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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Tax robots and Universal Basic Income

Technological innovation is moving at an ever-accelerating pace, and this comes with vast benefits and inevitable changes to our way of life. One downside is that machine learning and automation are already replacing jobs, and this will increase rapidly. It also has the potential to replace much of that income with Universal Basic Income (UBI), or government cash handouts to all adult citizens, perhaps starting with covering some element of taxes and rising in the range of $100,000/year per citizen within the next 20 years.

Sound ludicrous? Proponents of UBI include well-known figures such as Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson and Elon Musk. Musk stated last year that he believed job loss would be so severe due to automation that some form of UBI will be necessary to support our society. Bill Gates suggested that every time an employee is replaced by a robot, or in most cases software using automation through artificial intelligence or machine learning, that the business owners should have to pay a tax on that, much like the employee would on wages. But to date, most other UBI ideas have involved raising taxes on people with higher earnings. What if the real solution to UBI was through a path of lowering income taxes on all people?

Stanford lecturer and executive director of East Palo Alto-based investment bank Woodside Partners, Kartik Gada believes that continued technology deflation will both lead to the need for UBI and a route to fund it, rather than increased government debt. In his ATOM publication, Gada gives a great deal of data supporting his argument. “In response to technological deflation, the central banks of the world will have to create new money in perpetuity, increasing the stream at an exponentially rising rate much higher than is currently assumed,” says Gada. “This now-permanent need for monetary expansion, if embraced, can fund government spending more directly. This in turn creates a very robust, dynamic, and efficient safety net for citizens, while simultaneously reducing and even eliminating most forms of taxation by 2025.”

Technological deflation is caused by a convergence of rapidly deflating technologies to an ever-rising percentage of the economy. Gada estimates that technology comprises about 2 percent of the world economy currently, and this percentage is on the brink of rising quickly.

For example, in 2007, the iPhone replaced most of the technology in your home, leading to less need for new purchases in that category year to year. The same iPhone 8 that you just bought for $699 will likely cost a quarter of that to buy new in three years, partly due to the release of a newer, faster, more powerful model at the top of the price ladder. Home Internet of Things devices, from Alexa and Ring to Nest, also are replacing and consolidating multiple normal purchases into lower-cost devices.

So while the price of new tools and toys might seem like it is going up on a case by case basis, it’s rapidly decreasing versus capabilities, speed, power, number of purchases required, etc. In addition, artificial intelligence and machine learning are driving use of automation up and use of employees for specific roles and functions down. Amazon reportedly installed 75,000 robots to replace human jobs in 2017. This helps them and other companies drive down costs, which makes it possible to offer lower prices across the board.

Income taxes can be eliminated and an unconditional Universal Basic Income can be funded.

These factors, from continued innovation and efficiencies, paired with automation that reduces jobs and prices, has led to fewer consumer purchases and rapid overall declines in aggregate consumer spending — and could lead to serious problems for employment and the overall economy. If this happens, it may be more far-reaching than many realize and will certainly be scary for some along the way. Gada believes that we are nearing a point in our economy during which deflation is a more serious threat than inflation as the percentage of technological goods we buy increases and the cost and number of those goods decreases.

To make up for this deflationary pressure, the Federal Reserve first lowered the Fed Funds rate to 0 percent. But when deflation proved to be too much for even that, they had to go even further, and generate all new liquidity above that.

To this end, the Federal Reserve embarked on a program known as Quantitative Easing (QE), relying on the purchase of mortgage-backed securities and treasuries.

Other countries followed suit with similar programs. This has staved off deflation for now, but this may not continue to work in the next crisis without alternate methods of dispersing capital in a more direct, cash-oriented manner.

Eventually, central bank actions like QE will have to be permanent and ever-increasing. Enter the notion of funneling the QE money into a form of UBI. As automation and technology efficiencies increase, this also will create great savings for world governments as they can now deliver services for far less cost. While governments may not lower taxes willingly, competitive pressure between states and nations will rise, forcing them to compete for efficiency of governance. It is in this manner that income taxes can be eliminated and an unconditional Universal Basic Income can be funded.

The key is that as income tax is phased out and technology is monetized to fund government, new jobs are created more quickly, and this offsets the job loss through automation, with the UBI serving as a cushioning mechanism while people transition. Ultimately, Gada believes that the phase-out of income tax combined with UBI will foster a vastly higher degree of entrepreneurship in the economy, and this will be the source of most professional activity in the future.

Under the transition program that Gada has outlined in his publication, the numbers start in the early thousands of dollars each year per citizen, and rise continuously to upwards of $100,000 in the 2030s. That number may seem high, but is not outside of the range of long-term trendlines in world economic growth or the ever-accelerating levels of central bank liquidity actions being done worldwide. Not to be forgotten is the high cost of income tax on productivity and entrepreneurship, and how both will find a greatly enhanced climate when the tax burden on humans is lowered.

Could we be on the brink of an age where a much more advanced version of the #TaxRobots idea that Bill Gates has advocated can indeed be implemented? According to Kartik Gada, this may not be too many years away.


Source: TechCrunch

This insane fighting robot can be yours now for $1,600

Pilot Labs’ Zeus Battle Robot captured our hearts at CES back in January, because, well, just look at this crazy thing:

Seemingly against all odds, the ‘bot is now available for purchase through Amazon. And the price tag is as insane as the rest of it: $1,600 for the kit and $1,700 for a pre-assembled version. That price includes a wireless controller, battery, charger, case and the robot, naturally. There are also a bunch of design files for further customizing it.

The Zeus stands 14-inches, weighs just under five pounds and sports 22 motors. We were pretty impressed by the demo we got at CES, though that model hit a bit of a snag, after battling it out all day. You can see in the video that it’s got a bit of a wonky arm thing going on. Hopefully the shipping version has those snags worked out.

The battery should get up to 50 minutes of fight time on a charge. Pilot says it’s already working on future versions with AI, computer vision and, potentially, Alexa voice control. It also plans to sponsor “an international fighting Robot contest with big cash prizes,” so maybe you can win back some the arm and leg that you paid for it. 


Source: TechCrunch

Best Amazon Prime Day 2018 phone deals: $300 off Galaxy Note 8 and LG V35 ThinQ (just updated) – CNET

Prime Day moves into its last hours with awesome deals on the Galaxy Note 8, LG V35 ThinQ and Moto G6. And discounts on a bunch of iPhone X and Galaxy S9 cases, too.
Source: CNET

Egypt's new law targets social media, journalists for 'fake news' – CNET

The government will be able to legally prosecute popular social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter.
Source: CNET

Google Assistant will now give you a snapshot of your day – CNET

In one consolidated overview, Assistant can pull together info like commute times and scheduled meetings so you can plan your day.
Source: CNET

Walmart may battle Netflix, Amazon Prime Video head-on – CNET

Walmartflix?
Source: CNET

Tech giants to Congress: Sorry about our mistakes, but there's no bias – CNET

Facebook, Twitter and Google started off a Judiciary Committee hearing with an apology — then an explanation.
Source: CNET

Slack acquires Missions to help users automate work tasks inside chat

As Slack continues to grow its paid business users, the company is looking for ways to help customers build integrations that make sense for the work they do.

Slack announced today that it has acquired Robots and Pencils’ Missions, an app that allows Slack users to build tools to automate simple routines without code. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Paid users are already big fans of Slack integrations.There are currently 1,500 apps available in the Slack app directory. The company says that 94 percent of users in that bracket use apps and integrations, while 65 percent of teams have built their own. Building an integration certainly isn’t an easy process for non-tech teams to handle, Missions is focused on a more visual flow that ditches some of the complexity.

Missions’ technology lets people create workflows for tasks that they might normally have to talk about inside Slack and then carry out the process off-chat. With Missions, Slack hopes that users can help teams boost productivity by making things more simple for a variety of repeatable processes.

Onboarding seems to be an area where Slack sees a lot of potential for this tech, ensuring that new employees know what documents they need to fill out, who in the company they need to meet and other tasks they’ll have to complete. Other potential areas for the app to help users include managing approvals and rejections in the  hiring process as well as internal ticketing.

The company says that they’ll be supporting Missions’ customers for free for the next few months as they begin to build the technology into their platform. When you can start playing with this tech? The company said they’ll have more to share “later this year.”


Source: TechCrunch

No Man’s Sky Next seeks to right the game’s wrongs

For a certain kind of gamer, the premise of No Man’s Sky, that of an endless procedurally generated space universe teeming with life, was intoxicatingly perfect, almost too good to be true. After overselling that dream to the disappointment of just about everybody, Hello Games is back to make amends with a major new update: No Man’s Sky Next.

No Man’s Sky Next will introduce a spate of updates, including long-awaited full multiplayer gameplay, a visual update to improve textures and add detail, first to third-person perspective switching, unlimited base building and command freighters that allow you to create, upgrade and dispatch a fleet of ships from the comfort of your own bridge. You can see a few of those changes implemented in the trailer below.

The update, which will hit on July 24 as a free update to PlayStation and PC, also brings the advent of No Man’s Sky for the Xbox — great news for some console gamers who wanted to check it out without committing to a whole new system.

Whether No Man’s Sky Next will truly flesh out and deepen the innovative exploration game in a satisfying way remains to be seen, but both longtime players and those who followed along with curious hesitation now have something to look forward to. Happily, the wait won’t be long.


Source: TechCrunch

Microsoft is digging itself a hole by giving away free Surface Docks

Microsoft is giving away a free Surface Dock with the purchase of a Surface Book 2 or a Surface Laptop. If you have a Surface Book 2 15-inch, however, that free gift might turn you off.

The post Microsoft is digging itself a hole by giving away free Surface Docks appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

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