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Monthly ArchiveMarch 2018

Don’t Fear the Robots

As we move more and more into a digital world the data we share about ourselves online, from personal information to personality traits, will continue to grow. News stories recently have made it more and more tempting to fear technology.

Data Protection regulations or no, unscrupulous firms will use our data, collected legally in some cases [Just check out the terms and conditions on some websites & apps. Who’s going to read all of that?] to sell us things, to sell our details to other firms who will sell us things etc.

Seriously Twitter, no more Vodaphone ads. But I don’t want to tell you I don’t like them either.

 

Cambridge Analytica, the firm at the centre of the Facebook data scandal, have suspended boss Alexander Nix in the wake of allegations of manipulating personal data and using it to target voters in the 2016 American Presidential Election.

[Bringing to mind the phrase: If you don’t pay for a product; YOU are the product.]

Which is to say nothing of the information collected by cookies on the web, your phone on what apps you use, and for how long, Google Maps on our locations. The list is endless. We even have a robot in our kitchen tracking our every word waiting to hear “Alexa, play Cool FM” for Pete’s sake.

All of which is pretty scary.

There was supposed to be a ‘but’ here highlighting all the obvious advantages of tech, but I am struggling to be enthused by it. I just take the technology for granted. I’m also spending too much time watching Boston Dynamics pre-apocalypse videos.

 

I guess what I’m trying to say is we have to accept the rough with the smooth. Instead of worrying about the worst-case scenarios it is up to us, Citizens Of Early 21st Century, to educate ourselves on the pitfalls of tech and avoid them. Navigating things like Dark Patterns is part of the curriculum for the modern age.

Much more interesting to me, are the tech advancements which will help you the customer. One example would be the chatbot Do Not Pay which has been successfully fighting car parking tickets (and more recently getting flight refunds) for years FOR FREE. Technology which automates simple procedure will provide the lowest costs to end users and therefore benefit everyone.

Robot Financial Advisers are already making waves in the investment world and in the next few years, there will be an expansion of potentially similar technology in law firms [hint: in the biggest firms it’s already well afoot]. Whether this is client facing or not doesn’t matter, the revolution is coming. Deloitte forecasts that around 114,000 UK legal jobs are likely to be automated in the next 20 years, ‘most of them junior jobs, with many more at high risk of elimination through technology’.

All of which means you have to educate yourself or risk being left behind. After all, a robot is just a difference engine, it’s the humans programming it that we have to watch out for.

 

Nothing on this site should ever be considered to be legal advice or research but if you do wish to receive advice on any of the content discussed please contact us on 028 3752 5400 and we will be happy to help you. Please note that whilst we will aim to provide accurate information the world changes at a fast pace so always follow up with your solicitor to ensure you are fully up to date with same. For complete Terms and Conditions please see the relevant section of our website.

Snow Day! The Post That’s 12 Hours Out of Date Already!

 

The Beast from the East has hit.

For the kids it means snow day! For the rest of us it means gutting through snow covered roads, coaxing cars over snow banks, and paying an inordinate amount of attention to Traffic Watch NI. All for the pleasure of repeating the process at home time.

Travel Disruption

If you are affected by cancelled trains don’t worry, you should be entitled to a full refund. The same goes for cancelled flights under EU rule 261/2004 and you could also be due further compensation. I’d thoroughly recommend Martin Lewis’s Money Saving Expert for guides on how to claim without wasting money on solicitors (and you could use your snow day saving money with this brilliant website)!

What if you can’t get to work in the snow?

Strictly speaking your employer doesn’t have to pay you for days you aren’t in work! First port of call, as always in employment matters, is to check your employment contract! If you don’t have a written contract you are entitled to a written statement of terms and your employer must provide you with this if requested. Communication between employee and employer can go a long way to resolving issues before they become more severe.

What if your child’s school is closed and there is nobody else to look after them?

There are provisions whereby you can take unpaid leave to look after your children in emergency situations. Extreme weather should be coveres by this. In all employment matters the following maxim prevails: where both employee and employer are reasonable; it’s better to come to an arrangement that suits both parties!

As a last resort you can always work from home; as I type this in the cosy confines of my kitchen. Always clear this with your employer first of all! The benefits of modern technology can break down traditional work/home barriers (not always a good thing!) and limit disruption to an extent.

Stay toastie!

Nothing on this site should ever be considered to be legal advice or research but if you do wish to receive advice on any of the content discussed please contact us on 028 3752 5400 and we will be happy to help you. Please note that whilst we will aim to provide accurate information the world changes at a fast pace so always follow up with your solicitor to ensure you are fully up to date with same.