Wednesday December 13, 2017

Robots to be deployed to calculate donations at Sabarimala temple

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Thiruvananthapuram: The Travancore Devasom Board authorities in Kerala are mulling the deployment of robots at the Sabarimala temple to calculate donations and for the preparing the sacrament.

C.P. Rama Raja Prema Prasad, the TDB commissioner, said that they have begun talks with a Bengaluru-based company to look into the issue of employing robots for easing work at the temple.

“During peak season, many people are employed for counting and separation of rupees and coins, which are packed in bags and then sent to the bank,” Prasad told IANS.

According to TDB, the temple has seen an increase in revenue collections of late and there has also been an increase in pilferage of money.

“Another thing that we are looking is the preparation of ‘prasadam — Unniappam’. We are looking forward to receive a clearance from the Kerala High Court and once we obtain it, we will float a tender,” said Prasad.

The Sabarimala temple is situated on the Western Ghat ranges, four kilometres uphill from Pamba river in Pathanamthitta district in central Kerala.

The temple is accessible only on foot from Pamba river.

Even though the temple is open on the first few days of every month of the Malayalam calendar, the peak pilgrimage season begins on the first day of the Malayalam month in November and closes on the first day of the Malayalam month in January — around 60 days.

TDB sources put the total collection by way of pilgrim donations and sale of sacrament in the just concluded season as having crossed Rs.300 crore. (IANS)

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Stephen Hawking believes Technology could end Poverty and Disease, says Artificial Intelligence could be the Worst or Best things for Humanity

Hawking said everyone has a role to play in making sure that this generation and the next are fully engaged with the study of science at an early level to create “a better world for the whole human race.”

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Stephen Hawking
Cosmologist Stephen Hawking delivers a video message during the inauguration of Web Summit, Europe's biggest tech conference, in Lisbon, Portugal, Nov. 6, 2017. (VOA)

Lisbon, November 7, 2017 : Technology can hopefully reverse some of the harm caused to the planet by industrialization and help end disease and poverty, but artificial intelligence (AI) needs to be controlled, physicist Stephen Hawking said on Monday.

Hawking, a British cosmologist who was diagnosed with motor neuron disease aged 21, said technology could transform every aspect of life but cautioned that artificial intelligence poses new challenges.

He said artificial intelligence and robots are already threatening millions of jobs — but this new revolution could be used to help society and for the good of the world such as alleviating poverty and disease.

“The rise of AI could be the worst or the best thing that has happened for humanity,” Stephen Hawking said via telepresence at opening night of the 2017 Web Summit in Lisbon that is attended by about 60,000 people.

“We simply need to be aware of the dangers, identify them, employ the best possible practice and management and prepare for its consequences well in advance.”

Hawking’s comments come during an escalating debate about the pro and cons of artificial intelligence, a term used to describe machines with a computer code that learns as it goes.

ALSO READ Humanity’s days are numbered, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will cause mass extinction, warns Stephen Hawking

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Elon Musk, who is chief executive of electric car maker Tesla Inc and rocket company SpaceX, has warned that AI is a threat to humankind’s existence.

But Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, in a rare interview recently, told the WSJ Magazine that there was nothing to panic about.

Stephen Hawking said everyone has a role to play in making sure that this generation and the next are fully engaged with the study of science at an early level to create “a better world for the whole human race.”

ALSO READ Indian Origin Scientist Part of the team that Developed Nanotechnology-based Test that quickly Detects Zika Virus

“We need to take learning beyond a theoretical discussion of how AI should be, and take action to make sure we plan for how it can be,” said Stephen Hawking, who communicates via a cheek muscle linked to a sensor and computerized voice system.

“You all have the potential to push the boundaries of what is accepted, or expected, and to think big. We stand on the threshold of a brave new world. It is an exciting — if precarious — place to be and you are the pioneers,” he said. (VOA)

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Supreme Court to Pronounce Entry Of Women at Sabarimala Temple

Supreme Court will pronounce its order on the ban on women's entry into Sabarimala Temple. Will it be another landmark judgement?

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Sabarimala Temple
The Sabarimala Temple Does Not Allow Entry Of Women As A Part Of Age Old Tradition. Wikimedia

New Delhi, October 13, 2017: The Supreme Court on Friday referred to a Constitution Bench the question whether a ban on the entry of women in the age group 10-50 years in Kerala’s Sabarimala temple was discriminatory and violative of the Right to Equality under Article 14.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Ashok Bhushan also framed six questions to be addressed by the Constitution Bench.

The petition was filed by the Indian Young Lawyers Association, challenging the custom of the temple to bar entry of women in the 10-50 age bracket (of menstruating age).The custom had been termed as ‘discriminatory’ in their petition.

Sabarimala Temple
The Supreme Court will declare its decision on the long-existing ban on entry of women. Wikimedia

The Constitution Bench will deal with questions whether this practice amounted to discrimination against the women. The apex court also framed a question on the violation of rights under the Constitution with regard to the entry of women into the temple.

The reason for the ban on entry of women aged between 10 and 50 years as stated by the management of the Sabarimala temple, located on a hilltop in the Western Ghats of Pathanamthitta district was because they cannot maintain “purity” on account of menstruation.

With this verdict by Supreme Court, the long sustaining protest against the entry of women tends to put an end to the practice.

The temple, built in the 12th century, is located in Pathanamthitta district and is dedicated to Lord Ayappa.

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Will Robots Take Your Job? 70 Per cent of Americans Say No

A report issued by the education company Pearson, Oxford University, and the Nesta Foundation found that just one in five workers are in occupations that will shrink by 2030

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A robot carries boxes at the Amazon Fulfillment center in Robbinsville Township, N.J (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (VOA)

Washington, October 8, 2017 : Most Americans believe their jobs are safe from the spread of robots and automation, at least during their lifetimes, and only a handful says automation has cost them a job or loss of income.

Still, a survey by the Pew Research Center also found widespread anxiety about the general impact of technological change. Three-quarters of Americans say it is at least “somewhat realistic” that robots and computers will eventually perform most of the jobs currently done by people. Roughly the same proportion worry that such an outcome will have negative consequences, such as worsening inequality.

“The public expects a number of different jobs and occupations to be replaced by technology in the coming decades, but few think their own job is heading in that direction,” Aaron Smith, associate director at the Pew Research Center, said.

The Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. on July 6, 2005, is the author of a 2017 study looking at the spread of automation and robotics in the workplace.
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The Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. on July 6, 2005, is the author of a 2017 study looking at the spread of automation and robotics in the workplace (VOA)

More than half of respondents expect that fast food workers, insurance claims processors and legal clerks will be mostly replaced by robots and computers during their lifetimes. Nearly two-thirds think that most retailers will be fully automated in 20 years, with little or no human interaction between customers and employers.

Americans’ relative optimism about their own jobs might be the more accurate assessment. Many recent expert analyses are finding less dramatic impacts from automation than studies from several years ago that suggested up to half of jobs could be automated.

Skills will need to be updated

A report issued by the education company Pearson, Oxford University, and the Nesta Foundation found that just one in five workers are in occupations that will shrink by 2030.

Many analysts increasingly focus on the impact of automation on specific tasks, rather than entire jobs. A report in January from the consulting firm McKinsey concluded that less than 5 percent of occupations were likely to be entirely automated. But it also found that in 60 percent of occupations, workers could see roughly one-third of their tasks automated.

That suggests workers will need to continually upgrade their skills as existing jobs evolve with new technologies.

Few have lost jobs to automation

Just 6 percent of the respondents to the Pew survey said that they themselves have either lost a job or seen their hours or incomes cut because of automation. Perhaps not surprisingly, they have a much more negative view of technology’s impact on work. Nearly half of those respondents say that technology has actually made it harder for them to advance in their careers.

ALSO READ Are Robots Going To Take My Job? The War Between Man and Machine

Contrary to the stereotype of older workers unable to keep up with new technology, younger workers — aged 18 through 24 — were the most likely to say that the coming of robots and automation had cost them a job or income. Eleven percent of workers in that group said automation had cut their pay or work hours. That’s double the proportion of workers aged 50 through 64 who said the same.

The Pew survey also found widespread skepticism about the benefits of many emerging technologies, with most Americans saying they would not ride in a driverless car. A majority are also not interested in using robots as caregiver for elderly relatives.

Self-driving cars

Thirty percent of respondents said they think self-driving cars would actually cause traffic accidents to increase, and 31 percent said they would stay roughly the same. Just 39 percent said they thought accidents would decline.

More than 80 percent support the idea of requiring self-driving cars to stay in specific lanes.

The survey was conducted in May and had 4,135 respondents, Pew said. (VOA)