Domino’s to test autonomous pizza delivery robot

Unboxing the prototype

Domino’s has announced its own autonomous pizza delivery machine. Built on military technology, DRU (Domino’s Robotic Unit) can keep pizza hot and drinks cold on the way to your house and is set to hit the streets of Australia in prototype form for testing.

Designed in Domino’s DLAB innovation hub in Brisbane, Australia, DRU is built to handle short-range deliveries with very little human intervention, has a heated compartment to keep your capricciosa warm, and a chiller to keep your drinks cool, inbuilt GPS for navigation and a bunch of sensors to try to stop it from running into things on the pavement. Domino’s says it is working with the government to build a legal framework in which it can start testing DRU in the real world…

DRU is part of a broader automation movement in the fast food industry that seeks to replace human workers with cheaper, more efficient and oftentimes more effective machines. And while Domino’s has made fun of the concept in the past, the company swears that DRU is no April Fool’s joke.

In a civilized, urban society this could work fine. Between income inequity, ignorance and greed, I can see the average neighborhood anarchist-cum-gangbanger looking at one of these as a rolling piggybank with edibles. Smash-and-grab on wheels.

OTOH, our leading contributor down under in Oz suggests a contender for useful robot employment.


Thanks, Honeyman

“President” Trump would threaten world economy as much as jihadi terror

The prospect of Donald Trump winning the race to the White House has joined China’s slowing economy, the Greek debt crisis and Britain’s EU referendum as a major threat to the global economy, according to a respected risk analysis firm…

The EIU placed the possibility of Trump being sworn in as US president next January sixth on their latest list of global threats, as serious as a resurgence of jihadi terrorism, and only marginally less risky than the collapse of the eurozone…

❝ “In the event of a Trump victory, his hostile attitude to free trade, and alienation of Mexico and China in particular, could escalate rapidly into a trade war…”…It added: “His militaristic tendencies towards the Middle East – and ban on all Muslim travel to the US – would be a potent recruitment tool for jihadi groups, increasing their threat both within the region and beyond…”

According to the EIU, there was “a moderate probability” of Trump winning November’s presidential election, and serious conflict in Washington if he succeeded.

“Although we do not expect Mr Trump to defeat his most likely Democratic contender, Hillary Clinton, there are risks to this forecast, especially in the event of a terrorist attack on US soil or a sudden economic downturn,” it said.

But, then, are there any Trump supporters who care a rat’s ass about global commerce, international treaty obligations, friendship and cooperation between nations and nationalities?

Tim Cook calls FBI claims “a crock”

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook took direct aim at the FBI’s claim that increasingly sophisticated encryption technology is hiding evidence of serious crimes from law enforcement in a phenomenon described as “going dark.”

Cook said we live in a golden age of surveillance,” where more information is available about the average person than ever before — from the people you call and text, to your location, to your movements on the street captured by security cameras. The digital footprints are everywhere, he said.

“My only point is, going dark is not — this is a crock,” said Cook in an extensive interview with Time magazine. “No one’s going dark.”

Cook granted a wide-ranging interview, in which he discussed the coming court battle with the government over its request that Apple help investigators crack open an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino assailants. He talked about learning of the government suit from press reports and the “simplistic” view that the debate over encryption is a choice between privacy and security.

The Apple executive said a Congressional decision to ban encryption would do little to stop criminals from using the technology.

“The bad guys will use encryption from non-American companies, because they’re pretty smart and encryption isn’t — I don’t own encryption, Apple doesn’t own encryption. Encryption, as you know, is everywhere,” Cook said. “In fact, some of encryption is funded by our government. Some of the best encryption is funded by the government. But you’ll see encryption coming out of most countries in the world.”

The FBI is lying. Our government is lying. Not that this will surprise anyone.

They lied about the USA Patriot Act. They lied about “understanding” the need for encryption to protect privacy – and then turned around told the FBI to go for it against Apple as the tech leader supporting encryption in the United States.

They lie about wanting a backdoor “for just this one phone”. Using National Security as the excuse for an end to what passes for privacy in America is nothing new. And politicians who lie about their excuses, crap motives – are nothing new, either.

The full transcript of the interview is here.

North Dakota Supreme Court overturns conviction on 20-year-old charge

The North Dakota Supreme Court has overturned the conviction of a man who was tried last year on a 20-year-old drunken driving charge.

Jason Gale was arrested for drunken driving in 1995 in Grand Forks but wasn’t called to court until last July, when a jury found him guilty. Gale’s attorney, Scott Brand, argued to justices in December that the delay violated Gale’s right to a speedy trial.

“The government was clearly negligent. It’s 20 years, memories are going to fade and that was obvious at the trial,” Brand told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “The officer just memorized his report. He didn’t have any independent recollection as to what happened on that night…”

The opinion released late Tuesday said justices can’t presume that a 20-year-old case was “diligently prosecuted when there is no evidence of any prosecution at all” and that two decades is an unprecedented amount of time for a DUI case to remain idle.

“I have never seen a case like this in my life or even so much heard of one,” Brand said.

Wonder if we’ll see this show up in an episode of Fargo?