Utility Week

UTILITY Week 10th June 2016

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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UTILITY WEEK | 10TH - 16TH JUNE 2016 | 31 Community Editor, Utility Week, and content director, Utilities: Ellen Bennett, t: 01342 332084, e: ellenbennett@fav-house.com; Acting editor: Jane Gray, t: 01342 332087, e: janegray@ fav-house.com; Insights editor: Mathew Beech, t: 01342 332082, e: mathewbeech@fav-house. com; News editor: Lois Vallely, t: 01342 332080, e: loisvallely@fav-house.com; Networks correspondent: Lucinda Dann, t: 01342 332083, e: lucindadann@fav-house.com; Reporters: Saffron Johnson, t: 01342 332050, e: saffronjohnson@fav-house.com and Tom Grimwood, t: 01342 332061, e: tomgrimwood@fav-house.com; Business development manager: Richard Powell, t: 01342 332062, e: richardpowell@fav-house.com; Business development executive: Sarah Wood, t: 01342 332077, e: sarahwood@fav-house.com; Publisher: Amanda Barnes, e: amandabarnes@ fav-house.com. General enquiries: 01342 332000; Membership enquiries: Peter Bissell, t: 01342 332507, e: peterbissell@fav-house.com. ISSN: 1356-5532. Registered as a newspaper at the Post Office. Printed by: Buxton Press, Palace Road, Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 6AE. Published by: Faversham House Ltd, Windsor Court, Wood Street, East Grinstead, West Sussex RH19 1UZ 3,580 Average circulation Jan–Dec 2015 Membership subscriptions: UK £637 per year. Overseas £749 per year. Contact Peter Bissell on: 01342 332507 Goodness me! It makes you proud to be Brit- ish, wot? The great man refers to the news this week that the UK came fourth in the Good Country Index, which ranks all the countries in the world in terms of how good they are to other people. In fact, we came top in terms of our global contribu- tion to science and technology, but overall we ended up behind Sweden (which came first), Denmark and the Netherlands. Chiefly, this was because we scored poorly when it came to international security and peace, coming 64th out of 163, although we came second on our global contribution to health and wellbeing. Both these results seem odd to Dis- connector, since your average Brit is an obese, selfie-obsessed narcissist who is nonetheless quite handy in a punch-up. To be fair to Simon Anholt, the chap behind the Index, he was seeking to measure the level of "goodness" a country exercised beyond its borders rather than its toleration of the foreigners in its midst. Sounds like trouble In other news this week, the eggheads over at Google revealed that they are teach- ing the artificial intelligence behind their driverless cars to honk the horn "in appropriate situations". Yup, that's right, even as the human driver is being taken out of the electric vehicle, the robot is to be made more human. For example, if another vehicle on the road is slowly backing up towards Google's, it will sound off two short beeps – as a friendly "heads-up" that it is behind the moving vehicle. In more dangerous situations, Google's car will let out a loud sustained honk. "Our goal is to teach our cars to honk like a patient, seasoned driver," says Google. Hmm, thinks the great man. That sort of thing might work in Italy, where drivers are almost constantly on their horns, but in this country a "loud sustained honk" rarely means "danger" so much as "halfwit". In the absence of a human honkee, it could be the hapless passenger who is le answering for the car's bad attitude. Welcome to the fold Disconnector is no luddite. Far from it. The great man just doesn't think that computers should be put in charge of things. Technology is there to serve – not the other way round. We're talking technology such as the FoldiMate, a laundry folding machine being marketed by a San Francisco start-up of the same name. For just $850 you can have a robotic helper that uses a con- veyor belt, several robotic arms and an adjustable tray to "push out expertly folded apparel in less than a minute". Now that's most people's idea of a smart home. It has less to do with fancy electronics and more with getting machines to do our work. If energy suppliers want to get the general public on board the smart revolution, forget demand-side response and time-of-use tariffs. Just give everyone a FoldiMate and a Teasmade and tell them to put their feet up. It's all a dream As it turns out, all our fretting could prove to be pointless because we're all living in a computer simulation anyway, and it only seems like reality – or at least that was the idea put forward last week by Elon Musk, the technology seer and entrepreneur behind Tesla and SpaceX, among other things. Speaking at the Code Conference in the US, Musk's reasoning was as follows: in a few short years we've moved from bat-and-ball video games to modern-day feature epics. The next step is virtual reality, where computer simulations will become indistinguishable from real life. Given that such a development is not probable but inevitable, "it would seem to fol- low that the odds that we're in 'base reality' is one in billions". If that really is the case, Disconnector can't see why we need to settle for a mere folding machine. Where's the robo- butler we were promised? Disconnector Waterscan @Waterscan 'Plans to protect air & #water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man.' – Stewart Udall #sustainability Anna Stanford @anna_stanford Couldn't hear the wind turbine because of the noise from the flippin' skylark. #wind #wildlife #30DaysWild Portsmouth Water @PortsmouthWater During the hot weather keep a jug of water in the fridge. You won't need to run water down the sink to make it cool! ECC Select Committee @CommonsECC Chair @AngusMacNeilSNP: UK must provide 15% of its energy from renewables by 2020 with 10% from transport & 12% heat. Will we achieve this? CAB Energy @CABenergy 56% of consumers say they've never switched energy supplier, can behavioural science revolutionise consumer engagement? Green Party @TheGreenParty Our environment doesn't respect borders - we're #GreenerIn the EU, @natalieben tells #StrongerIn cross-party rally Roger Helmer @rogerhelmermep Don't tell me about jobs we might lose after Brexit. Tell me about the jobs we are destroying now with EU policies, in energy- intensive firms. William Marchant @richonlyinname Leadsom being annoying on newsnight. Looking forward to the Rudd/Leadsom face- off on Thursday. Like Cage/Travolta. But with added DECC. InsideClimate News @insideclimate For #oil industry, clean air fight over smog was dress rehearsal for #climate change denial. Cornwall Energy @spectrumvoice GMB Union says renewable energy advocates must accept nuclear and gas "are the only reliable shows in town" Top Tweets

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