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Cringely Pans Self-Driving Car Hype, Says They’re Years Away

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In what may be his final year of technology predictions, columnist Robert X. Cringely argues “I can’t say that we’re going to see anything beyond more beta tests of self-driving cars in 2019… We simply aren’t ready and probably won’t be for years to come….”

“The problem isn’t with the self-driving cars, it’s with the cars that aren’t self-driving, cars that are driven by idiots like me.”
It will eventually happen. Once half the fleet has been replaced with cars that could be self-drivers if we allowed them to be, then there will be a huge financial incentive to get the other half off the street. This will be especially the case if climate change is still accelerating. I’m guessing that most cars from 2020-on could be self-driving with only a software upgrade, which is why Elon Musk is predicting Tesla will have full autonomy by the end of 2019. But notice that Elon isn’t predicting Tesla will be allowed to have its cars drive themselves everywhere…

So why is the world talking so much about self-driving cars and full autonomy? Some of it is Tesla hype, some of it is marketing as the car companies try to get us to buy cars that will eventually be self-driving, but probably not until their second owners. And the other reason why we’re talking so much about self-driving cars is because Uber is planning to go public later this year…an IPO that will go smoother if the driving public thinks autonomous cars are something that we’ll be seeing soon. Uber has a labor problem. If it can spin a story that surly and expensive human drivers are soon to be replaced with electrons, that will be very reassuring to Wall Street. But as I explained, it also isn’t true.

The world isn’t yet ready — something Uber and Tesla and all the others will suddenly admit in about a year (post-IPO).
Cringely also argues that the problem isn’t just the “millions of drivers who are still controlling their vehicles the old fashion way, which is often in a barely competent fashion…”

“We keep our cars longer because they don’t rust and we can’t afford to replace them so often. The result is that while we could expect a complete turnover in car technology every decade, now it takes closer to two decades.”

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MTN launches new “sharing” packages for South African businesses

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MTN has launched a new mobile price plan for South African small businesses, called Made to Share.

The packages are aimed at giving business owners control over their connectivity spend.

“The innovative Made To Share solution offers business owners the ability to actively manage their spend of data and airtime to ultimately improve their operational and cost efficiencies,” said MTN.

Made To Share gives up to 20 employees the ability to receive airtime and data bundles from a single, shareable wallet.

The wallet can be managed by a business owner or a designated administrator, using the MyMTN App.

Admins can also add or remove users in real-time, set spending limits, and monitor usage.

Wanda Matandela, Chief Enterprise Officer at MTN Business, said Made To Share subscribers are given the option to choose from a variety of tariff plans that are customised to suit SMEs.

Shareable data bundles range from 3GB to 700GB, while shareable airtime starts from 200 minutes of airtime – with the more extensive tariff plan offering 2,500 minutes per month.

Contracts are available on a month-to-month basis, or for a duration of 3, 6, 12, or 24 months.

Now read: South African insurers deny using trackers to spy on drivers

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New Jurassic World short film shows off a Mosasaurus in South Africa

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If you like the newer Jurassic World world movies, you’re in luck today as an official short film called Battle at Big Rock has been released, with a particularly interesting moment pertinent to South Africa (and fans of sharks) happening during the credits.

A Mosasaurus, one of which was heavily featured in the 2015 film, is seen snapping up a shark while itself had just breached through the water and had its own meal.

While it’s not specifically stated to be in South Africa, Great White breachings to catch seals is a famous occurrence in False Bay near Cape Town. As the footage in the credits looks to be existing videos with dinosaurs added in, we wouldn’t be surprised if that clip was recorded in South Africa too.

This interesting addition is only a small part of Battle at Big Rock, however, and has no real impact on the film itself.

The video has been uploaded to the official Jurassic World YouTube account and can be watched in full in the embed below.

Battle at Big Rock (named after its setting at Big Rock National Park) is set a year after Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and sees a family caught in a battle between some dinosaurs while trying to enjoy a trip to the park.

The film was directed and co-written by Colin Trevorrow, who directed the 2015 movie, and had a hand in writing both of the Jurassic World movies. Emily Carmichael also had a hand in writing Battle at Big Rock, and will be writing the screenplay for the third movie.

At under nine minutes as a few product, the quality on offer here is extremely high and it’s a good watch even if you’re not the biggest fans of the new movies. We’re also a sucker for seeing South Africa get a nod in any media, even if it is a bit tangential. Give it a watch:

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Kenya: Principals Oppose Law on Teenage Pregnancy

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Secondary school heads have opposed a bill seeking to have them jailed if they refuse to readmit teenage girls who drop out of school due to pregnancy. The principals view the proposed penalty as ill-advised.

Kenya Secondary Schools’ Heads Association chair Kahi Indimuli said principals have always supported such students and cannot be subjected to punishment over mistakes made by learners.

JAIL TIME

He said such students should not be readmitted to the same school as that will create the impression that the institution condones teenage pregnancies.

The bill, now before Parliament, proposes that school heads, administrators, principals and boards should not deny the teenage mothers an opportunity to rejoin their former schools after delivery.

Under the Care and Protection Bill 2019, headteachers will be jailed for six months or fined up to Sh500,000 if they refuse to readmit the girls.

School management board members who refuse to readmit the girls will also be liable to a similar punishment.

The law has also not left parents of the teenage mothers out. Those who refuse to send their daughters back to school after delivery will also be punished.

The bill also bans discrimination against the girls and proposes that they be given an opportunity to make up for any missed classes or examinations.

Mr Indimuli said principals should not be condemned for the failure of parents to follow up with their children.

“Principals have been helping such girls to get admitted in different schools so that they study without victimisation,” Mr Indimuli said.

The Ministry of Education identifies the major causes of teenage pregnancies as lack of parental guidance and sex education in schools and moral decay in the society.

“Moral uprightness of a child is not the responsibility of teachers and school heads, parents should play the major role in modelling their children,” Mr Indimuli said.

During last year’s national exams, more than 11,000 teenage girls in primary and secondary schools were pregnant, according to statistics from the ministry.

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