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Alibaba opens AI ‘future hotel’

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

Interior of Alibaba’s AI ‘future hotel’ and a robot | REUTERS

Chinese internet giant Alibaba has opened a hotel loaded with artificial intelligence (AI) and robots, automating a series of procedures like check-in, lights control and room service.

FlyZoo Hotel, opened in Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province, where Alibaba is headquartered, is known as the company’s first “future hotel”.

Customers can check into the hotel by simply scanning their faces. The facial recognition system installed in the hotel also enables customers to use their faces as key cards to open doors and access other hotel services.

Users can also control the lights, television and curtains in the room via Alibaba’s voice-activated digital assistant, while robots are deployed to serve dishes, cocktails and coffee.

Hotel bookings and check-out can also be done with a few clicks on mobile through an app. The hotel is the latest example of Chinese techcompanies’ foray into traditional industries such as the hospitality sector.

“We don’t have to waste our time on registering and waiting in lines. Many services like check in can be done with a smartphone. Secondly, I feel more safe with the help of this technology and these smart facilities,” said Sam Wang, a customer.

Some people may concern that these robots may put the human hotel staff out of a job.

“I’m not worried about being replaced by robots, because machines and robots can only do some simple works at this hotel. It is the human employees that can provide better services. The robots can save us a lot of time so that we can better serve our customers,” said Sun Xiaoting, an employee of FlyZoo Hotel.

Many customers said technology is making hotels more convenient and upgrading their services. But others said information safety and privacy are major concerns.

Many hotels across the world are now teaming with tech companies to upgrade their facilities with AI and Internet of Things technologies. FlyZoo Hotel’s CEO Wang Qun said safety and service will always be their top priority.

“So we are already concerning about this kind of issue. First of all, we will completely comply with the local government policies and local laws. Secondly with our system capabilities, because you know all our systems are cloud based, we have more and more strong capabilities to protect those data and privacies from our individual guests,” said Wang.

Wang said the FlyZoo Hotel is 1.5 times more efficient than its competitors. — Reuters

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China’s Xi holds talks with N.Korean leader Kim about ‘new era’: foreign ministry

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, June 21st, 2019

Xi, Peng, Kim, Ri posing for photo with DPRK officials. Pyongyang, DPRK – June 20, 2019. Courtesy : Reuters

China’s President Xi Jinping held talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang as part of his two-day state visit.

They discussed the ‘new era’ of relations between the two countries, as they mark the 70th anniversary since the establishment of diplomatic ties.

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in North Korea on Thursday (June 20) as Beijing looks to bolster its neighbor, hit by U.N. sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs, a week before Xi and U.S. President Donald Trump meet amid a bitter trade dispute.

Xi, whose entourage includes the head of China’s state economic planner, will be in reclusive North Korea for two days, becoming the first Chinese leader to visit in 14 years, and could bring fresh support measures for its floundering, sanctions-bound economy.

China is the North’s only major ally and the visit comes amid renewed tension on the Korean peninsula as the United States seeks to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons. (REUTERS)

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Makabayan bloc believes boat captain was pressured to change statements

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, June 21st, 2019

Courtesy :Secretary Manny Piñol’s FB page

Makabayan bloc believes that the boat captain of the sunken fishing vessel was pressured to change statements after their meeting with Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Manny Piñol.

Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Carlos Zarate said the fishermen might have been intimidated or bribed in order to change their statements about the incident.

“There was really a pressure. They are bombarded by so much misinformation. Itinu-twist ang kanilang statement siguro may mga pagbabanta pa and offer of parang bina-bribe bigyan ng mga ganitong bangka etc. but it will not erase the fact, (They twist [the fishermen’s] statement maybe there are even threats and bribes. They may have bribed them with these kinds of boats etc.),” he said.

Outgoing Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano said the Reed Bank fishermen are facing a lot of pressure.

The group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) called for transparency on the closed-door meeting with Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol.

“We demand an explanation and transparency from Piñol on what actually happened inside that house that led to the complete turnaround on the position of the boat captain on the incident that happened on the night of June 9,” their statement reads.

In a radio interview, Secretary Piñol denied there was any intimidation during the meeting. He said his actions are only brought by good intentions.

Meanwhile, Occidental Mindoro Representative Josephine Sato said there should be a ‘marine inquiry’ on the incident.

“Kami po ay humihiling, sa lalong madaling panahon, na magkaroon ng marine inquiry, (We wish to have a marine inquiry as soon as possible)” she said.

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Recto Bank collision an ‘accident’, not armed attack – Lorenzana

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana maintained that the incident in Recto Bank involving the Chinese vessel, Yuemaobinyu 42212 and the Filipino fishing vessel, F/B GEM-VER 1 on June 9 was not an armed attack but only an accident.

“I think it’s just an accident based on the information we got from some of the crew. Siguro hindi rin sinasadya ng kabila (Perhaps it was not intentional),” Lorenzana said.

Since it was such, Lorenzana said he agrees with Malacañang that the Philippines cannot insist its mutual defense treaty with the United States to deal with the present issue because such treaty applies only to armed conflicts.

Lorenzana was the first to disclose the report on a Chinese vessel hitting and sinking a Filipino fishing vessel in the contested area in the West Philippine Sea.

The Defense Chief condemned the Chinese crewmen for abandoning the 22 Filipino fishermen adrift at sea while struggling to survive.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), through Secretary Teddy Locsin, has already elevated the matter to the International Maritime Office (IMO).

But though Lorenzana supported Locsin for that matter, the Defense Secretary said the Philippine government can only act once all the needed information is gathered specifically China’s official statement on the incident.

For now, the government is pursuing a case against the Chinese crewmen for abandoning the Filipino fishermen which, the Secretary said, is a violation of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to which the Philippines and China are both signatories.

While waiting for China’s side on the matter, Secretary Lorenzana appeals to the public to be patient as the government works on resolving the issue while extending assistance to the affected fishermen.

“I ask our countrymen to be patient dahil lalabas naman talaga ang totoo kapag nakuha na natin ang lahat ng (the truth will come out once we have all) information so that we can move on from this,” he said. (with details from April Cenedoza)

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