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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Visa Will Be Giving up to $500,000 to Restaurants That Go Cashless

Image result for Cashless

The push toward a cashless society is becoming more of a shove. Before today I had never heard of "The Visa Cashless Challenge," but after reading about it, I have to say I am quite alarmed. (Public Domain)

The push toward a cashless society is becoming more of a shove. Before today, I had never heard of "The Visa Cashless Challenge," but after reading about it, I have to say I am quite alarmed. Visa is trying to "encourage" businesses to go cashless, and one of the ways the company plans to do this is by "awarding up to $500,000 to 50 eligible U.S.-based small business food service owners who commit to joining the 100 percent cashless quest." The food industry is still one of the last bastions where cash is heavily used, and so it makes sense that Visa would want to target that segment. Of course the more people who use cards to pay for meals, the more money Visa will make.

When I go to restaurants, I almost always use cash, and I know a lot of other people who very much prefer to use cash in those situations as well. But if Visa has its way, soon all of us will be forced to use some form of digital payment instead. The following is an excerpt from the press release Visa issued about this new "challenge"...
Image result for Cashless

Today Visa (NYSE:V) announced it is launching a major effort to encourage businesses to go cashless. Aiming to create a culture where cash is no longer king, the program will give merchants increased ability to accept all forms of global digital payments. Visa will be encouraging and helping merchants go cashless by using innovation to their advantage in order to stay competitively connected to their customers.

To encourage businesses to go cashless, Visa is announcing The Visa Cashless Challenge, with a call to action for small business restaurants, caf├ęs or food truck owners to describe what cashless means for them, their employees and customers. Visa will be awarding up to $500,000 to 50 eligible US-based small business food service owners who commit to joining the 100 percent cashless quest.

At Visa, we believe you can be everywhere you want to be, and that it should be easy to pay and be paid in more ways than ever—whether it's a phone, card, wearable or other device," said Jack Forestell, head of global merchant solutions, Visa Inc. "With 70 percent of the world, or more than 5 billion people, connected via mobile device by 2020, we have an incredible opportunity to educate merchants and consumers alike on the effectiveness of going cashless."

Visa would love to eliminate the use of cash entirely because it would mean much bigger profits.

Credit to Charismanews.com

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Chinese Military Developing Autonomous Truck

China Ministry of Defense (MND) video from July 16, 2017 shows its autonomous military supply vehicle.

China’s army is developing technology to deploy an unmanned cargo supply truck, according to recent intelligence.

An unarmed 8-wheel, 4-axle prototype vehicle designed to carry supplies was revealed in a video recently released by the Chinese Ministry of National Defense (MND), and documented by British military and aerospace publishing company IHS Jane's.

Released July 16, the English-language PLA Today video does not contain specifics about the purported autonomous "battlefield smart supply" vehicle, other than to assert that China's military capabilities are on the rise, Jane's noted.

As Chinese military suppliers have in the past been known to base their heavy manufacturing on Western designs and platforms, the origins of the supply truck — appearing remarkably similar to a US military supply vehicle — are not known. Jane's observed that the Chinese truck appears to have an option for a human driver.

Credit to Sputnik

80 sheep committed suicide in front of their astonished shepherd in Turkey

The weird incident occurred in the mountainous region of Muradiye in the south-east of the country.

80 sheep commit suicide in Turkey. via Haber7

As the shepherd Ercan Ozer explains, one sheep first jumped off a cliff and then all the other 79 followed. The sheep owner tried to stop the crazy animals in vain only saving a small part of his herd.

The shepherd cannot explains the suicide phenomenon and argues the sheep were not scared and were not in danger.

The reason behind the new sheep mass suicide in Turkey is unknown. via Haber7

Credit to strangesounds.org

Wal-Mart Replaces More Than 4,000 Employees With Machines

The Wall Street Journal published a headline today that should strike fear into the heart of every crusaders in the fight for $15: “Robots Are Replacing Workers Where You Shop.”
As the story explains, Wal-Mart is replacing some of its non-customer facing workers with robots, like bookkeepers who were responsible for counting and storing the store's cash supply.
Last August, a 55-year-old Wal-Mart employee found out her job would now be done by a robot. Her task was to count cash and track the accuracy of the store’s books from a desk in a windowless back room. She earned $13 an hour.

Instead, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. started using a hulking gray machine that counts eight bills per second and 3,000 coins a minute. The Cash360 machine digitally deposits money at the bank, earning interest for Wal-Mart faster than sending an armored car. And it uses software to predict how much cash is needed on a given day to reduce excess.

‘They think it will be a more efficient way to process the money,’ said the employee, who has worked with Wal-Mart for a decade.”
Wal-Mart has a Cash360 machine in nearly all of its 4,700 US stores, eliminating thousands of jobs in what is yet another example of how automation will soon replace hundreds of thousands of jobs in the retail and food-service industries.Previously, we reported on McDonald’s “Experience of the Future” initiative, which one analyst calculates will lead to the replacement of 2,500 cashiers with self-order kiosks.
A Wal-Mart spokesman claims that most of these employees were moved into store jobs to improve service. But according to WSJ, more than 500 have left the company. The store accountant is now a greeter at the front door, where she still earns $13 an hour.
Automation isn’t motivated, as some liberals believe, by a desire to squeeze every last penny of profit out of a business. In reality, automation could be brick and mortar retailers’ last hope for survival.
Shopping is moving online, hourly wages are rising and retail profits are shrinking—a formula that pressures retailers from Wal-Mart to Tiffany & Co. to find technology that can do the rote labor of retail workers or replace them altogether.

As Amazon.com Inc. makes direct inroads into traditional retail with its plans to buy grocer Whole Foods Market Inc., Wal-Mart and other large retailers are under renewed pressure to invest heavily to keep up.”
Economists say retail jobs are ripe for automation. A 2015 report by Citi Research, co-authored with researchers from the Oxford Martin School, found that two-thirds of U.S. retail jobs are at “high risk” of disappearing by 2030.

“Self-checkout lanes can replace cashiers. Autonomous vehicles could handle package delivery or warehouse inventory. Even more complex tasks like suggesting what toy or shirt a shopper might want could be handled by a computer with access to a shopper’s buying history, similar to what already happens online today.

‘The primary predictor for automation is how routine a task is,’ said Ebrahim Rahbari, an economist at Citi Research. ‘A big issue is that retail is a sizable percentage of the workforce.’”
Nearly 16 million people, or 11% of nonfarm US jobs, are in the retail industry, mostly as cashiers or salespeople. The industry eclipsed the shrinking manufacturing sector as the biggest employer 15 years ago – and now they’re disappearing, too. Since January, the US economy has lost about 71,000 retail jobs, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The decline of retail jobs, should it occur on a large scale—as seems likely long-term—will make the labor market even less hospitable for a group of workers who already face limited opportunities for stable, well-paid employment,” said David Autor, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Earlier this year, Beverly Henderson took a pay cut and gave up her health-care benefits when she left Wal-Mart in the wake of the back-office changes. “I’m 59 years old,” she said. “I never worked on the floor. I’ve always worked office positions and I had no desire.”
She is now an office manager at a local business she says can’t afford to give her the same perks or $16.75 an hour she made after 16 years with Wal-Mart. “I would have never left Wal-Mart. They were paying me decent,” said the Southport, N.C., resident. At Wal-Mart, Ms. Henderson managed store invoices, a job the company used technology to mostly centralize.”
The goal of automation isn’t to reduce a retailer’s staff, said Brian McCabe, an executive at a subsidiary of security firm G4S PLC. “We can optimize labor,” he said. “How a given retailer exercises that benefit or opportunity is up to them.”
However, the “optimizing labor” pitch is specious: There’s little evidence that it’s happening on a wide scale. If it were, the US labor force wouldn’t be struggling with the sharp declines in productivity witnessed in recent years. The decline suggests that, instead of freeing up workers for “higher value” tasks, automation has entered a phase where it's focused on the “low-hanging fruit” of low-skill retail and food-service jobs.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said he’s not worried about automation destroying American jobs, believing any real threat to be "50 or 100 years off," despite a report from PwC claiming that more than a third of US jobs are at “high risk” of being destroyed by automation by the early 2030s.
Well, Mnuchin certainly isn’t worried about losing HIS job to a robot - unless that robot once ran an investment bank called Goldman Sachs.
Credit to Zero Hedge

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