five-levels-of-vehicle-automony

Why Self Driving Vehicles Will Not Hit Full Level 5 Autonomy For Many Years

Unless you live under a rock, you have heard of Self Driving Autonomous Vehicles (Uber, Waymo, GM Cruise…) and Governments around the world are scrambling to:

  1. Modify existing legislation to allow self driving vehicles
  2. Be the first in their region to allow self driving cars, because of the amount of R&D money / jobs involved
  3. Consider new legislation to curb some the top level autonomy (level 5), where the vehicle is 100% responsible for the driving and it does not even offer a steering wheel or break peddle

five-levels-of-vehicle-automonyThose are all important things to do, but Level 5 full autonomy is much further away than the public and many pendants think.  Many people have already figured out that the algorithms used to drive on:

  1. Snow covered roads
  2. Poorly painted roads
  3. Temporary construction zones

(more…)

facebook-cambridge-anaytica-kogan-nix-bannon-mercer-connections-theguardian

Facebook Cambridge Analytica Scandal Is a Crisis For All Online Companies

There is a crisis at Facebook because of the constant negative media coverage of the Cambridge Analytica scandal causing users to question staying on the product and that has caused Facebook stock drop a truly staggering $70B in value in 11 days.  It’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, owns 28.2% of the company so he has lost $20B personally.facebook-scandal-stock-price-drop-70b-zukerberg$20b-11-days

There is a also crisis being experienced by some Facebook users that have finally realized Facebook and nearly all other ‘free’ online services are harvesting personal data to allow others to micro-target advertising at them.  WHO DIDN’T KNOW THIS ALREADY?  Apparently millions of people thought Facebook was some benevolent do-gooder, that provided a complex service for free because they were nice people.

The saying in the industry holds as true today as it did in the 1999 when it was coined: “You are not the customer; you are the product“.

The only ethically questionable behavior by Facebook in this current crisis, was corrected way back in the spring of 2015.  That issue was the ability of users to share not only their own information, but that of their friends (if those friends had not changed default privacy settings).

Facebook made USD$40B in 2017 and that was another record amount for them.  They did this by monitoring you, figuring out what you might be interested in and then allowing advertisers to target you personally, just like they said they would.

The along came Cambridge Analytica who used a large set of Facebook user data and figured out patterns they could use to apply to other Facebook users.  Cambridge Analytica organized the social media efforts for the Donald Trump Presidential campaign and now it is a political crisis too.

It is important to note that:

(more…)

expert-system-flow-chart-example

Should You Have The Right To Know You Are Talking To An AI Bot?

The US congress now has an Artificial Intelligence “Caucus” considering regulating how Artificial Intelligence (AI).  One the items they are looking into is figuring out if citizens should have a right to know that they are talking / chatting with an Artificially Intelligent piece of software or a human.

Many people feel tricked when they find out that they have been talking or chatting with an AI when the default assumption has been that people are talking or chatting with human representatives of the company in question.  Given the situation today and the obvious fact that AI conversations are going to become more and more human like, it is understandable that governments want to consider the implications.

This 8 minute video covers the FUTURE OF AI ACT that has just been introduced in the US Congress, which focuses on the military and is more broader than our narrow discussion about rights, but it does give you a sense of what is being considered.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hTQEqB5y9c

After some careful consideration however, the only scenario we could come up with in which a human really needs to understand that they are not talking to a human representative, was emergency services like 911.  The argument with emergency services is simply that during a crisis (shooting, heart attack…) there may be nuances (tone, slurred speech…) that a human can take from a conversation that AI’s cannot.

We are not suggesting that AI’s can not be very useful in emergency services communications (think about alerts, routing… that can all be done much faster, more accurately and more calmly by an AI than a human).  We are suggesting that in real emergencies human callers should know if they are talking to an AI or another human.

(more…)

cambridge-analytica-the-power-of0big-data-in-the-electoral-process

Anatomy of a Modern Data Breach: The Facebook – Cambridge Analytica Scandal

cambridge-analytica-the-power-of0big-data-in-the-electoral-processNow that much of the dust has settled on Cambridge Analytica‘s misuse of Facebook users data the sad story can now be told.

It is critical to note upfront that Facebook was not hacked and that the information that was misused was provided voluntarily by Facebook Users.  The only breach was a breach of misplaced trust.

Timeline of the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica Scandal:

  1. January 2015:  Cambridge University’s Professor Alexander Krogan created ‘ThisIsYourDigitalLife’ personality survey app on Facebook, under his company “Global Science Research”
    • facebook-cambridge-anaytica-kogan-nix-bannon-mercer-connections-theguardian270,000 people responded and at the time it was possible for users of that app to provide limited information on their ‘friends’, if those ‘friends’ Facebook privacy settings allowed it
    • Including the ‘Friends’ moves the number of people that had some limited information sent to the ‘research’ company to about 50 Million
    • Professor Kogan has serious ties to the Russian government
      .
  2. April 2015: Facebook changed their software to make it impossible for users to share any of their ‘friends’ information
    . (more…)
comparison-of-fuel-prices-between-electric-vs-gasoline-vehicles-2018

Are Electric Cars Really Less Expensive To Own & Operate?

If you are interested in fully electric cars or plug-in hybrids there is a myriad of misleading information to wade through.  One of the big questions is, ‘Is it is cheaper to run own and operate an electric car vs a gasoline powered car?’.

Before we get into the numbers, you need to be aware of two things:

  1. Most electric vehicles are plugged in at work during the day at no additional cost to the employee
  2. The price of electricity varies from city to city, so it is difficult to say definitively one way or the other

The most accurate, generalized, answer is to say electrified and gasoline vehicles are very competitive with each other and one does not (yet) have a major cost advantage over the other.

I drive a Cadillac ELR with a 60KM+ range (average of 55KM in winter and 65KM range in summer) before my gasoline engine generator kicks in.  Because I used to track my expenses and my kilometers, I can say with certainty that the ELR save me:

  1. about $1700/year in fuel costs. Like many, I seldom plug it in at home and on the rare occasion that I do my solar panels provide about 50% of electricity.  I do 95% of my car charging at work, at no extra cost.
  2. Nearly all electric vehicles have ‘regenerative braking’ which uses the electric motor to slow the car.  The physical brakes are seldom used and I expect that the factory set of brakes will last the life of the car.  That saves a few hundred dollars.
  3. Because the gasoline engine generator in my plug-in hybrid Cadillac ELR is seldom used I will only get an oil change every 18 months or so.  If the car was fully electric, I would never get an oil change.  This saves both money and time… which to me is more money.
  4. For the reasons above, I expect the exhaust system and other consumables (spark plugs, air filters…) will last dramatically longer than a regular car.  All of this saving money.

We have two interesting sets of numbers for you to review.  From the new for 2018 book ThePriceOfCarbon.com comes an interesting info-graphic:

comparison-of-fuel-prices-between-electric-vs-gasoline-vehicles-2018

(more…)

Trump Brings in 30% Tariff on Solar Panels, Temporarily Killing .25M US Jobs

On Monday January 22, 2018, the Trump administration brought in a 30% tax on imported solar panels.   This new solar tax will last four years and decrease over time to 15% in its last year.

“Over the last 5 years, nearly 30 American solar manufacturers collapsed; today the President is sending a message that American innovation and manufacturing will not be bullied out of existence without a fight… This is a step forward for this high-tech solar manufacturing industry we pioneered right here in America.”
pressreleasepoint.com/trump-imposes-tariffs-solar-panels 

PUNISH CHINA?

Of the few that have heard of this new tariff, the common misconception is that it is an attempt to punish China from dumping (selling below cost, to kill competitors) panels but the US only imports 10% of its solar panels from China (see the last 30 seconds of the video below).  As you can see in the video below, the US solar industry did not ask for and does not want this tariff.

(more…)

VIDEO: Short Summary of What is Happening With Net Neutrality in the US?

First world governments around the world, including Canada  have come down on the side of Net Neutrality (the idea that internet providers can not advance or block one website or stream).  The notable exception to this is the United States under President Trump’s appointed FCC leader (and former Verizon executive) Ajit Pai, which has eliminated the Obama era rules protecting an open internet in December 2017.

The Republican / Ajit Pai / Trump argument is that the infrastructure is owned by the internet providers so they should be able to do what they want with it.  The opposing view, held by most citizens is that the internet is like electricity or a phone; charge for the service but it is not the providers concern what is or is not connected.

(more…)

7 US States Already Allow GM’s New ‘Cruise’ FULLY Autonomous Car Service

gm-cruise-autonomous-boltAutonomous cars and trucks are steaming at us at a surprisingly rapid pace.  Fully autonomous vehicles are not the stuff of 2025, they are the stuff of late 2018.  Seven US States already allow GM, Tesla, Uber and other autonomous car makers to drive limited numbers of vehicles with no driver.  In Canada, Ontario allows autonomous vehicles in approved cities and towns.

GM executives told investors in 2016 that by 2025, autonomous vehicle cost reductions and increased consumer adoption would combine to drive the price down to less than $1 per mile, or about a third of current ride-hailing prices.

In 2017 GM had more autonomous vehicles on the road that any other company in the world.  In California 20 of the autonomous cars were involved in accidents but not a single one of them was found to have the autonomous car at fault.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4y09TnE4QE

(more…)

Recycling Crisis as China Closes Doors To Junk Plastic & How EPR Can Help Solve It

There is a global crisis with municipal recycling programs that is affecting YOUR community as of January 1st 2018.  China is now rejecting all used plastic, except “high grades”.  High Grades are used materials that are fully sorted.  This means mixed plastics, aka Low Grade, will no longer be taken.  The problem for us is that we rely on China’s cheap and efficient labour force to sort low grade plastics for us.

This video explains the Chinese “National Sword” policies that bans 24 different types of products (read: mixed paper, mixed plastic and mixed clothing) and how the US is beginning to deal with this.

We talked to Dr. Christina Seidel, Executive Director of the Recycling Council of Alberta about this issue earlier today.  She said that “… (consumer) education is good.  We need to be more careful about what goes in…(to the recycling system).

(more…)

VEGANS UNITE! Man Made Chicken is Going Mass-Market Soon

UPDATE Jan 4 2020 – “Cultured Chicken” is now available in Singapore with Government approval and at competitive prices.

Click here for the updated video and article “No Chickens Were Harmed In The Making of This Nugget: Cultured Chicken is Here”


While governments around the world grapple with Genetically Modified Products (GMO’s) like wheat and canola, there is a new issue they will have to address shortly: man made meat.

This video explains that Israels “Super Meat” just raised millions of dollars to COMPLETE their lab produced chicken product.  Man made chicken will be available for sale in two or three years to specialty markets and will almost certainly be in your grocery store within a decade.

THIS article from 2015 explains that lab made beef has dropped in price from $300K to $11; it is happening and you will have the choice.

Governments around the world are going to be forced to bring legislation for these products, even if it is no more than that formally rule that man made meat is not classed differently than animal grown meat.

(more…)