Tech News

Americans Fear Robots, Stop Closing iPhone Apps… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 14-03-2016

Americans think robots will take their jobs, closing iPhone apps to save battery life, Microsoft no longer loves Bitcoin, pay your credit card through Echo, and The iMom could be your children’s future.


Most Americans Fear Robot Workers

The majority of Americans think robots will do much of the work currently done by humans What Happens When Robots Can Do All the Jobs? Robots are getting smarter fast -- what happens when they can do every job better and cheaper than human beings? Read More within the next 50 years. That is according to the results of a survey by the Pew Research Center, which asked the opinions of 2,001 adults. Only 15 percent feel robots will “definitely” have taken over menial tasks, but a whopping 50 percent think it’s probable.

Despite this, most respondents are confident that their job will be safe, with 36 percent stating it will “definitely” exist in 50 years, and a further 44 percent thinking it’s probable. Which suggests that while humanity is well aware of what’s around the corner, it isn’t yet ready to accept it will affect them personally.

The truth is perhaps somewhere in between. If robotics and artificial intelligence carries on progressing at the rate it has been of late then some jobs will disappear completely. Drivers, for example, who may find themselves surplus to requirements once self-driving cars become the norm Self Driving Cars Endanger Millions of American Jobs (And That’s Okay) The impending revolution of self-driving cars comes with one huge drawback: these things are going to destroy a lot of jobs. Read More . However, other jobs will pop up in their place, ensuring we still have a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Closing iPhone Apps to Save Your Battery

There’s a common belief amongst iPhone users that closing apps that are running in the background will help preserve battery life. However, it turns out that, at least as far as Apple is concerned, this isn’t the case.


We know because a committed iPhone user recently emailed Apple CEO Tim Cook asking him about this very subject. A 9to5Mac reader called Caleb asked, “Do you quit your iOS multitasking apps frequently and is this necessary for battery life?” To which Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, replied simply, “No and No. :)”

This reply has gone viral, and is being seen as some kind of official pronouncement from Apple that closing apps makes no difference to battery life. However, just because Federighi isn’t in the habit of doing so, and just because it isn’t “necessary” to preserve battery life, it could still make a small difference. Especially if the apps in question are abusing the hardware Avoid These iPhone Apps for Better Battery Life Killing background apps won't save your battery — in some cases you'll have to completely avoid an app in order to stop it from draining your smartphone's energy. Read More .

Microsoft Stops Accepting Bitcoin

Microsoft has stopped accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment Why Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Will Become The Money Of The Future Will Bitcoin become the money of the future? Although it has had rough start, and there are security and social obstacles to overcome, could Bitcoin actually make the world a better place? Read More in the Microsoft Store. This sudden change of heart comes just over a year after Microsoft started accepting Bitcoin for the purchase of digital content on Windows and Xbox.

Microsoft hasn’t explained the decision, merely posting a message saying, “You can no longer redeem Bitcoin into your Microsoft account. Existing balances in your account will still be available for purchases from Microsoft Store, but can’t be refunded.”


Softpedia, which first spotted the message, suggests a low adoption rate is the reason for the change. That would also explain why this was only ever an option in the U.S. Either way, anyone with a Bitcoin balance in a Microsoft account should make the most of it.

Alexa Can Pay Your Credit Card Bill

Alexa, the virtual personal assistant built into the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Tap Amazon Drops Fire Encryption, Apple Support Joins Twitter... [Tech News Digest] Amazon removes Fire OS encryption, Apple supports users through Twitter, Amazon adds new devices to the Echo family, the founder of Oculus VR takes Apple to task, and Morgan Freeman thinks selfie sticks are dumb. Read More , can now pay off your credit card. As long as you have a Capital One credit card. Unfortunately, Amazon won’t foot the bill, so you’ll have to give Alexa access to a checking account to make this happen. Still, it’s another string to Alexa’s bow, and she’s proving more useful with each passing day.

Once you have taken the necessary steps, you can then direct Alexa to, “Ask Capital One to pay my credit card bill,” “Ask Capital One for my Quicksilver Card balance,” and more. With Alexa being always on and listening, this seems like a risky move, but Capital One thinks a four-digit security code (which opens access for five minutes) will be enough to keep its customers safe. We remain skeptical.

The iMom Offers a Vision of the Future

And finally, we bring things back to robotics, AI, and the future of humanity How Technology May Be Influencing Human Evolution There's not a single aspect of the human experience that hasn't been touched by technology, including our very bodies. Read More , with a short film called The iMom. This short, that was first released in 2014, shows a timeline in which robots have even taken on one of the hardest jobs in the world… parenting. Because, why not?!


The iMom is a very dark take on the subject matter, and the whole thing looks and feels like a horror film as it builds towards its inevitable crescendo. Let’s just hope humanity never quite becomes selfish enough to hand our children over to robotic surrogates. Or we may live to regret it.

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Are you worried about your job being taken by a robot? Do you routinely close iPhone apps to save battery life? Have you ever paid for something using Bitcoin? Would you pay your credit card using Echo? Do you think The iMom is an accurate portrayal of the future?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.


Image Credit: Anjanettew via Flickr

Related topics: Amazon, Bitcoin, Credit Card, iPhone, Microsoft, Robotics.

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