Legal Disputes of the Future

Who owns food? Who pays for this accident? Who owns my face? Who owns the Arctic? Who owns the Pacific Ocean? Who owns the sky? These sound like some ridiculous questions at first glance but let’s take a second look at the future through the Great Karnak’s trusty crystal ball.

Who owns food?

Let’s start with this one, since it has, more or less, already taken place. A small landowner in Nebraska named Bill parks his tractor in the shed after a long day of work in the fields. He wipes sixteen hours worth of sweat off his brow while he opens his mail. All bills. Two men in dark suits approach him at the front door and hand him a subpoena. The farmer opens the subpoena, quite surprised to learn he’s being sued by a major U.S. corporation for copyright infringement. It’s a huge settlement they’re after – in the millions. He doesn’t have one tenth of what they’re asking in damages. Since he sits on a tractor most days, he hasn’t got the faintest notion how he could be named in a suit for copyright infringement. He’s certain they’ve got a case of mistaken identity and places the document at the bottom of a pile of correspondence, making a mental note to consult his lawyer about what to do with the nuisance suit.

Rest assured, it’s no mistake. The large U.S. corporation spent millions in developing a strand of DNA for corn that is resistant to a pesticide they also own. When you buy their corn seeds and use their pesticide for your crops, you’ll get excellent results. They copyright the strand of corn DNA they worked to develop. To protect the investment in DNA research they hire over seventy-five corporate lawyers to aggressively prosecute copyright ‘thieves’. They have to establish a legal precedent that attracts a lot of publicity; they intend to branch out into other food stuffs, such as eggs that last longer on the shelf, wheat that produces heavier grain, chickens that add weight quickly, beef that responds to their brand of steroids in cattle foods. The list is endless, and it’s all going to be done by protecting copyrighted DNA strands.

Bill consults his country lawyer about the suit, explaining that he has stolen nothing in his life from anyone. The lawyer does a bit of researching and discovers he’s opposed on the brief by some of the best legal minds in history, paid for by a Dow Jones multinational. He first explains to the multinational that his client doesn’t know how the patented corn seed got into his fields. Possibly the seed cleaning company that strips seeds off Bill’s corn for next year’s crop has intermingled patented seeds with his. He tries to offer a settlement but this is not what the corporation wants. They want a trial. They wish to establish for the record that they’re prepared to sue if anyone grows their corn without paying them for the seeds.

Bill and the country lawyer lose the case which costs him more than he can pay in damages and legal costs. He appeals. The appeal also loses right up to the Supreme Court since copyright law is sacrosanct in the U.S. Intellectual property, in this case a section of DNA, is property protected by the highest court in the land. Bill’s house, farm and equipment are sold at auction to the highest bidder, and the proceeds given to a multinational worth more than a quarter trillion in market cap. The proceeds don’t cover the cost of one of the lawyers for one year, but they’ve earned an important victory – they own food.

Who pays for this accident?

Late June, 2016. A new electric car with one occupant is proceeding along a Florida highway within the speed limit. Up ahead, a tractor trailer crossing the pavement at an intersection blocks the way. The driver, who has the vehicle on ‘auto-pilot’ is reading work-related files and doesn’t see the upcoming collision; he trusts his car will react properly and put on the brakes, as advertized. The software or hardware on the car malfunctions, the result is that the car smashes at full speed into the trailer blocking the road, disintegrating the car and killing its occupant.

Within hours of learning of the crash, the vehicle manufacturer issues a statement: ‘Neither the auto-pilot nor the driver saw the tractor trailer in the blinding sun’, trying to diminish responsibility by including the driver’s inattention to the road. A sharp lawyer advises the family of the deceased to sue, since, by definition, he was not the driver; the car company’s software was driving. The driver of the tractor trailer is found blameless because it was possible to avoid the accident, just as every other vehicle did in this situation.

The impending lawsuit sends shivers down the corporate world’s spine. Will they be forced to halt production of their cars? Offer compensation in the billions as GM or Ford experienced? Will it affect future car sales? Will there be expensive recalls? Their very survival hangs in the balance on the outcome of this legal battle. The car company uses as its indemnity the disclaimer every software user accepts before they can switch on the ‘auto-pilot’. Use at your own risk, they say, just like all software. If a calculator gives you the wrong answer, is the calculator manufacturer to blame if you make a wrong bid on a billion dollar tower construction and lose your shirt because of it? No, it’s the user’s responsibility to check all calculations.

Not so fast, says the family’s lawyer. I present to you as evidence sales material from the car company showing people in these cars on ‘auto-pilot’ busily reading files related to work, texting on their phones, eating sandwiches and coffee, streaming movies. The company has promoted the auto-pilot as reliable, in fact more reliable than humans. The manufacturer, in order to sell the product, has accepted the responsibility for the safety of its passengers, or users, by heavily implying that users can relax while the software guides them safely to their destinations. It’s the car company that killed their client, no one else, by encouraging the car buyers to trust the software to the extent that they don’t have to pay attention to the road ahead. Why else would you buy it?

Insurance companies are prepared to fund the legal challenge to a successful outcome. They want a clear definition of who’s at fault before they begin underwriting any more policies. Driverless car manufacturers are rushing headlong into the intersection of Lawyer and Technology Streets with their eyes closed. Keep watching this space, you’ll never see a bigger smash-up.

Who owns my face?

Brad Pratt is a famous movie star. His wife Angie Groaner is too. They’re fed up to the teeth with being filmed by paparazzi. Brad is filmed in public toilets. Angie is filmed at the doctor’s office. What gets them most upset is they’re captured on film with their kids. They don’t have a moment to themselves, not even after they move from the U.S. to the outskirts of London, England. Every time they walk past a newsstand they look the other way so they don’t have to read headlines about themselves in stories they didn’t sanction. Angie especially deplores the stories depicting her children as alien babies. Paparazzi invade their lives every waking, sometimes not waking, moment.

That’s the price of fame say the news organizations. Bullpoop, says Brad, and I’m going to come up with a way to stop it. Unbeknownst to the so-called ‘news’ media, Brad and Angie consult with the best legal minds and come up with a solution: trademark their faces.

A trademark is the copyright of an image related to the conduct of business, and since Brad and Angie’s faces are their business (worth millions), they’re well within their rights to trademark their mugs. They take a 360° view of their faces and deposit them with all the necessary paperwork at every major trademark registration office throughout the world.

They can’t wait for their first lawsuit to prove the concept. Soon, a tabloid prints the story, ‘Brad and Angie Have Alien Twins’. The photographer and Celebrity Ogler are served with an invitation to attend court in every country in which they publish.

The photog is a nobody with a camera. He’s paid up to a quarter of a million dollars for candid shots depicting Brad on the toilet or Angie in a dress shop changing room. He explains that Celebrity Ogler paid him to take these pictures on a spec basis. The more revealing and damaging the photo, the more they get paid, so anything goes, regardless of the rules of common courtesy or decency.

The publisher, Celebrity Ogler, claims that the two famous people made their millions by being in the public eye, and if it weren’t for news and tabloids, the couple would be living in anonymity. They benefited from free publicity for their rise to stardom and now it’s simply inconvenient to them. They also argue in most countries, it’s their constitutional right to publish news stories related to anyone, regardless of their position in society. What if they were guilty of murder, could we be prevented from displaying their pictures on newspapers?

Pratt and Groaner’s legal team argues that their trademark, central to their business of making films, has been used without their permission and that both the photographer and the publisher have profited using someone else’s copyrighted image. These magazines are not reporting ‘news’; they rely on sales of their tabloids based on the already established popularity of their subjects. Now that they have trademarked their faces, the defendants have profited off someone else’s popularity and their image.

The court rules in favor of the plaintiffs. They’re awarded damages and any further use of their trademarked images can only be done by permission. It will be a very long time before Pratt and Groaner give permission for strangers to take their picture. A new business for trade-marking faces is spawned.

Who owns the Arctic?

In the 1850’s a British expedition to find the Northwest Passage through the Arctic Ocean goes missing for over a hundred years. Fast forward one hundred and fifty years. Due to global warming the ice pack has melted and it is now possible to sail year round through the Arctic Ocean.

Oil is discovered outside the new economic exclusion zone and Canada protests the invasion of oil drilling wells from the U.S., taking the case to the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. Canada claims sovereignty of the Artic to the North Pole. The U.S. says, ‘See you in court. No one can own an international waterway.’

Who owns the Pacific Ocean?

In a mirror image incident in the Pacific Ocean in international waters off China, barges filled with earth drop millions of tons of rocks and slurry to create a small land mass. The Chinese fill enough of the ocean to create a tiny island in the Pacific large enough to plant their flag. They then declare an economic exclusion zone of two hundred miles in all directions and begin drilling for oil.

The American navy sails through the disputed waters. Certain of the rightness of their cause, China begins sending belligerent diplomatic notes of protest to the United States and the United Nations. The U.S. does not recognize their sovereignty in an international waterway by the artificial creation of a land mass. The Chinese are ready to start a war and take pot shots at the U.S. navy in what used to be international waters. Tensions come to a boil before the case can be heard in international courts. The Chinese threaten to begin a war with the U.S. over the issue.

The U.S. responds by entering trade agreements with India and setting up manufacturing facilities for a wide range of consumer items, directly competing with cheap Chinese labor. Twenty years after the shift to India, the U.S. and its allies block all further Chinese imports.

Who owns the sky?

Fred and Harriet are having dinner in their isolated country home. They’re having Fred’s favorite recipe – Mulligatawny soup. An object crashes through the roof and kills the couple outright. Upon investigation, the object belongs to Grooble, a technology firm developing driverless cars. One of their satellites, while repositioning itself to a new orbit, received an incorrect set of coordinates from the controller and crashed back to earth, landing on hapless Fred and Harriet, and the soup tureen. The pieces of wreckage found clearly indicate the ownership of the fallen satellite. Fred and Harriet’s heirs file suit.

The ownership of a piece of land includes the space above and below it, with no defined limit. If you wish to build above the land five hundred stories high there can be no legal objection to it. The plaintiffs argue that their property rights are infringed at any altitude and Grooble was encroaching on the couple’s right to ownership of their property, even though the satellite might have been hovering six thousand miles above them. Since the satellite owners accept the premise that the hardware might malfunction for any number of reasons and come crashing back to earth, they knowingly encroached on property they do not own.

The Grooble Corporation argues that international agreements have determined space (defined as 62.5 miles altitude) to be outside the purview of local property laws. The heirs of the property owners claim that once the satellite re-entered the atmosphere, it was no longer subject to the laws that govern space and are therefore seeking damages afforded them by local property rights, the same as they would if an airplane dropped on their house.

Looking back we find it hard to believe some of the cases that were heard to defend people’s rights and property. The ScoLegal Disputes of the Futurepes trial of the Twenties comes to mind, which defended an educator’s right to discuss evolution. A divisive question for its time, a mere ninety years later, it’s almost irrelevant, replaced by the new issues that arise with the advent of technological discovery. The conflicts these new challenges create will burn brightly in their time, setting one against the other in tumult and violent upheaval until, just like all issues, the unveiling of new eras and new civilizations will make them pass into irrelevance. But is mankind now changing too quickly to adapt to new situations? For instance, will we pollute and kill all marine life in the oceans before we can develop legal frameworks to stop it? Will a country poison the atmosphere for the rest of the world? Will nations figure out a solution to global warming before it’s too late? Will DNA continue to be copyrighted preventing food from being grown by private citizens in times of starvation? Will space be cluttered with so much debris as to make it unusable? Legal disputes of the future are extremely difficult to predict but their outcomes greatly impact our societies.

Telematics and Big Data: Next Generation Automotive Technology

Telematics, Big Data, and Analytics are the three big important ways that are driving the auto industry forward. In this article, we will see how big data analytics, with the insights of information processing, can help transform the automotive and transportation industry globally.

The future of telematics is with big data.

Traditionally, in most automotive and transportation enterprises, specialized business processes have always been analyzed and modeled on whatever limited empirical data or contextual information was available to them. Proper data was few and far between. Or, even if the required data was available, enterprises hardly had any technological know-how with them to harness all the information necessary for their use. It was quite a difficult task to deal with such a situation where enterprises heavily relied upon conventional methods such as going through previous driving records, including taking into account people’s age and gender, locale demographics to accurately predict risk levels among its consumer base. This was something haphazard, awkward and unreliable.

Now with the advanced big data analytics, accessibility to scores of information and the science of telematics are putting the current understandings in new light, offering new conversation starters, and creating new potential outcomes that were not really possible before. “Big Data” as we know it is changing everything for the better. It is changing how the vehicles are built, how they work, how we use them and how they collaborate with everything else in this world: From vehicle-assembling to insurance underwriting, to traffic modeling to optimizing traffic routes, Big Data is changing the world of car/fleet transportation industry in a big way.

Big data analytics plays a very important role in the telematics field. The fact of the matter is that the science of telematics which involves telecommunications and vehicular technologies demonstrates how big data analytics can improve supply chain management, fleet management, increase yield and drastically reduce material costs, not to mention the quality and safety issues that never get compromised using proper big data analytics. In fact, the use of relevant data directly leads to more opportunities. It is in this context we will see how Big Data is bringing transformative elements into the various industry sectors especially in insurance, financial, automotive and transportation and other sectors and improve their business processes.

Telematics All The Way

Telematics is ushering an era of big changes. The way vehicles are insured and how they are driven or repaired are all changing for the better.

Earlier, we have seen that insurance and maintenance standards of vehicles were based on some kind of conjecture and the rough utilization of crude data that was available at hand. But with the use of telematics, a strong evidence of data is promptly accessible that can revamp entire branches of the commercial enterprises and change drivers’ driving behaviors.

Thanks to telematics, the wealth of data that can be derived from vehicles can also be made available to drivers. This is also one of the big changes that telematics promises. As far as valid data is concerned, there are simple ways people can immediately access from their connected car, and this same data can also be transmitted to the manufacturers or insurance companies for that matter. So when data is available and is accessible to users then there is going to be better understandings of their vehicles’ performance, ultimately resulting in helping drivers adopt good driving behavior. Drivers will have access to GPS-related data that will let them know their driving styles, including real-time information on fuel consumption, speed limits, hard acceleration, braking, phone distraction, etc. All this useful information can impact not only their driving performance but also can extend the longevity of their cars.

Driving Innovation and Continued Growth for Auto Insurance

To give you just one example: Consider the insurance industry. Using the great combination of telematics and big data analytics, insurance companies are able to enhance their business processes to an extent that was not possible before.

Basically, the insurance industry is based on analytics and probability. Therefore, to have a proper access to accurate and in-depth data that identifies with every customer’s lifestyle and risk always works in the best interest of the insurance industry. This is an area where telematics has been adding quite a lot of significant value propositions that matter greatly to both insurance companies and their paying clients alike.

With telematics and big data analytics, insurance companies don’t have to resort to guesswork to fix premiums for their customers. It has enabled insurers to reward policyholders, who display good driving conduct and check their vehicle health stats, with lower premiums and rebate offerings by taking the guesswork out of the equation. This is nothing but a big data approach to telematics insurance.

Telematics is a positive trendsetter and has grown exponentially in recent years. The positive impact that it has over companies and consumers alike is proving to be a win-win deal for everyone. And as far as telematics is concerned Big Data would be there too, working hand in hand. Not only consumers but automotive manufacturers and service providers as well are going to get greatly benefitted from the marriage of big data and telematics. And since the relationship is really symbiotic, big data is going to be the future of telematics. Embrace big data and telematics in a big way!

Auto Insurers Moving Towards Telematics for Usage Based Insurance

Insurance telematics and Usage Based Insurance (UBI) programs continue to roll-out across the globe. The rapidly changing landscape is making the insurers select the accurate business models to ensure success. However, many programs are out with a focus on price discounts resulting in a foreseeable race to the bottom; but the industry is moving in the direction to subset the companies to succeed.

The recent innovation by auto insurers – Usage Based Insurance (UBI) is more closely align the driving behaviors of premium rates for auto insurance, while the mileage and driving behaviors are tracked using odometer readings or in-vehicle telecommunication devices such as telematics which are typically self-installed into a particular vehicle port or already integrated equipment installed by car manufacturers. The essential idea of telematics auto insurance is to monitor the driver’s behavior directly while the person drives. With the help of these telematics devices, you can measure a number of elements of interest to underwriters-miles were driven; time of day; rapid acceleration, where the vehicle is driven (GPS); hard breaking; hard cornering; and air bag deployment. The level of data collected will generally reflect the telematics technology employed and the policyholders’ readiness to share personal data. Then the insurance company assesses the data and insurance charges or premiums accordingly. For example, when a driver drives long distance at high speed will be charged a higher rate than a driver who drives short distances at minimal speeds. While UBI premiums are collected using a variety of methods, including utilization of the gas pump, direct billing, debit accounts and smart card systems.

About a decade ago, the first UBI programs began to shell in the U.S. and this is the time when Progressive Insurance Company and General Motors Assurance Company (GMAC) began to offer mileage-linked offers through combined GPS technology and cellular systems that tracked miles driven. These offers are still in combined with ancillary benefits such as roadside assistance and vehicle theft recovery. The current accelerations in technology have augmented the efficiency and cost of using telematics, enabling insurers to detain not just how many miles people drive, but when and how they drive too. Such strategies helped to result in the growth of several UBI variations, including Pay-As-You-Drive (PAYD), Pay-As-You-Go, Pay-How-You-Drive (PHYD), and Distance-Based Insurance.

Usage Based Insurance Pricing

The pricing schemes for UBI are included greatly from the traditional auto insurance. Traditional auto insurance relies on actuarial studies of aggregated historical data to create rating factors which include driving record, personal characteristics (age, gender, and marital status), credit-based insurance score, vehicle type, garage location, vehicle use, previous claims, liability limits, and deductibles. You can find premium discounts on traditional auto insurance which are usually limited to the bundling of insurance on several vehicles or types of insurance, insurance with the same transporter, protection devices, driving courses, home-to-work mileage and more.

While policyholders think of traditional auto insurance as a fixed cost, or can be assessed annually by usually paying in lump sums on an annual, semi-annual, or quarterly basis. But, studies show that there is a strong correlation between loss and claim costs and mileage driven, particularly when existing pricing factors defers (such as class and territory). Maybe this can be one reason, many UBI programs seek to change their fixed costs associated with mileage driven costs that can be used in combination with other rating factors in the premium calculation.

Usage-based insurance has an advantage of utilizing individual and current driving behaviors, rather than relying on aggregated information and driving records of past trends and events, making premium pricing more individualized and precise.

Challenges

The challenges like tracking the mileage and behavior information in usage-based insurance programs have raised privacy concerns; as a result, some states have enacted legislation requiring disclosure of tracking practices and devices. Furthermore, some insurers limit the data they collect. This is not for everyone although; but acceptance of sharing the information is growing as more mainstream technology in devices such as smart phones, tablets, and GPS devices. And moreover, social media networks like Facebook and Twitter also enter the market.

Implementing a UBI program, mainly one that utilizes telematics can be expensive and resource-intensive to the insurer. In addition, UBI is an emerging area and therefore there is still much hesitation in selecting and understanding of driving data and how it should be integrated into existing or new price structures to maintain profitability. This is very much important; as the transitioning of lower-risk drivers into usage-based insurance programs offers lower premiums could put pressure on overall insurer profitability.

Advantages

Usage-based insurance programs offer many advantages to insurers, consumers, and society. The main aim is to link the insurance premiums more closely to actual individual vehicle or fleet performance. This increases affordability for lower-risk drivers, many of whom are also lower-income drivers. It also gives consumers the ability to control their premium costs by incenting them to reduce miles driven and adopt safer driving habits. Fewer miles and safer driving also aid in reducing accidents, congestion, and vehicle emissions, which benefits society.

The usage of telematics help insurers to more accurately estimate accident damages and reduce fraud by enabling them to evaluate the driving data during an accident. In addition, the ancillary safety benefits accessible in conjunction with many telematics-based UBI programs also help to lower accident and vehicle theft related costs by improving accident response time, by allowing the stolen vehicles to be tracked and recovered.

Auto Insurance – Honda Advantage

Founded by Soichiro Honda, the company has come a long way from its humble beginnings where Soichiro struggled to assert himself in the competitive auto industry. From supplying piston rings to fellow giant Toyota, Honda has grown into a multidivisional giant with interests in motorcycles, scooters, robotics, jet aircraft and jet engines. Honda is the world’s largest manufacturer of two wheelers and gained global dominance in the motorcycle market by breaking into the expansive market in the United States. It has produced different models adapted to diverse terrains.

Despite these giant strides in global technology, it is the automobile section of Honda which has made it such a popular brand with sales rising with the release of every new model. Premium brands like the Civic noted for its transformation from its compact form to a larger upmarket version. The Accord, which has constantly redefined auto style and design and the Odyssey which has established itself as the ultimate family car. Honda’s commitment to emerging technology by releasing hybrid models and dedicating itself to continuous research on energy and car occupants’ safety is a major attraction.

The brands under the Honda name have attracted massive sales, but with these sales come to the very important responsibility of insurance. The cost of insuring a car puts most car owners off, and they end up skimping on quality insurance. Luckily, for most Honda users due to the availability of spare parts and continuous improvement on safety features, cheap Honda car insurance is readily available. Without making a hole in your pocket, you can compare different rates (10 or more) on the website and get the plan most suited to you. This comparison gives you an edge over other consumers as it affords you a solid groundwork and an opportunity to save that cash that’s dear to you. So, why can’t you just spare about 5 or 6 minutes of your precious time to get these quotes and end up saving nearly $560 upon a switched coverage?

When planning to buy a new car, it is important to read reviews and analysis. Here, we take a look at the features of Honda automobiles that make them a good buy with cheap insurance rates.

Safety features

Body design

Honda’s unique body design on new models distributes crash energy evenly throughout the front of the vehicle. This helps to minimize the concentration of the crash impact on a particular side increasing potential fatality.

Vehicle Stability Assist technology (VSA)

When a car becomes unstable, this automatic VSA technology shuts engine output and adjusts braking to help the driver re-gain control. Most of these incidents happen during extreme weather conditions like heavy rain or snowy conditions. The onboard computers can sense the car sliding and make the accurate adjustments in just moments. This has cut down on numerous accidents, some of which would have been fatal.

Side Airbags

Towards greater passenger safety, select models have front side airbags and side curtain airbags. These bags shield drivers and passengers and have greatly cut down on serious injuries and death. Popular family van, the Odyssey reflect the safety culture of Honda as statistics in recent years have recorded zero fatalities in accidents. This family vehicle has curtain surround airbags that do their job along with a strong frame and low rollover incidents.

Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS)

The CMBS trade; is a unique Honda safety feature which brings the car to a stop when an unavoidable collision is detected. The system gives warning sounds, and brake pressure is automatically applied.

Efficiency
Honda cars are well-known for being fuel-efficient and well suited to different terrain. Due to its durability, there are fewer cases of breakdown or repairs needed per miles covered in comparison to its counterparts. Spare parts of moist Honda models are readily available and cheap when a breakdown occurs due to its popularity.

Sustainability
If you love everything green, and you advocate for climate-friendly technology, then Honda is your brand. From hybrid vehicles to the now rested Natural gas-powered vehicles, Honda is consistently leading the way in the production of environmentally responsible vehicles.

In fact, this high theft rate has been one of the major reasons for not getting a cheap Honda car insurance in recent times. According to latest reports, at least one or two Honda models make the top 10 most stolen automobile list every year. Car theft can, however, be prevented by installing a GPS tracking device (like Spark Nano, Zoombak, Escort Entourage, Garmin GTU 10, LoJack and co) which would further lower insurance rates. Interestingly, you can also get up to 5% discount rate for garaging your car.

The uniqueness of the Honda brand has not escaped the insurance industry particularly the Good2go insurance team. Most insurance companies offer very cheap rates to Honda owners due to its low rate of accidents and even lower fatalities. Due to its huge popularity, Honda cars are targeted by car thieves who find it easy to resell on the market or chop it down and sell the parts which are in high demand.

Like picking a car, picking an insurance provider is a process that requires a good eye and patience especially when it comes to having the cheapest Honda auto insurance. Fortunately, with the best of the auto insurance deals online, you can have your pick of the bunch. At Good2go insurance, you get an exclusive free quote for checking in and a host of insurance providers with awesome rates!