Author Archives: Adrian Sabala

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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BIG TREND ALERT: Augmented Reality in e-commerce.

Everybody buys stuff online – it is a fact.

E-commerce became an integral part of our life styles. We love to buy stuff online because it’s cheap, easy and less time consuming than shopping in regular, brick and mortar stores. Just by few clicks from the smartphone we can buy practically anything, anytime, anywhere. Online or mobile shopping is very convenient but it also has its limitations.

“The primary drawback to online shopping is that many of the sensory elements that customers use to make their purchasing decisions are often lost. When shopping online, a customer cannot touch or feel an item, see how it works, or know how it will fit in their home.”

 

This lack of proper visualization is often the main reason why people decide to take this effort and go to offline store to buy stuff. But what if e-commerce companies already have solution for that?

You bet they do! Augmented Reality (AR) is the answer. Through blending together virtual objects with surrounding environment, in real-time AR gives customer a possibility of seeing how selected product will fit.

 

IKEA augmented reality catalogue

 

 

Yesterday during press conference at CES 2017 ASUS introduced ZenFone AR, a smartphone that contains a TriCam system for immersive and high-quality AR experiences.

ASUS ZenFone AR

 

One particularly interesting application of this smartphone was shown at CES and it is connected with e-commerce. In collaboration with clothing mogul GAP, ASUS presented augmented reality shopping application that provides user with a digital mannequin to try different clothing. User is able to try various clothing pieces in all available sizes right on his own avatar. How cool is that?

 

Sources:

https://www.dezeen.com/2013/08/05/ikea-launches-augmented-reality-catalogue/

http://www.augment.com/blog/future-augmented-reality-online-shopping/

http://www.augment.com/blog/vr-vs-ar-in-online-shopping/

http://uploadvr.com/gap-google-asus-ar-shopping/

https://www.asus.com/Phone/ZenFone-AR-ZS571KL/

http://tylko.com/

THE ERA OF INTEGRATED SUSTAINABLE ENERGY JUST BEGUN!

TESLA OFFICIALLY AQUIRES SOLARCITY.

Couple weeks ago (28.10.2016) Tesla in cooperation with SolarCity presented new solar powered ecosystem for private houses and small businesses. Tesla’s new green energy system is entirely sustainable and more cost-effective than regular grid system.

 

Power generating Roof Tiles are more durable, less costly and almost indistinguishable from traditional roofs. With this design and cost-efficiency Tesla is undeniably a forerunner in emerging market of accessible photovoltaic roofs.

Tesla, Solar Roof tiles

 

That day Tesla also announced Powerwall 2, energy storing lithium-ion batteries for private use. Powerwall 2 is capable of powering a two-bedroom house for 24 hours entirely without power from the grid. Tesla’s approach to product design is also very visible with this one. Powerwall 2 has very aesthetical design making it the most elegant home battery on the market.

Tesla, Powerwall 2

 

Tesla’s solar system allows households to be more energy independent and save thousands dollars on their annual energy bill. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the Powerwall 2 “may be the cheapest lithium ion battery for the home ever made.” This is making Powerwall 2 an approachable home battery system of now and today.

Solar Roof and Powerwall 2 combined with Tesla’s electric cars creates cost-efficient, zero-emission ecosystem of the future.

Tesla, zero-emission ecosystem

 

Tesla new ecosystem presentation caused widespread buzz in the media and was a first sign of upcoming event.

Last Monday (21.11.2016) Tesla acquisition of SolarCity was officially announced.

SolarCity is the biggest provider of commercial solar panels in the United States. It has its own direct sales force and the best installation team in the industry. Moreover, SolarCity has developed innovative financing options making solar energy more accessible and affordable.

 

Just one day after the acquisition Tesla published this mind blowing one-minute video showing their new solar-powered microgrid that can supply whole energy demand of beautiful Tau Island located in American Samoa.

Thanks to combined effort of Tesla and SolarCity Tau Island is able now to entirely abandon diesel generators and become sustainable, remote Island powered fully by renewable energy.

 

Acquisition of SolarCity made Tesla a truly integrated sustainable energy company. They are now able to produce energy (Solar Roofs), storage it (Powerwall 2) and efficiently use it for transportation (Tesla cars). With those resources Tesla is giving people possibility of living zero-emission, entirely sustainable, green lifestyle.

This is the beginning of revolution in the way we produce and consume energy and Tesla just made another big step towards the world free of fossil fuels.

 

Sources:

https://www.tesla.com/blog/tesla-and-solarcity?redirect=no

http://blog.solarcity.com/island-in-the-sun/

https://techcrunch.com/2016/11/17/shareholders-approve-tesla-acquisition-of-solarcity/

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-31/no-one-saw-tesla-s-solar-roof-coming

 

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