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Thais wary of using robots

Posted by pakin On October - 30 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

While experts estimate that close to 50% of jobs in Thailand could be automated with current technology, the public may not be ready to welcome robots into key jobs, according to the latest survey by UK market research firm YouGov.

Only 35% of Thai men and 28% of Thai women would want a robot on the wheel of their cars, even if robots were safe and affordable. Even fewer would trust them with caring for their children (18% of men and 16% of women), and fewer still would want them to help manage their finances (17% of men and 12% of women).

Driving and routine functions at financial institutions are some of the activities likely to be automated in the near future. The Thai public’s hesitant acceptance of machines in these tasks indicates replacement may not take place as quickly as expected.

Only 7% of Thais say driving will be the most popular use of robots in the next five years, and only 2% think helping to manage their finances will be.

The views of Thais may contrast with those of citizens in developed economies. Some 56% of Americans say they would not be hesitant to ride in a driverless vehicle, according to US think tank Pew Research.

While less than half of Thais think robots are safe, only 1 in 25 says they would not want to own a robot which would, for example, clean the house (77%), help with security (67%), or assist them at work (49%).

Activities Thais would feel comfortable automating, like security, or gardening (46%), are some of the hardest tasks to automate because they require highly variable responses.

McKinsey, the consulting firm, says machines can already do some characteristically human activities, like identifying faces or sounds, better than people. Even so, Thais feel confident in their abilities to outperform these new competitors on the job.

Only 10% of Thais think a robot could do a better job than them, a result that is roughly stable across gender and age groups.

While Thais may be confident their employment will be safe in the future, they are less sure about their neighbours’ job security. Only 10% of Thais disagree that “robots will take jobs away from many of us”.

This result is similar in other countries. Most US adults, for example, say their jobs are safer from replacement by automation than most other professions, according to Pew Research.


THE CRIMINAL case against former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra for her role in the rice-pledging scheme technically closed on Friday when neither Yingluck nor the prosecutor submitted an appeal, her lawyer and the prosecutor both confirmed yesterday.

Yingluck, who is reportedly in the United Kingdom, was sentenced to five years in jail for her negligence in preventing corruption and irregularities in her government’s rice-pledging scheme before the 2014 coup.

The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders convicted her in absentia and announced her prison sentence on September 27. The law allows her to appeal within 30 days of the date of the verdict delivery, but she would have to launch the appeal in person from inside Thailand.

“We have not yet received contact from her, therefore we did not make any request to the court to extend the period of appeal,” said her lawyer Norawit Lalang. “As we did not make an appeal, the case is technically final.”

Yingluck fled the country a few days before the court had originally been due to deliver its verdict on August 25 and Norawit said he had received no contact from his client since then.

The court issued an arrest warrant following her failure to turn up in August and delivered its verdict in absentia when she again missed her court appearance on September 27.

Location unknown’

State prosecutor Surasak Tritrattrakul said that since neither of the involved parties had made any appeals to the court, the case was now final and authorities would enforce the verdict to compel Yingluck to serve her sentence.

However, Yingluck’s location is still unknown, authorities have said. Local media reports, citing unnamed sources, have said she is in London, where her brother Thaksin Shinawatra has a home. While some reports said she was seeking political asylum in the UK, Thai officials were unable to verify the claim.

Police have said they have asked cooperation from Interpol to force Yingluck to be returned to Thailand to serve her sentence but there still remained no clear clues about her whereabouts.

The junta has shifted blame for her disappearance to a police officer. Pol Colonel Chairit Anurit of the Metropolitan Police allegedly drove Yingluck to Sa Kaew province on August 23 and has been dismissed from duty.

This follows a police fact-finding committee’s ruling that the officer committed a grave disciplinary offence. He had also committed a lesser breach of the code of conduct for illegal use of a vehicle, the committee ruled.

Yingluck is not the only person convicted in the controversial case – ministers in her cabinet and many senior government officials were found to be involved in the fraud, which cost the country hundreds of billions of baht.

Yingluck’s former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom was jailed for 42 years and former deputy commerce minister Phumi Saraphol was sentenced to 36 years.

Both men have submitted appeals to the court.

Life-jackets needed for students of flooded schools

Posted by pakin On October - 30 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Donations of money are being sought for the purchase of life-vests for Phitsanulok students who’ll have to get to school by boat when the new semester opens in coming days.

Although floodwaters from the Yom River are gradually receding, five schools in Bang Rakham district are inundated.

Uthai Khom-avudh, head of the local teachers’ association, said on Monday the students will have to be transported to and from school by boat.

The new semester begins on Wednesday at flood-stricken Wat Phromkesorn, Wat Nongkhanang and Ban Nong Phangphouy schools and next Monday at Wang Ithok, Ban Krung Krak and Ban Tha Nang Ngam schools.

Floodwater at the last school is more than a metre deep.

Uthai, who is also director of Wat Phromkesorn School, said many of the students’ homes are flooded too. Their parents are prepared to bring them to classes by boat, but many more life-vests are needed to ensure their safety.

Donors can call Uthai directly at (081) 971 5071.

Uthai said there was no need to postpone the semester at his school because it has a new building on high ground where classes can be held.

Any postponement would also force teachers and pupils to organise classes on weekends, a problem for both, and anyway parents prefer their children being under supervision at school while they attend to their own jobs.


Internment of Royal Ashes marks ceremonial finale

Posted by pakin On October - 30 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

THE FIVE-DAY Royal Cremation Ceremony for His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej ended yesterday with the highest tributes to the “King of Hearts” and “Soul of the Thai people”.

The ceremony began on Wednesday but thousands of mourners were still camped out yesterday at the Sanam Luang ceremonial grounds and along the route of the last procession transporting the Royal Ashes to their final resting place at two of Bangkok’s hallowed temples.

Since dawn yesterday, black-clad mourners were seated along the roads from the Grand Palace to Wat Rajabopidh Sathitmahasimaram and Wat Bovoranives Vihara as they wished to witness the final farewell for the much-revered monarch.

The final day of the Royal Cremation Ceremony for the late King started yesterday morning with religious rites and the fifth procession to transfer the Royal Relics from the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall to be enshrined in the Heavenly Abode of the Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall.

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn arrived at the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall in the Grand Palace at 10.30am to preside over the religious rites. He was accompanied by members of the Royal Family including Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha, Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya, Her Royal Highness Princess Siribhachudabhorn and Her Royal Highness Princess Aditayadorhkitikhun.

After lighting candles to pay respects to the late monarch in front of his Royal Reliquary Urn, 30 venerable monks led by the Supreme Patriarch His Holiness Ariyavongsagatanana chanted a prayer.

The next session featured five monks led by Phra Phrom Methi from Wat Samphantawong giving a sermon.

They were followed by another 89 monks – their number relating to King Bhumibol’s age at death – who performed ritual chants.

After the three-hour religious rite, the King and Royal Family members joined the procession featuring the Rajendrayan, or Royal Palanquin with Four Poles, carrying the Royal Reliquary Urn to the nearby Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall.

The Royal Palanquin with Four Poles was carried by 56 men while the fifth procession included a troop of 550.

Supporting the Royal Reliquary Urn was the |late monarch’s personal doctor, Dr Pradit Panchavinnin, director of Siriraj Piyamahakarun Hospital. The procession covered the 63 metres in about 10 minutes.

The other temple, Wat Bovoranives, is where King Bhumibol resided while he was ordained as a monk in 1956. The Phra Ubosot houses the revered Phra Buddha Chinnasi, a statue believed to have been sculpted in 1357, and his Royal Ashes |were enshrined at its base, near those of King Rama VI. Wat Bovoranives was established in 1829 under King Rama III.

The temple is where Kings and princes have traditionally spent time as monks, including King Bhumibol and his son, King Maha Vajiralongkorn. The temple’s first abbot in 1836 was Prince Mongkut, who was a monk for 27 years and abbot for 14 years before being crowned King Rama IV.