UBI – answer for the automation or just a false promise?

What is UBI?

Simply said universal based income (UBI) is money paid by the government to all citizens, regardless their employment and financial status.

The first who proposed paying people free money was Thomas Paine. In 1797 he proposed paying all 21-year-olds unconditional income funded through a tax on landowners. Since that time many people tried to push similar ideas through. In 1969 Richard Nixon tried to pass guaranteed minimum income and was very close to passing it. Not so long after that, in 1972 George McGovern tried his chances with the idea of giving every American citizen $1000 of free money; also unsuccessful. But since that time many attempts to test UBI in practice were made.

The simplified map below shows the most significant of attempts to test or implement universal based income:

 

Do we actually need it?

Lately, the idea of universally distributed income returned because of growing concerns about the future of employment. Politicians, Silicon Valley leaders, and many professors believe that because of developments in automation, artificial intelligence, robotics and self-driving technology there may be no job left for many people in the future. According to the estimate of Oxford University, as much as 47% of U.S. jobs are at risk of being automated in next 20 years. 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that development of technology will lead to high levels of unemployment, therefore, some form of UBI is “going to be necessary.” eBay co-founder Pierre Omidyar is already testing the potential of UBI in Kenya. Lately, during his commencement speech at Harvard University Mark Zuckerberg states his positive opinion about UBI. He said that “we should explore ideas like universal basic income to give everyone a cushion to try new things,” he also added that people need some financial safety net to be free in pursuing their passions. And universal based income is this kind of a safety net.

 

But will it work?

Nobody can be sure whether universal based income will work or not but what we know for now is that UBI is much simpler to run and implement than existing benefit systems. According to Matthew Bidwell, a management professor at Wharton University: UBI is simpler to implement than other forms of welfare because it doesn’t require means testing [for eligibility]. Moreover, trials of universally distributed, unconditional benefits carried around the world through past 40 years prove that this system may have a really beneficial impact on the society. Most of the conducted experiments had surprisingly positive outcomes and there are much more projects on the way.

Today we may don’t need UBI yet but because of rapid development in technology world is changing very fast. In the near future distribution and definition of work may significantly change and the only way for society to adapt to this change is when political and economical systems will follow and change accordingly.

 

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/feb/19/basic-income-finland-low-wages-fewer-jobs

http://fortune.com/2017/05/26/mark-zuckerberg-universal-basic-income/

http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/universal-basic-income-good-idea/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-santens/why-should-we-support-the_b_7630162.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/universal-basic-income-is-a-proven-success_us_58e5b501e4b02c1f72345a26

http://www.basicincome.org/

Ethereum – the next Bitcoin or the new Internet?

Ethereum is the next big thing in the blockchain world. Period.

But what the heck is blockchain? If you don’t know it yet watch the short video below:

Why You Should Care About Blockchain | Food For Thought

Blockchain is the technology behind Bitcoin, but it's more than just a tool for buying drugs on the dark web. Here's why you should care.

Opublikowany przez Super Deluxe na 20 czerwca 2017

 

As you now know blockchain is not just the Bitcoin or just a crypto currency. Blockchain is a technology that has hundreds of applications and digital currencies are just some of them. Another one is Ethereum – younger “cousin” of Bitcoin with many more capabilities than just paying for guns and drugs at the online black market.

Ethereum is a distributed and decentralized public blockchain network just like the Bitcoin but there are many technical differences between these two. First of all the purpose of Ethereum is much more than just a digital currency. Bitcoin offers just a peer-to-peer payment system when Ethereum focuses on running smart contracts using its blockchain infrastructure. This means that Ethereum platform is capable of way more than just tracking ownership of its digital currency. Ethereum is an environment for applications that run without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference. These apps run thanks to a custom built blockchain system. The system that is a huge, decentralized and shared infrastructure that can transfer value, information and ownership. In the simple words: “Ethereum is an open software platform based on blockchain technology that enables developers to build and deploy decentralized applications.”

Source: https://blockgeeks.com/guides/what-is-ethereum/

 

Decentralized applications are not controlled by any individual or central entity, which exclude the possibility of any censorship, fraud or manipulation. Additionally decentralization means no central point of failure and this combined with increased protection thanks to using cryptography techniques makes decentralized apps very reliable and secure.

Decentralized applications have the potential to disrupt many of industries including finance, education, healthcare, insurance, real estate, music, public sector and many others. Potential possibilities are countless and still emerging. These are just couple examples of project build on Ethereum technology:

Virtue Poker a Peer-to-Peer decentralized poker platform built using Ethereum.

Smart ID is a platform that is changing the way both individuals and organizations manage their digital identities. It’s built by the team from Deloitte to provide a new, transparent way for individuals, organizations and devices to obtain, verify and share identity credentials with one another.

Weifund provides an open platform for crowdfunding campaigns that leverages smart contracts. It enables contributions to be turned into contractually backed digital assets that can be used, traded or sold within the Ethereum ecosystem.

Provenance is using Ethereum to make opaque supply chains more transparent. By tracing the origins and histories of products, the project aims to build an open & accessible framework of information so consumers can make informed decisions when they buy products.

Augur is an open-source prediction & forecasting market platform that allows anyone to forecast events and get rewarded for predicting them correctly. Predictions on future real world events, like who will win the next US election, are carried out by trading virtual shares. If a person buys shares in a winning prediction, they receive monetary rewards.

Source: https://blockgeeks.com/guides/what-is-ethereum/

 

Blockchain technology is changing the way we use the Internet. It enabled people to easily exchange not only information but also value and property. Thanks to Ethereum people can create their own decentralized applications and speed up the shift from the Internet of information to the Internet of value. With this in mind, we can only wonder about all the exciting future applications of blockchain.

 

 

Sources:

https://blockgeeks.com/

https://www.ethereum.org/

https://www.deloitte.co.uk/smartid/

https://virtue.poker/#home

https://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2015/12/28/should-you-invest-in-bitcoin-10-arguments-against-as-of-december-2015/#6c62d9673895

How to save 92% on your electricity bill? [CASE STUDY]

Just about 4 months ago Tesla officially announced acquisition of SolarCityclick . Many people consider this as a giant leap towards bringing solar energy to the masses. Today we finally have a real-life case study of Tesla’s revolutionary solar system in use and it’s undeniable that Elon Musk’s company is on the right track to lead the solar energy revolution.

This week, a well-known consumer advocacy portal CHOICE – click, published an article describing the story of an Australian Tesla fan who used the Powerwall battery for the past year and experienced its saving potential.

Powerwallclick is a smart lithium-ion energy storage pack designed and produced by Tesla Inc. In short, this product is a battery pack for your home that stores energy from photovoltaic panels and delivers sustainable electricity, even when the sun isn’t shining. Powerwall is a great backup power device but it also gives the user the ability to sell excess of energy back to the grid. With its power management system, Powerwall is able to significantly decrease household energy bills spending.

 

The best proof for Tesla’s solar system cost cutting capabilities is the story of Nick Pfitzner described in CHOICE articleclick. Nick lives with his family in a four-bedroom home in Kellyville Ridge, Australia. This large residence is equipped with atelier, laundry, outdoor entertainment area and its own pool. Powering this home with electricity in 2015 cost Nick $2289 but in January 2015 Nick decided to invest in sustainable energy system. Nick invested $16,790 in buying 7kW Powerwall battery, a 5kWp solar array, a SolarEdge inverter and a Reposit monitoring system.

Nick Pftitzner standing alongside his home solar system

Source: www.choice.com.au

After implementation of this system Nick’s average quarterly bill dropped from $572 in 2015 to $45 in 2016. After a year of using his new power system Nick was able to save 92% on his annual electricity expenses. His annual electricity bill has dropped from $2110 in 2015 to $178.71 in 2016. This level of efficiency surprised the owner himself: “Before I crunched the numbers I was looking at what would be my return on investment. If it saved me 80% of my power bill, [I thought] it would be pretty good,” he says. Outstanding efficiency of Nick’s system topped original Tesla Inc projections estimating that their solar systems can pay itself off within 14 to 18 years. If Nick’s solar system will continue operating at this rate it will payback in just 8 years.

Isn’t it marvelous?

 

Remarkable results of Nick’s power system will undoubtedly ignite already booming market of solar power systems. This combined with Tesla’s progressing plan of building 3 more Gigafactiories – click in order to increase supply and lower costs of batteries and photovoltaic panels only amplifies the strong belief that solar will power our future.

 

 

Sources:

https://www.tesla.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_Powerwall

https://www.choice.com.au/home-improvement/energy-saving/solar/articles/living-with-the-tesla-powerwall-for-a-year

http://www.repositpower.com/

http://www.solaredge.com/us/

 

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Comeback of indestructible

Think of the most indestructible phone in the world. Most probably you, or your friend had it. It’s Nokia 3310, remember?

Seventeen years after a glorious launch the father of the mobile phone is back.
The fan-club of the model was growing ever since, and now it’s time for a comeback.
Why people loved it so much? Numerous reasons, but the most common ones – indestructible, excellent battery, and best before-AngryBirds game “Snake”.
Nokia 3310, or improved version of it will be launched in a month for an expected price of 63$. For everybody who feels nostalgic about the past, or wants to quit online social life – Nokia is the solution.
Official launch – February 26. Probably, it’s not a new iPhone, but isn’t it exciting what happened to your favourite phone?

Reference:
http://mashable.com/2017/02/14/nokia-3310-coming-back-report/#4U3YrbcjpmqJ

Coding for kids. Necessary?

Modern school programs often include science classes, like maths and biology, physical education and ethics. School programs are improving, but not really changing. The way kids learn at school now hasn’t changed much since 1950s. But in the 21 century it may be harmful underestimate the role of the technology in our lives. Kids learn how to play iPad even before they learn how to speak. So, wouldn’t it be right to teach them useful knowledge.

It is believed that coding will become a new blue-collar job in the future – basic of the basics, something everyone should be able to do. School provides us with basic knowledge that will help us to adapt in the future workplace. But where’s the techno-part in this program. It seems, that they need a total makeover.

Luckily, some schools start playing by the rules of the new century, one of them – Victorian schools in Melbourne. They introduced computer coding for children. Now kids from early age are taught how to use, and what is more how to embrace technology.
Minister for Education James Merlino believes that The Digital Technologies curriculum will enable students to become confident and creative developers of digital solutions through computer coding and other advanced skills.

What do you think – is it necessary to teach kids coding at school?

References:

The Next Blue Collar Job? Coding


http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/victorian-schools-to-introduce-computer-coding-for-children/news-story/8b96a6e8580da6330581444c183abbb4

Meet Lens, a Shazam for objects

Yesterday Pinterest has announced a launch of a new inside-app tool – Lens. It is a visual search technology, which works similar to Shazam. You take picture of an object – it can be anything starting from food to clothes, and Lens shows you the results, which are believed to be similar to yours.  Pinterest says it is built on the basis of machine learning and human curation.

With this feature you will be able to find clothes you like (if not the same – then similar), you can find a recipe with the food you want, or how different styles how to wear your favourite sweater. You can find the option on the bottom-right corner by tapping on the circle.

A few brands, including Neiman Marcus, Macy’s and Target, have directly started using it. In the nearest future we cenexpect more brands to be using this platform, as marketers believe it to be very popular.

Lens makes searching for a new product easier and, what is more it is now curated only for you.

 

References:

Pinterest adds visual search for elements in images and through your camera

http://www.theverge.com/2017/2/8/14549798/pinterest-lens-visual-discovery-shazam

Things you didn’t know about Snapchat

It’s been a while since Snapchat filed for a $3 million IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. News about Snapchat is going public have flown all over the world twice and came back to the point, where it feels that our knowledge about the company is very humble, so why not enrich it?

Starting from basics:

  • Snapchat was initially released in September 2011, but did you know that original name was “Picaboo” (and now ghost-logo makes more sense)
  • First ad that appeared in October 2014 on Snapchat was a 20-second movie trailer for the horror-movie Ouija. It was one of the first steps to monetise the app
  • Number of daily users s constantly growing, in February 2017 it has reached 158 million daily users and 301 million monthly users.

Getting into some interesting statistics:

  • 11% of drivers admit using or checking Snapchat wile using the car
  • 16 heads of state governments have a Snapchat account and use it
  • 35% of users use Snapchat because of disappearing content
  • projected ad revenue for 2017 – $935.46 million

And finishing with the facts:

  • Snapchat has launched Snap Foundation, to help developing youth arts and education.
  • At first Snapchat was a school project
  • Snapchat had submitted a patent application for the process of using an object recognition system to deliver sponsored filters based on objects seen in a camera view, which totally changes the world of ads and marketing in general.

Share in comments what was new to you, or what wasn’t mentioned in the article. Let’s share wisdom!

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snapchat

121 Amazing Snapchat Statistics and Facts (February 2017)

https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/248136

Graphene the material for the future

A few years ago there was a big hype regarding the newly found material graphene and it’s for a reason, now some of these hypes has come closer to reality.

So what is graphene? Graphene, a single layer of carbon atoms, may be the most amazing and versatile material that mankind has available. It is stronger than steel, yet lightweight and flexible. In the graph, electrons move much faster than in silicon. It is also a transparent electric conductor, which combines electrical and optical properties in an exceptional manner.

These properties allows for some serious next step technology, some of the new inventions that scientists are currently working on include foldable screens, new types of composite materials, foldable organic oleds. In more distance future the talk goes around creating new retinas for those who’s are damage.

Mikael Fogelström TedTalk

Mikael Fogelström has a TedTalk where he talk about a lot of interesting areas where graphene could be used.

To make all this happen, the European commission assigned a joint venture of researchers in the area in 2013 with a horizon until 2020. The project has been granted 1 billion € budget and consist of over 150 academic and industrial research groups in 23 countries. The project is coordinated by the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden.

In February of 2017 Austrailian scientists managed to create graphene from regular soybean oil, this is a remarkable new finding considering that high quality graphene is very expensive and has previously only been made under very special conditions in high-tech labs. [1]

What would you do with a material like graphene ?

[1]http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-38804802

The world is open to you (if you are a start-uper)

It seems, that the world has finally realised that technology is driven by inspired people, no matter where they come from. India, Belarus or United States – brilliant minds are equal in the eyes of a techno-evolution. Travelling to another country is ain’t easy, relocating there – sometimes becomes mission impossible. Unfortunately, not every country can boast its progress and business-friendly policies, which ease the work of start-ups. Yet fortunately, country by country in EU start to implement new regulations, that attract start-ups from all over the world.

Estonia and France are being the most proactive countries of the EU – they are first to introduce start-up visas. Now, a non-european citizen can relocate and continue changing the world in those countries.

Here is what Mari Vavulski, the head of Startup Estonia and initiators of the program, says:

“Compared with most of the other startup visa programs, the Estonian one differs by offering preferential terms for obtaining a visa or a permit for both the startup entrepreneurs who wish to set up or relocate their company to Estonia as well as employees seeking to work for Estonian startups”.

Sounds good, ha?

French tech visa isn’t far from that:

Its general features are:

  • Validity: Four years, on a renewable basis.
  • Family: “Talent Passport – Family” residence permit granted to spouse of the main applicant, guaranteeing identical family treatment and automatic labor market access (as an employee, business founder, etc.).
  • No work permit is required for any work performed as an employee.
  • Upon certain conditions, a fast-track procedure will be provided.

Congratulations Estonia and France for being the most far-sighted countries!

Startup visas have been introduced in more that 10 countries around the world, and we hope, that a lot more are about to come. For the technology sake.

 

References:

http://visa.lafrenchtech.com

Estonia launches a startup visa programme

 

Top 25 passwords of 2016. Are we really concerned about our privacy?

Recently, a fresh list of most common passwords was published by Keeper Security. And honestly, they are ridiculous.  We continue talking about identity thief on Internet, but we do not even bother protecting ourselves on the very first level.

Keeper has analysed 10 million passwords from data breaches in 2016. Below is the result of the most popular passwords of the web in 2016.

Isn’t it terrible? Even trying to be creative we are still so predictable (the example of “1q2w3e4r” and “1q2w3e4r5t” are the prove of it). Around 17% of the users still have the password “123456”. Privacy is not a joke, and we as users have to grow up, because those passwords could’ve been used in 2000, not in 2016.

If you find your password in this list – shame on you. If not – double check.

 

References:

https://blog.keepersecurity.com/2017/01/13/most-common-passwords-of-2016-research-study/

The most common passwords of 2016