tales of killer robots wiping us out may have seemed far-fetched one hundred years ago but the current reality is that we may already be wiping ourselves out and replacing ourselves with machines. Robots, machines and artificial intelligence as we know outperforms us in many tasks.

The Concept Of Taxing Robots

Bill Gates is just one big player who believes we should start to tax robots. As we know robots do not pay tax like humans so this makes perfect sense to me. However, paying taxes is just one thing that robots don’t do that we humans do.

Robots do not commute, take lunch breaks, socialise, buy work clothes or uniforms, drink coffee, spend money or vote. These are all daily routines for many of us. These are routines that many others rely on for their own jobs. Baristas, transport networks, restaurant owners, clothes shops, cafes and bars all rely heavily on commuters, workers taking lunch breaks or socialising after work.

When we replace these workers with machines we also replace the income of many others with nothing. Very soon our cities could become ghost towns with the best outcome most of us can hope for is having some kind of universal income to rely upon and governments are beginning to seriously debate the state of affairs not if but when these eventualities come to pass.

This is not enough for me. Politicians and governments need to do more to protect us all before it’s too late. How soon will it be before we have AI that can more effectively do the job of a politician? Is this what we need before they take action?

Robots do not vote! People vote and it’s time that the people we vote for protect our jobs. Make no mistake, we’re all for technology and advancement. We wouldn’t be so interested in the topic of machine advancement if we weren’t; but surely some legislation is now needed to stop us replacing ourselves before it’s too late and we have passed the tipping point.

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4 tech gadgets for the ultimate festive stocking filler

4 tech gadgets for the ultimate festive stocking filler

Gadgets and technology are increasingly becoming a major part of the Christmas wish list for many tech savvy individuals. I’ve decided to take a look at what I believe are the hottest tech gadgets for the 2016 festive season. I’ve also compared the best from each category to help you decide on the perfect Christmas stocking filler for your gadget crazy loved ones.

1 – Games Consoles

Games consoles are by no means a new entry on this list but the gaming industry is still the hottest property in tech with new gaming titles regularly become record breaking number 1 hits. The gaming industry is now estimated to be worth $100 billion worldwide and competition is fiercer than ever.

Xbox One S

Xbox One S
The Xbox has topped the wish list for many since it exploded into the scene in 2001. The latest edition is The Xbox One S.

The new Xbox features 4K video and streaming, up to 2 TB of storage, HDR and it’s also 40% smaller.

PS4 Pro

ps4-pro

The PS4 Pro is the new kid on the block from Sony and it’s the latest high tech / high spec version of their iconic PlayStation. Like its main rival, The Xbox One S, The PS4 Pro also features 4K Gaming, Video and Streaming.

The rivalry between these two is set to continue this year. If you’re wondering which console to go for you can check out this in depth comparison on Trusted Reviews

NES Classic Edition

 

nes-classic-edition

The NES Classic Edition is a surprise entry on the console list this year and a welcome return from Nintendo who also recently showcased their new Nintendo Switch console.

The NES Classic is a trip down gaming memory lane and is in no way an attempt to compete with the Xbox One S or PS4 Pro. It’s an almost exact replica looks wise of the original Nintendo NES console. The big selling points here are the really affordable price tag which is £49.99 in the UK and $59.99 in The USA and the fact that the console comes with 30 classic NES games already installed.

Unfortunately it’s almost impossible to get your hands on one right now with reports of them selling for crazy money on ebay.

2 – VR Headsets

VR Headsets are another hot product this Christmas and again we see many of the tech giants fighting it out for the top spot. Sony, Facebook, HTC and Google are just some of the big players who have a VR headset on the market right now. Here’s a look at three of the best.

Oculus Rift

oculus-Rift
The Oculus Rift is the headset everyone wants this Christmas. Oculus is owned by Facebook and have been leaders in bringing VR to the public for the last number of years. The Rift must be paired with a PC with recommended minimum power levels required in order to gain the full experience.

There’s some good news for Xbox One owners however with plans to allow Xbox Games be played on The Oculus Rift from next month.

The Rift can also be paired with The Oculus touch as featured in the image above to give a full VR experience to users. A number of Rift and Touch titles are already available.

PSVR

PSVR
The PSVR is the VR Headset from Sony. As you might have already guessed it’s mainly aimed at the PlayStation gaming market. It’s looks pretty slick and features a 5.7″ OLED screen, 360 degree vision and 120 frames per second video display.

It connects with the PS4 as you’d expect and there are already a number of PSVR dedicated games including more familiar titles like Batman Arkham VR and Driveclub VR. Retail price is around €400 in Ireland which is quite competitive compared to the Oculus Rift which costs around €740.

If you need to choose which is right for you both are compared in depth here on wearable.com

Another rival to these two is the more high end and expensive HTC Vive VR Headset.

Google Daydream

The Google Daydream is a mobile VR headset and right now it’s only compatible with Google’s new Pixel Phone and the Moto Z from Motorola. The Daydream is lightweight, comfortable and comes in a range of stylish colours. Users can watch video with a big screen experience and play a variety of games using the mini controller.

Retail price is expected to be €80 in Ireland.

3 – Drones

Drones are becoming increasingly mainstream and affordable and will most likely be on someones list as a way to treat a loved one this Christmas or indeed as a way to treat themselves. There are 3 distinct types of drone available and these include Camera Drones, Racing Drones and Toy Drones.

I’m just going to cover Camera Drones in this blog post but you can look at a more in depth review of the other types available here on MyFirstDrone.com

DJI Phantom 4 Pro

dji-phantom-4

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro is a serious piece of kit for those who are serious about drone flying and capturing stunning images and video. The Phantom 4 Pro isn’t what would be considered an entry level drone and the price tag of €1699 should tell you that. It is however the best drone available to buy right now and comes with some amazing features such as 4K video, 30 minute flight time, 72 KM/H top speed and a 7KM control range.

The device’s controller has a built in screen with a live 1080p video display making the DJI Phantom 4 Pro the most coveted drone on the market right now.

DJI Phantom 3 Standard

dji-phantom-3

The DJI Phantom 3 Standard is a much more affordable drone at €499. It is still however an amazing machine just like all DJI’s range. The Phantom 3 Standard features 2.7K video, 25 minute flight time, Stabilisation technology and much more. The controller can be connected to a smart phone and steam live camera footage in 720p HD video.

Parot Bebop

bebopdrone_red_2.png

The Parot Bebop is a great entry level drone with a number of nifty features. It comes with a 1080p HD camera and control is via a smart phone app. The drone can be used indoors and outdoors and has a lightweight robust design. The cost on the UK site right now is £199 which is a bit better than the €299 on the Irish website.

4 – DSLR Cameras

DSLR Cameras are not just for the photography professional. Yes you can spend thousands of euros, dollars or pounds on a decent one and even more if you decide to team it up with a good range of lenses. There are however some brilliant entry level DSLRs available which cost a few hundred quid and can easily be used by a novice to capture some stunning shots with minimal effort or training.

Here are a few of what I think are the best entry level DSLRs available right now.

Nikon D3300

Nikon-D3300
The Nikon D3300 is in my opinion the best entry level DSLR available. It’s not too bulky, very easy to use and comes with a standard 18-55mm lens. It can capture 24.2 megapixel photos and 1080p HD video. The camera can be set to automatically capture photos using recommended settings or manually for those who are feeling more adventurous and are more advanced in their photography skills.

Canon EOS 1300D

Cannon-EOS-1300D

The Canon EOS 1300D is the main entry level rival to the Nikon D3300. Canon and Nikon have been fighting out for years and both manufacturers have their loyal followers in the photography world.

The EOS 1300D features 18 megapixels, wifi connection, 1080p video capture and the usual 18-55mm lens. It’s user friendly and can also be user on manual mode for more experienced photographers.

Pentax K-50

Pentax-K50
The PENTAX K-50 has many basic features that rival higher priced models.

The K-50 is weather-resistant and dust proof. It allows 1080p full HD movie recording, comes with a number of digital filters and can be powered using standard AA-size batteries. The K-50 is available in 120 different colours with 16 megapixels and can be bought lens free or with the standard 18-55mm lens for around €500.

 

Snapchat Spectacles Officially On Sale Through Snapbots

Snapchat Spectacles Officially On Sale Through Snapbots

Snap Inc, the company formerly known as Snapchat has officially launched their long awaited spectacles. Members of the public can now buy Spectacles through remote vending machines called Snapbots.

What the hell is a Snapbot I hear you shout while simultaneously waving your impatient hands in the air. Well Snapbots look like this: 

Cute Eh!! But Where can I find one of these Snapbots you ask! Well Snap Inc have a link:

Snap Inc Snapbot Finder

to help you find your closest Snapbot. 

So far the video content posted online from users wearing Spectales is pretty impressive and I have a feeling that Spectacles are going to be a huge hit for Snapchat. 

Where I see them being most successful is for the likes of action shots. Users can now make 10 second clips while cycling, skateboarding etc! You get the picture. Or in this case the video.

Spectacles On You Tube

Spectacles are not quite a Go Pro but they are similar and a lot more convenient as far as I can see. We can expect to see a lot of content made using Spectacles over the next few months I reckon.

It looks like Spectacles are launching in the US first and reports say they will roll out worldwide before the end of the year.

Are you looking forward to trying them out or are they a bit ridiculous for your liking? Let me know what you think in the comments and you can follow me on Snapchat here:

Add me on Snapchat! 

Username: thedigitaldub https://www.snapchat.com/add/thedigitaldub


Happy Snapping 😃

3 Reasons Twitter Needed Its Best Ever Update

3 Reasons Twitter Needed Its Best Ever Update

The Rise And Recent Fall Of Twitter

Twitter has been given a great new update and I for one think it’s long overdue. The original concept of Twitter was to keep it short and sweet and this was a massive success in the beginning with the platform swiftly becoming one of the world’s most used social media channels. Recently however Twitter has seen itself fall behind in terms of growth compared to Facebook, What’s App, Instagram & WeChat.

Reasons For The Update

1 – Content Is Still King

Messenger Apps have become huge in the last few years but most people use them to do the simple thing they were designed to do. Facebook Messenger and What’s App have all brought in new features but they are not the problem for Twitter. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram have all improved the way we view their content and allow us to manipulate that content in many ways. The problem with Twitter was that you were limited in the ways you could present your content and often had to cut out important text, mentions, pictures or links. Now with most of these not counted as part of your 140 characters you can have your planned content and present it in a much better way with more mentions, hashtags and visuals to help drive engagement and spark conversations.

2 – Video, Images and GIFs

Ok so in case you’ve been on Mars where even the Curiosity Rover is a social media superstar you might not know that it’s all about visuals these days with live video exploding onto the scene, Instagram copying Snapchat and Images and GIFs being used to increase social shares and engagement. Before now if we used any of these on Twitter we were very limited as to what else we could add to our tweet. Not any more which means we are now more likely to use them and also still have room to add whatever else we like to help with a call to action or simply boost engagement. They’ve allowed live video for a while now through Periscope and don’t seem to be as restrictive with how much you use it unlike Facebook.

3 – Engagement & Conversation

If you’ve ever been involved in a conversation on twitter with multiple parties involved then you’ll know that it can be frustrating when you want to reply to the whole group and go a step further by adding a GIF, Image or Link only to find yourself over the character count. The only solutions were to either omit some of the original participants or just forget the idea of adding anything visual or otherwise which brought you over the 140 characters. Now adding @usernames will not count towards your 140 and all @ tweets can be seen by everyone and not just the person mentioned. This should be a great boost to conversations which have been somewhat lacking or more of a private affair.

Can this new change save twitter and see it start to grow again or is more needed? I’d love to hear your opinion so let me know what you think in the comments below.

iOS 10 Gets Released Today but Don’t Download It Just Yet!

iOS 10 Gets Released Today but Don’t Download It Just Yet!

By Gavin Lawlor

iOS 10 gets its official release today. It’s been available for a few months as a beta release and has a number of exciting new features. Here’s just some of the changes to look forward to:

Write it yourself.

Send a message in your own handwriting. Your friends will see it animate, just as ink flows on paper.

Let’s celebrate.

Say things like “Happy Birthday!” or “Congratulations!” with animations that take over the entire screen.

Stickers.

Slap them on top of bubbles, dress up a photo, or even put one on another sticker. Available in the new App Store for iMessage.

Home smart home.

The new Home app lets you turn on lights, unlock doors and even raise your window blinds — all at once if you like.

Your past, beautifully presented.

The Photos app can help you rediscover cherished memories — like a weekend hike or your baby’s first birthday — and even create beautiful films out of them.

Raise to wake.

Simply pick up your iPhone to wake it up. Your notifications will be there waiting for you.

So it looks like Apple are really going for a lot of visual upgrades and a few others that most users will be wanting to try out as soon as possible. But owners of older iPhones really should consider going without the upgrade. Devices like the iPhone 5 and older will certainly struggle to run the new features which is designed with far more powerful iPhones in mind. The 5S may be better than the lesser 5 models but iOS 10 might still slow your device down. Another factor which most likely will come into play is battery life with the new software usually resulting in a higher demand for power meaning your phone will be slower and need to be charged more often.

The best thing to do with these new releases is usually to give it a few days until the reports start to come in. Wait and see how it is affecting other users with the same model iPhone or iPad and then decide if it’s worth the effort. Don’t forget it’s a lot more difficult to change back to the iOS 9 or whatever other software you were previously running and there’s nothing more annoying than a slow poorly performing smart phone when you’re trying to perform important tasks.

So just remember that it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have the latest iPhone and can’t try out the new features. If you do have a suitable phone like the iPhone 7 or a newer model iPad and decide to jump right in then let us know what you think and if you’re enjoying the experience.

5 Tech Essentials To Pack For The Ultimate Music Festival Experience

5 Tech Essentials To Pack For The Ultimate Music Festival Experience

So Ireland’s biggest and best music festival takes place this weekend. I am of course referring to Electric Picnic. So as you’ll know if you’re a festival veteran it takes a bit of planning and a lot of stamina to keep the fire burning for 3 days and nights. No sleep, dodgy toilets, dodgy food and enough alcohol to start a pop up bar from your tent.

Well as a long time festival goer I felt it was my duty to help you have a more pleasant zen like experience and of course not hold back on the partying. That’s what we’re all here for really, right? So I’ve put together a list of the best festival tech to help you get through the weekend like a big ravey Bear Gryls.

1 – Smart Phone


Ok so it’s not rocket science but this basically helps you find your friends, see who’s playing when & where, record the whole experience for social media to let everyone know you have a much better life than them. And most importantly to take the phone number of the new love of your life who’s name you’ll forget the next morning. 

2 – Power Pack

So you’ve brought your smart phone but you’re gonna want to power up that bad boy! Don’t forget your power pack. Some of these are great and will fully charge the likes of an iPhone 6 but you get what you pay for so make sure to do a bit of research before buying. A good one will set you back about €15 and I find TK Max a great place to get one. This can also save you having to leave your phone in to charge. Just leave the power park in instead and you still have your phone to snapchat, what’s app and selfie your way to social media stardom. 

3 – Portable Speaker


Let’s face it, you’ll be at your tent a lot more than you planned to be. Especially if you’re with a group. There’s always one person who’s difficult to ‘motivate’. No tent party is complete without tunes and your phone speaker just won’t cut it! You can pick up some great mini speakers for under €50 and most are now Bluetooth. Make sure it’s fully charged and if you can get one that also takes batteries, then even better. Party On!

4 – Headlamp / Torch


Yes your phone most likely has a torch but it’s not going to be as good as a proper torch or headlamp and you’re gonna want to preserve your battery. You will also have to get up to use the loo in the middle of the night after all that delicious booze. It gets dark so anything that can help drunken sleepy you from demolishing your tent or someone else’s as you negotiate your way is a must. 

5 – Selfie Stick


If you don’t mind looking like a bit of a tool now and then accept no substitute! Love em or hate em you just can’t deny that the selfie stick is here to stay. Unless you’re a Jedi master it can be tricky trying to capture the perfect selfie moment without one and they are great for crowd shots as the stick will give you the extra elevation you need. Just don’t be that person who videos the whole performance on your phone while blocking everyone else’s view! You’re here to have fun and not make yet another YouTube video that nobody will watch!

So there it is. That’s all you need to get yourself through the weekend and make life a little easier for yourself. Unfortunately there’s no tech I know of that’ll help you get over the inevitable fear but that’s not gonna happen until you’re home so make the most of it and just go an have the time of your life. I know I will!

Training For Gaelforce West & The Best Free Fitness Apps Right Now.

Training For Gaelforce West & The Best Free Fitness Apps Right Now.

So this week I’ll be taking on one of the toughest challenges I’ve ever taken part in. I’ll also give you a list of the best free apps you can download to help train for something like this. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Gaelforce West adventure race let me just give you a quick low down of what’s involved.

STAGE 1: BEACH, TRAIL AND ROAD RUN (13km)

Start line at Glassilaun beach in Connemara. Continue by road around Little Killary Harbour and then over the hillside into Killary Fjord. Make your way along the old Famine greenway, muddy and uneven underfoot, to the shore below Killary Adventure Centre and the kayak transition area.

STAGE 2: KAYAKING ACROSS KILLARY FJORD (1km)

Kayak from the southern shore of Killary Fjord to its northern shore in a two-man sit on top with the next competitor to you.

GF1

STAGE 3: TRAIL AND ROAD RUN (3.5km)

Disembarking onto the foothills of Mweelrea, with tufted long grass and boggy holes underfoot. Next on to a laneway and eventually a narrow road leading you to the Delphi Bike transition. **New location**

STAGE 4: CYCLING (33.5km)

Leaving the Delphi valley and heading for Drummin, spectacular hills to climb and extreme care needed on the downhills. Expect severe corners and narrow country roads. On to a gradual climb up to the back of Croagh Patrick and the transition area. The final 2km of this section is on a loose stoned and rough forestry track. Punctures possible on a road bike.

GF2

STAGE 5: MOUNTAIN RUN/HIKE (4.5km)

Croagh Patrick. Stay on the path and take care on the top section of this mountain as it has a lot of loose stones. If you do not reach the transition here by 14:30 you will not be allowed to ascend the mountain and you will be short coursed back to Westport.

STAGE 6: CYCLING (10.5km)

Always obey the rules of the road. Sealed road first and then onto a very rough off-road trail section that is 2 km long. Expect to carry road bikes over parts of this section. Coming off this there is a steep downhill section on a narrow road. Please take care on this section and watch out for traffic and fellow competitors.

STAGE 7: FINAL RUN

You will cycle to the bike drop on the grass area by the lake at the quay in Westport where you will leave your bike. The final run through part of the grounds of Westport House brings you to the finish line in Westport Leisure Park in Westport town centre.

(Above Info Taken From Galeforce Website PDF here)

Total Race Distance : 67km

So if that sounds horrific it’s because it is. However I’m not new to the event and I’ve completed it twice before. Last year was the 10th year and a special centenary race. I struggled across the line with a dodgy knee after 6 hours and 20 minutes.

My brother Brian did a lot better finishing 21st overall which was an amazing achievement. Here he is being interviewed after the race.

 

So we’re both ready to take it on yet again. But how do you train for this kind of endurance race. Well it’s a combination  of running at least 10k around 3 times a week and cycling at least 30k with a few hills thrown in every so often. A few climbs thrown in like The Sugarloaf in Wicklow helps prepare a bit for climbing Croagh Patrick but it’s the toughest part of the race by far no matter what training you do.

These days technology plays a bit part in any fitness regime with many people using apps to help them track their progress and there’s a wealth of fitness bloggers and vloggers out there. Apps can be used to track times, routes, calories and many forms of workout. Here are my favourite apps which are all available for free on ios and android.

Map My Run

map-my-run-screenshots

For me this is the best fitness app of all. You simply create a profile and enter some details so that the app can give you a more accurate reading based on your height, weight, age, etc. The app will track your route and give you a map of it along with calories burned which is based on various things like your details, distance, speed and difficulty. You can save each workout to a feed and choose to keep this private or not. You can add friends and see their workouts if they’ve made them public. The app can also be used for other workouts such as road cycling, walking, mountain biking but I prefer to use other apps for some of these.

This brings us to our next app which I use for cycling.

Strava

strava-screenshots

Strava is my number one app for cycling. It can also be used for running but just as Map My Run is mostly used by runners, Strava is widely regarded as the best in the cycling community. The app works in a similar way to Map My Run in that it will allow you to create a profile, add friends, track your route, distance and time. The advantage for me over other apps is that Strava will record each section of a route you take and compare it against your own personal best and also against other riders who took the same route that day, week and all time. So it might tell you for example that over a certain 2k stretch of your route that you were the 5th fastest that day, 15th fastest this week and 27th fastest of all time. It will also tell you if you beat your personal best of if it was your 3rd or 4th fastest time for example.

It also has some great monthly challenges which you can sign up to in order to give yourself an extra push.

Next up is…..

My Fitness Pal

This is another great fitness app and is also owned by sports clothing and equiptment brand Under Armour who hit the jackpot when US golfer Jordan Spieth won the Masters Golf tournament while sponsored by and wearing their brand. This skyrocketed the brand name into the mind of every golf fan accross the world.

Kevin Plank, the CEO of Under Armour has a vision to “turn Under Armour into a technology company”.  Under Armour bought MapMyFitness for $150M in 2013. My Fitness Pal cost the company $475M in 2015. Both companies have a lot of users who are also potential customers. Both apps have over 100 million users at time of writing.

MyFitnessPal-Steps

The app lets you track your daily nutrition plan based on your goals. It will also track your activity and let you add your workouts and what you ate during the day. It will tell you how many calories you have consumed and how many you have still to consume before going over your limit for each day. There are also some great recipes to help you eat healthily.

I also do a bit of Mountain Biking now and then which takes us to our next app.

Runtastic Mountain Bike GPS Biking Computer, Ride and Route Tracker

captura-mountain-bike

This is my go to app for mountain biking. It not only tracks and measures speed, distance and time but also caddence, elevation and gain which are important for mountain biking.

There are some great mountain bike trails around Ireland and I really do prefer it to road cycling as it’s much more of an adrenaline rush. A couple of great trails just outside Dublin are Ballinastoe and TicknockBallyhoura in Cork is Ireland’s largest trail network and boasts over 50km of trails.

So whatever you choose to do to keep active for me the great outdoors is the best way to do it. Running, Cycling, Hill Climbing / Walking and Mountain Biking are all great ways to keep fit or get fit. There’s also the added bonus of great scenery and fresh air.

These great apps are just some of the free and easy ways to track your workouts and help set out and achieve your goals. I hope you find them as useful as I have and remember they’re all free so give them a try.

Wish us luck this Saturday. We’re gonna need it!