Author Archives: Mohammad Ewelina

Self-driving cars to take over UK motorways by the end of this year

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Department of Transport has announced that automated lane-keeping systems (ALKS) are to be legalized on the British motorways by the end of this year. There are still however some specific circumstances under which a driver can switch to the autopilot mode.

In fact, a driver can unwind, read a newspaper, watch a movie and is not obliged to control the vehicle during the ride, but only within the speed of maximum 37 mph (60 km/h). A system keeps the car in a single lane, controls its position and ensures a safe distance from other objects, however when the speed exceeds 37 mph, or when the traffic increases, it automatically demands a human to take over. In such situation, a driver has 10 seconds to react and take the wheel and in case it won’t happen, the vehicle will turn on its hazard lights to warn drivers on the road, reduce the speed and eventually stop the car. Additionally, using ALKS will be only allowed on motorways which is due to the safety precautions (lack of pedestrians and cars moving in the same direction).

Such system is being put under a lot of questions whether ALKS should be actually called as ‘self-driving’. Insurers are of the opinion that government’s definition of ALKS as automated, introduces misleading perception and puts an incorrect picture onto the matter. As the system still requires a driver to take over and be on the alert, their concern is that such naming will cause a lot of misuses of the technology and lead to many accidents which have already occurred in the past. In 2018 there was a fatal car crash where a driver was playing a video game on the passenger’s seat while switching his car on the autopilot. The same year another man was imposed a ban on driving due to Tesla driving him on the passenger’s seat. During his trial he said that “he was unlucky one who got caught”.

Although there is a lot of risks associated with the technology, ALKS are at the same time likely to increase the safety on the road:

“Automated driving systems could prevent 47,000 serious accidents and save 3,900 lives over the next decade through their ability to reduce the single largest cause of road accidents – human error.”

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

The UK is striving to take the lead in the autonomous car industry and has anticipated the legalization of automated lane-keeping systems by the end of this year. Will the predictors come true? In 2017 promises to introduce self-steering vehicles by 2021 were also made, which ultimately did not happen. The government however is strongly focused on pioneering autonomous cars in the country and estimates the industry to reach £42bn and hire another 38,000 people by 2035.


AI finally regulated? The EU is on its way!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The European Union proceeds to the introduction of common regulations regarding the use of artificial intelligence. Norms are to ban the field of mass surveillance (with the exception of maintaining public safety), scoring assessment of social behavior, and biometrical identification (such as face recognition). The intentions are indeed right-minded, but we ought to remember that the more regulations, the bigger the risk of over-regulation and the lower competitiveness of the EU.

Source: Stinger Universe

If you’ve wondered whether the scenario from the Black Mirror series is ever going to happen in real life, the European Union is currently working to ensure that it is not. Last week the European Commission unveiled its plan to regulate the use of AI, which prohibits its use for citizens’ evaluation by governments, mass surveillance, and biometrical identification. In the case of the last-mentioned, in order to imply the technology in some instances, the special consent of the authorities would be required. Additionally, areas of AI that are considered high-risk systems would have to undergo detailed inspections prior to implementation and general application. To AI’s high-risk software we may include: 

  • Vocational education or training (e.g. assessment of exams)
  • Product safety features (e.g. the use of AI in robot-assisted surgery)
  • Employment management (e.g. CV sorting software for recruitment procedures)
  • Basic private and public services (e.g. creditworthiness assessment)
  • Managing migration, asylum and border control (e.g. assessing authenticity of travel documents)
  • Administration of justice and democratic processes (e.g. applying the law to a specific set of facts)

For these cases appropriate risk assessment and mitigation systems would be implemented as well as human surveillance measures to minimize any potential risks. The EU also forebodes the issuing of certificates of conformity, which would be valid for a maximum of 5 years and would embrace both companies embedded in the EU and those from abroad. Companies that would not apply to the adopted rules regarding the use of AI would be subject to a very high penalty, which could reach 6% of their revenue.


It is needless to say that the European Union’s initiative to introduce standardized norms constitutes a step towards the right direction. With the implementation of regulations, the EU would pave the way for ethical technology which is something absolutely essential, taking into consideration the future and an enormous role that technology plays in it. Every tech-based innovation should be ensured not to harm or discriminate any individual and trust in AI should be a requirement, not a thinkable addition. However is enforcing these laws really possible? The fact is that AI is used by the biggest technological companies in the world and till this time the EU could not even find a way to appropriately tax them for their business activities in the EU’s area. Threatening with huge penalties is also not a new matter, being already known from the RODO rules. Maybe it is just about taking these first steps and paving the way so that it can reach a larger scale in the future?


Are chips “The New Oil”? A global shortage of chips

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Did you know that we are currently facing a global chips shortage? The crisis came about due to the massive demand for electronic components triggered by the pandemic, factories downtime, production underestimation, and supply chain failure. Whoever produces the chips, holds all the power – in this case the Taiwanese manufacturer TSMC seems to be a ruler.

The company Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co may seem unfamiliar to you, but it is more than sure that their products are used by you every single day. TSMC is the world’s largest chip manufacturer that produces parts for major electronics and automotive companies, including Apple (which is reckoned to constitute 25% of TSMC’s income [1]).


Chips are not only a common component of consumer electronics such as smartphones, computers, or smart appliances, but they are also required for automotive electronic systems, which are expected to account for more than 50% of the total production cost of a car by 2030[2]. For comparison, in 2010 this figure comprised 35% while in the 1970s, 5%. New cars need more processors, which in other words means – more and more chips.

In fact, it is the automotive industry that has been inflicted the most during the last months. Major players on the market such as Volkswagen, Toyota, Renault, General Motors, and Honda had been forced to hold back production due to the lack of components. A shortage in the microprocessor industry is expected to slash Ford’s profit by $2.5 billion this year and GM’s profit by $2 billion[3].


The crisis has also hit the electronics industry. Sony has announced that it is unable to manufacture the number of PS5 consoles planned for this year, just like Samsung which in turn postponed the release of its new version of the Galaxy Note smartphone. All this because of chips shortage. But how did such situation even come about?

During the outbreak of the pandemic, many companies decided to cancel chip orders due to a significant drop in demand for products such as cars. It was assumed that the demand would not increase quickly. In response to the situation, chip manufacturers decided to change their sales orientation to other industries. At a time when demand picked up again, motor companies were left holding the bag as microprocessor manufacturers had their hands already full with other orders. Another aspect is also the production bottleneck which lead to the supply chain destabilization. The global production of chips is based on 3-4 companies only, including the afore-mentioned TSMC, which is responsible for about 70% world’s production of technologically advanced microprocessors.[3]

TMSC’s goal is to maintain its position and increase its production capacity. For this purpose, the company announced an investment of $100 billion. It is worth mentioning however, that the reliance of global electronics behemoths on the goods of a single Taiwanese firm is an example of the negative consequences of excessive production outsourcing.





Reading Time: 3 minutesAs a lot of us probably know,  love can be tough sometimes and doesn’t bring only happiness.  Tinder, the father of love, also just got to realize this fact as they’ve been charged 23$ milion for discriminating people over 30 years old. As the saying goes “there are equals and more equal than others”, however little did I know that it concerns also the aspect of love.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania tinder discrimination

It all starts with a plaintiff Lisa Kim who filed the case in a California court last April, on behalf of 230,000 other class members. She realized that people aged under 29 were charged a $9.99 for monthly using the application’s premium option, Tinder Plus, while those over 30, twice as much.  The service which was introduced in 2015, enabled users for a boarder access to its features such as additional number of Super Likes or the ability to rewind swipes. At the time, Tinder explained their pricing model by comparison to Spotify’s discounts for students. They claimed that the tiers’s price is due to the smaller financial possibilities of the younger users. In a statement to NPR, Tinder defended the model by the following:

“Over the past few months, we’ve tested Tinder Plus extensively in several countries. We’ve priced Tinder Plus based on a combination of factors, including what we’ve learned through our testing, and we’ve found that these price points were adopted very well by certain age demographics. Lots of products offer differentiated price tiers by age, like Spotify does for students, for example. Tinder is no different; during our testing we’ve learned, not surprisingly, that younger users are just as excited about Tinder Plus but are more budget constrained and need a lower price to pull the trigger.”

However there is one gap in Tinder’s defence, the rate is set only by age classification, not educational status. You could be a 32 year’s old student and anyway you would pay 19.99$ for the premium option.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania tinder discrimination


The case ends up with Tinder settling a $23 million class-action age discrimination lawsuit. However it may surprise you the way of distribution this money. For dropping the claims, the application will reward each class member with 50 Super Likes, which is equivalent to 50$. Additionally, those who were charged more, can submit a claim for $25 in cash, 25 more super likes or a one-month subscription to Tinder Plus or Tinder Gold (depending on what they previously purchased).  Summarizing, this makes $11.5 million to 230,000 class members as well as $5.75 million in potential cash or cash-equivalents. What’s more, Tinder will stop on discriminatory charge of older users, however only in California. This carries a value of about $5.75 million and amounts to a $23 million settlement.


Tinder’s co-founders are currently suing its parent companies Match Group and IAC for lowering Tinder’s valuation and taking away stock options, and contained in that lawsuit are claims of rampant sexism and sexual harassment.


Do you think Tinder has been properly punished and should redress those who were charged more because of their age? Or that the afore-mentioned issue has been completely inflated and organised only to gain money?





CES 2019

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Some of you may be unfamiliar with what actually CES is, therefore I am more than happy to acquaint you with the world’s biggest gathering place for nerds like us. CES, which stands for Consumer Electronics Show is the largest technology fair, which presents the most innovative breakthroughs and discoveries in the consumer electronics field. The event is held every year in Las Vegas, always in January, at the beginning of the year and attracts people from all over the world, both technology freaks and pioneering thinkers. During the event you are able to to admire more than 4.500 exhibitions showcased by both the biggest leaders in the industry as well as many smaller developers and manufacturers. For 50 years CES has served to present cutting-edge gadgets and attract people who share the same interest and strive for implementing the future today.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania CES


Here are some of the most interesting devices shown at CES 2019 (8 January – 11 January)

       1. LG’s rollable OLED TV

LG Signature OLED R is the first TV with a flexible screen that can be rolled into a cuboid housing. The device can work in three modes – fully unfolded (65 “in 4K resolution), hidden to 1/4 of the screen (it can display weather data or music player) or completely hidden inside the base (then it acts as a speaker). This structural breakthrough, although initially it will probably be the privilege of the rich, will change the way we use TV sets.

       2. Samsung Space Monitor

Samsung decided to think about the people who have very little space on desks and created a very interesting monitor, which has an adjustable foot like a stand for example from a bedside lamp. We can attach it to the back of the desk and use it the way we like it – push it to the wall like a TV set, set it traditionally or even put it on a desk like a tablet with a stand.

  1. Orii which converts your finger into a mobile phone

Orii is a ring which enables making calls and texting through your bone conduction. It’s the fastest way to send messages without a screen, and what’s more, the most stylish. The ring serves as your voice assistant. It transmits audio into the texts and helps you to receive and make quick calls just by moving your finger. Although its use and design remind me a little bit of commonly used smartwatch, I believe that this concept will be further developing. Maybe in some time with Alexa or Google Assistant?

  1. Intelligent toilet Numi 2.0.

Remember my last post when I wrote about a smart Kohler’s bathroom? Well, one of its elements was a hit in this year’s CES,  namely, Kohler’s intelligent toilet. Numi 2.0 not only has a heated seat and a “personal dryer”, but also a lighting and a speaker, which together build up the right mood. In addition, the manufacturer has integrated its work with Amazon’s Alexa, so you also can have a conversation. The conversation worth $7000.

5.  Walker – advanced, humanoid home robot

Welcome Walker – a Chinese robot created by UBTECH. It is characterized by amazing precision – the robot can easily pour a can beverage into a water bottle and then deliver it, pick up a package, carry a backpack to the wardrobe, play the piano, react to gestures and bypass all obstacles. If that’s not future, then I don’t know what is.

This year’s CES has shown us many innovations in the world of technology. With each following year we get to see more surprising and jaw-dropping gadgets. This is also a great opportunity for big producers such as Samsung, LG or Panasonic to present their work result and attract attention. Annually the event gathers over 180 000 people, who knows, maybe one of you will be next year’s attendant?

Kohler’s new gadgets will make you never want to leave your bathroom again

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Welcome to 2019, where technology development is already moving full steam ahead. We have already faced self-driving cars, drones delivering the goods to our doors or Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa, which takes care of many everyday tasks and makes our life so much easier. The humankind, however, is characterized by the fact that it never ceases in search for further paths of development, improvement, innovative solutions and thus – ways to make money. Let’s just look at how our lives looked even 20 years ago, and now. A tremendous change, isn’t it?

A perfect example of this phenomenon is a company Kohler which brings you bathroom you didn’t even know you dreamt about.  Their new collection called The Veil Lighted introduces a new line of high-tech products which will allow you, among other things, for voice management of various functions, such as lighting’s color temperature, the amount of water in the tub or even the heating of the toilet seat. You can control it either by voice, the Kohler Konnect app which works both for iOS and Android devices, with motion control or with a physical remote controller. What is more, the customers are capable of interacting with multiple voice services like Alexa,  Google Assistant or Siri.


The bath alone will cost you upwards of $5,000.                    Pretty relaxing stuff, huh?


Kohler is globally known for creating various solutions for kitchens and bathrooms, however only recently combines it with the smart section, which was finally given a separate name – “Kohler Konnect”.  The company first made its debut at last year’s CES, where they presented a line of smart showers, toilet bowls, but most importantly – smart mirrors called Kohler Verdera Voice Mirror (connected with Alexa).  This year they have improved their offer by synchronization and customization the lighting accenting the fixture.  The are many lighting and audio enhancements which allow individual adjustment of lighting depending on the mood or time of day, as well as built-in speakers and sensors. This is due to a collaboration with Signify, once known as Philips Lighting, one of the leading connected lighting companies. All it takes is to give a command – to activate the light, to  release water in the shower (also indicate the amount of water to the bathtub) or even to order our “throne” to warm up! A truly intelligent bathroom! The Konnect platform is also to automate many tasks, including monitoring water consumption and also to allow for building cooperation with other smart modules.

Can you imagine leaving the bathroom with the command: “Alexa, flush the toilet”? Excessive luxury or new reality?

Suppose your answer is the latter, this new reality will cost you a lot of money. Prices start from $899 for a mirror and go to $7,000 for the Numi 2.0 toilet.  It is no secret that such luxurious gadgets cost a fortune.

What is my opinion about this new intelligent bathroom? It is a common knowledge that humanity is moving forward in every aspect of life and innovations are now appearing at every step. Currently, these are just introductions to the future solutions, unavailable to the average person, however, what once seemed impossible, is slowly becoming an indispensable element of our lives. This was the case with smartphones or many other gadgets, currently satisfying our most basic needs. I believe that the innovations introduced by Kohler in the near future will also cease to be something extraordinary and will turn into an element available in every home. The most important thing is that the man still surprises himself, introduces technologies that seem not from this planet and really becomes the only obstacle to himself. The Veil Lighted collection introduced by Kohler will be available from this year, and I personally look forward to what will bring us the future.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania kohler future




The first minimum wage for Uber and Lyft drivers in New York City

Reading Time: 3 minutesDevember 4, historical Tuesday, New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission decides to adopt a pay rise for ride-hail drivers working for companies such as Uber or Lyft. This makes New York the first city in U.S. which implemented a minimal wage for app-based drivers, using the algorithm to carry passengers. After passing the rule, they will receive $27.86 per hour, $17.22 after expenses, which is about $5 more per hour than the current average of $11.90. This change is about to be implemented starting next year and and will make the average earnings of drivers increase by $9,600 per year.

Voting on this law was caused by many protests of the application drivers. As they are not considered as regular employees, but independent contractors, the right to minimum hourly wage does not include them. What is more, the drivers have accused companies of incorrect treatment of employees, cutting their salaries and earnings disproportionate to the amount of work. Along with the uncontrollable development and demand for such services ( in May 2018 there were 18 million Uber rides registered in New York City, which makes it almost six times more than 3 years ago), drivers were loaded with heavy financial burdens and they were unable to live a decent life. Difficult competition and stressful working conditions undoubtedly transformed their lives into a very hard time. The situation was additionally intensified by the news about six suicides committed by professional drivers during the year in 2017-2018.

“Today we brought desperately needed relief to 80,000 working families,” Jim Conigliaro Jr., founder of the Independent Drivers Guild, said in a statement. “All workers deserve the protection of a fair, livable wage and we are proud to be setting the new bar for contractor workers’ rights in America.

The formula considers the non-driving time as well as the time spent traveling to the designated place. Additional remuneration for courses outside the city is also planned to compensate drivers for the extra kilometers. What is more, they will receive a “shared ride” bonus, which was set by TLC for picking up and dropping off carpool riders. What may be the possible results of such decision? The representatives of app-based companies, who aren’t sarisfied with the outcome of the case, claim that the increase of drivers’ salaries will lead to the overload of traffic on the Manhattan’s streets, unfair competition and unnecessary increase in tolls. The question however; is whether New York should become an example for other cities in terms of regulating ride-hail companies?

As far as I am concerned, the steps taken in New York will undoubtedly change the perception of modern applications-based professions. Our world is constantly changing, new technologies appear every day as well as new earning possibilities, which are different from traditional professions known to us from ages. As a 21st century society, we should be able to adapt to these changes, take into account new development paths and give them a chance. Drivers making money through applications, despite the many controversies associated with it, they try to make a living through hard work. I believe that the right to a minimum wage also applies to them. Let’s look at the current realities – each of us has downloaded Uber or Taxify, each of us uses their services – in fact I dare say that these drivers may work even harder than regular taxi drivers, especially in such a crowded city as New York City. According to the well-known saying- hard work pays off – let’s reward people who make an effort to change something in their lives, who provide for their families through hard work, not stealing or cheating. I believe that other major cities will follow New York and introduce slowly implementation of legal obligations in other places.



Is DNA phenotyping the future of solving crime cases?

Reading Time: 3 minutesImagine a perfect crime – without any witnesses, circumstantial evidence or suspects. The only thing that remains after the offence is a single drop of blood or tiny piece of epidermis. Such a case seems impossible to be solved, doesn’t it? It turns out, however, that thanks to cutting-edge technology, from now on police is able to identify the perpetrators’ appearance just by obtaining a small amount of their DNA.


DNA phenotyping has already helped to solve many old cases, which on the face of it, seemed completely hopeless and started to fall into oblivion. But what exactly is this DNA phenotyping? This pioneering technology extracts from a sample of our DNA certain genes that are responsible for how we look and enables to create a possible outline of the offender’s appearance. Although it seems almost idyllic, it is a sketch with possible features, which if incorrectly interpreted, may lead to accusations of innocent people.

Dr. Moses Schanfield, a forensic scientist and DNA expert says:

“You’re not going to get a precise answer. It’s not like a DNA profile that the likelihood of a coincidental match is 10-to-the-negative-15th. You’re going to get a generic picture.”


A company that offers the above-mentioned DNA technology, Parabon Nanolabs, has been working with law enforcement since 2015. They have developed a sophisticated software capable of unlocking information contained in DNA left at a crime scene, called “Snapshot”. Records show that since 2011, the Department of Defense has poured more than $1 million into Parabon to develop Snapshot. Generating a sketch of a potential offender costs almost $3,000 per composite image and the service  has already assisted in over 40 cases. What makes it innovative and exceptional is that there is no need for a previously created list of suspects or any database. The only crucial thing is a piece of DNA.

Nevertheless, there are many opponents of such technological development. Many claim that this can lead to reinforcing racial bias or establishing probable cause against innocent people, ensnaring them in criminal investigations. What is more, as this is a new technology, it is not known what accuracy the system is getting, how well it can assess. Exposing the algorithm that is not thoroughly tested to a widespread use can lead to many harm and misleading decisions. I personally think that until the system’s infallibility is proven, appearance sketches can be used as an aid and guidance to the police, but not the main source of proof. Moreover, as far as I am concerned this technology should be covered by legal regulations and strictly enforced so as not to lead to its abuse and usage  for improper and immoral purposes.


Another question however, is whether society is ready for this kind of progress? Is obtaining DNA from blood found outside of someone’s home isn’t that different from getting DNA from a discarded cigarette butt or coffee cup? This DNA development undoubtedly is going to grow faster and faster now, are we ready to enter the future?




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