Terror parole and bail laws toughened up ahead of COAG meeting

There will be a strong presumption against granting bail or parole to anyone connected with terror offences under a deal struck between commonwealth and state governments.

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull brokered a deal on the hardline reforms ahead of a meeting with state and territory premiers on Friday, where national security is set to dominate talks.

“We must be faster, smarter, more agile, more responsive than those who seek to do us harm,” he told reporters in Hobart.

“If you have someone who has terrorist sympathies and who has a propensity to violence, every day they are not on the street is a good day.”

The national crackdown will extend to anyone deemed to support or have links to violent extremism or terrorism.

The agreement falls short of a proposal by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to have domestic spy agency ASIO and federal police to help state parole boards decide on releasing criminals who pose a terror threat.

Mr Turnbull said federal police and intelligence officers already fed information on convicted terrorists through to parole boards.

Related readingTake ideology out of climate, energy: PM

Malcolm Turnbull wants ideology and politics taken out of national energy policy and replaced with a strategy grounded in economics and engineering.

The focus had to be on a system that delivered affordable, reliable and secure electricity while meeting Australia’s carbon emissions reduction targets, the prime minister said.

The Council of Australian Governments will be presented with Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s final report on the national energy system.

It’s understood he will recommend a “clean energy target” – rather than an emissions intensity scheme or a carbon price – to help ease pressure on power prices while cutting carbon emissions and ensuring the grid is reliable.

While Dr Finkel is not expected to recommend a specific figure for the target, he will argue the proposal would be enough to meet Australia’s Paris climate agreement commitments.

“The important objective we have is to take the ideology and politics out of this issue,” Mr Turnbull told reporters.

“As I have said for a long time now, my approach to energy policy … is grounded in economics and engineering, not in ideology, not in politics, not in partisanship.”

Host premier Will Hodgman will be pushing for his state to be the “nation’s renewable energy battery”, with a focus on wind farms.

Victorian leader Daniel Andrews says business and consumers are sick and tired of governments simply arguing endlessly about energy policy.

“Let’s get on and put them first,” he told reporters.

Related reading

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will underline her state’s commitment to 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 but will have a state task force examine and roll out the Finkel report recommendations.

She hopes the Finkel review brings an end to the climate wars in Australia and leaders reach common ground, noting Queensland was doing the heavy lifting by opening up its gas market.

“So every other state also needs to lift its game,” she said.

Comey accuses White House of trying to stifle Russia probe

Lies, loyalty and leaks.

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James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee has touched on those subjects and more during almost three hours of questioning.

The former head of the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation was fired soon after launching an investigation into the former national security adviser’s links with Russia.

He says he thinks that probe into General Michael Flynn probably helped seal his fate.

“There’s no doubt that … It’s a fair judgment – it’s my judgment – that I was fired because of the Russia investigation, I was fired in some way to change, or the endeavour was to change, the way the Russia investigation was being conducted. That is a very big deal, and not just because it involves me. The nature of the FBI and the nature of its work requires that it not be the subject of political consideration. And on top of that, you have the Russia investigation itself is vital, because of the threat.”

Speculation over ties between Russia and the Trump administration has persisted since claims of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign first surfaced.

Mr Comey says he and the entire intelligence community believe Russia did intervene in the poll.

He says suggestions he lost his position for any other reason are “lies, plain and simple.”

The former public servant also admitted leaking details of private conversations with the President in an effort to prompt the appointment of a special counsel to lead the investigation.

Speaking after the testimony, President Trump’s personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, says the revelation destroys Mr Comey’s credibility.

“Of course, the Office of the President is entitled to expect loyalty from those who are serving the administration. And from before this president took office to this day, it is overwhelmingly clear that there have been, and continue to be, those in government who are actively attempting to undermine this administration with selective and illegal leaks of classified information and privileged communications. Mr Comey has now admitted that he is one of these leakers.”

Mr Comey has avoided accusing President Trump of trying to obstruct justice, a potentially impeachable offence.

But he confessed his fears Mr Trump might lie about their meetings prompted him to keep records of them.

He says his apprehension was due to the sensitive subject matter as well as the then newly elected president himself.

At the same time Mr Comey was speaking, Donald Trump was giving his own speech at a conference of evangelical supporters.

He has promised he will keep fighting.

“And, as you know, we’re under siege. You understand that. But we will come out bigger and better and stronger than ever. You watch. You fought hard for me, and now I’m fighting hard for all of you. I have one goal as president, to fight for the American people and to fight for America and America first. We are winners, and we are going to fight and win and have an unbelievable future, unbelievable future, and it’s going to be together.”

The testimony was a highly anticipated event, with many restaurants and bars holding special viewing parties for the public.

 

What did we learn from Comey’s testimony before Congress?

The key issue before the Senate Intelligence Committee was whether Trump sought to obstruct the investigation in nine conversations with Comey this year, leading up to his dismissal of the FBI chief on May 9.

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Here are the key points of what Comey had to say in his first public appearance since his ouster:

‘Direction,’ but no order to end probe 

Asked if Trump ever demanded the Russia investigation be shut down, Comey flatly replied “No”. 

But he said that Trump’s request at a February 14 Oval Office meeting for him to ease the probe of former national security advisor Michael Flynn sounded like an order.   

Trump said, Comey recalled, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy.” 

“I took it as a direction. He’s the president of the United States, with me alone, saying ‘I hope this.’… I took it as this is what he wants me to do.”

“I was so stunned by the conversation that I just took it in.”

Trump says ‘we’ll fight on’

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Related readingObstruction of justice? 

Comey said it was not up to him but instead the independent special counsel in the Russian probe, Robert Mueller, to decide whether Trump broke a law.

“I don’t think it’s for me to say whether the conversation I had with the president was an effort to obstruct. I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning.”

At the same time, he strongly suggested obstruction. 

“It’s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation,” he told senators. “I was fired in some way to change, or the endeavor was to change, the way the Russia investigation was being conducted. That is a very big deal.”

White House ‘lied’ over Comey firing 

Comey recalled that Trump and the White House gave shifting explanations for why he was dismissed, first saying it was over his handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe last year, then saying it was the Russia investigation, and finally declaring Comey was a poor leader disliked by the FBI staff.

“The administration then chose to defame me and more importantly the FBI by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the work force had lost confidence in its leader. Those were lies, plain and simple.”

Comey ‘stunned’ by Trump conversation 

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Related readingMemos on Trump meetings 

Comey said his distrust of Trump prompted him to take meticulous notes immediately after each of their nine discussions this year.

“I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so I thought it really important to document,” he said of one such occasion.

He was later surprised when Trump suggested he had taped the conversations.

“I’ve seen the tweet about tapes. Lordy, I hope there are tapes.”

Comey’s leaks 

Under attack by Trump, Comey wanted to get his side of the story out. So he leaked his memorandums on the Trump discussions to the New York Times.

“I didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons,” he said, instead asking a friendly law professor to share his written recollection of those conversations with a reporter.

“I asked him to, because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”

Trump disinterested in Russia probe 

Comey said there was no doubt, in his mind, about the Russian government’s covert attempt to interfere in last year’s presidential election. But Trump showed no interest.

“I don’t remember any conversations with the president about the Russian election interference,” he said.

“We’re talking about a foreign government that using technical intrusion, lots of other methods, tried to shape the way we think, we vote, we act. That is a big deal.”

Related readingA missed date 

Comey said Trump himself called him to a dinner on January 27, during which he asked him for a pledge of loyalty. 

“He said, how about 6:30? I said whatever works for you, sir,” Comey recalled.

“Then I hung up and called my wife and broke a date with her. I was supposed to take her out to dinner.”

“That’s one of the all-time great excuses for breaking it,” quipped one of the senators at the hearing.

Trump lawyer disputes Comey testimony

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Tyson Frizell to face fired-up Bulldogs

Tyson Frizell will take his place in the St George Illawarra line-up against Canterbury on Monday after recovering from a rib injury.

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The NSW Origin lock completed his second limited-contact training run with the Dragons on Friday and finished the session without issue.

The news comes just six days after he was taken to hospital during the Dragons’ 16-12 win over the Wests Tigers, with fears of a rib fracture.

Scans on Monday cleared him of any serious injury, but Dragons medical staff said he would still be monitored during the week before a call was made on his fitness closer to game day.

However it’s now understood the 25-year-old will be a certain starter at ANZ Stadium against a fired-up Bulldogs pack.

“We’re going to need him,” Dragons prop Russell Packer said.

“He is a world-class player and we need him healthy if that’s the case.”

The Dragons are wary of a motivated Bulldogs side desperate to bounce back from last Sunday’s embarrassing 38-0 defeat to Penrith.

The last time Canterbury were beaten to nil – against Manly in round four – they won their next three straight to quell questions over coach Des Hasler’s future.

Questions have been raised about the team’s attacking structure, while captain James Graham has had to defend the mood in the club after concerns were raised by former players in the media.

But Packer said the Dragons also had their own point to prove following Saturday’s lacklustre win over the Tigers.

The Saints completed at 67 per cent and missed 33 tackles in the win – their worst figures in each category for this season.

“We’ve got a bit of a motivating factor ourselves,” Packer said.

“We didn’t particularly put our best performance in against the Wests Tigers.

“As a playing group we weren’t happy that we didn’t meet the standards that we’ve set in the previous 11 games prior to that.”

UK Election 2017: May ahead but set to lose majority, exit poll shows

The results of the UK General Election 2017 are filtering in as analysts predict a hung parliament.

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London-based analysts from Japanese bank Nomura estimates Ms May’s Conservatives are on track to win 332 seats based on exit polls and seats declared so far. But Sky News predicts they will gain between 308 and 328 seats.

The BBC forecasts the Conservatives to win 318 seats and Labour 267.

A party needs 326 seats to form a majority in the 650-seat parliament.

Britain’s Opposition Labour Party is leading with 247 seats and the Conservative Party has 229. The Scottish National Party has 33 seats, the Democratic Unionist Party and the Liberal Democrats have 10 each.

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn told supporters on election night Ms May had lost her mandate. 

“This election was called in order for the prime minister to gain a large majority in order for her to assert her authority,” he said in London.

“If there is a message from tonight’s results, it’s this: the Prime Minister called this election because she wanted a mandate,” Corbyn said. “Well the mandate she’s got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence.”

“I would have thought that’s enough to go, and make way for a government that will be truly representative of all of the people of this country.”

Ms May says she knows the country needs a period of stability and whatever the results, the Conservatives will fulfill its duty to provide it.

UK Gen Election- @campbellclaret says of @theresa_may “her hand is now severly weakened. Anything could happen.” #hungparliment

— Bill Neely (@BillNeelyNBC) June 9, 2017

The election comes at a pivotal time in British history as it negotiates a complicated exit from the European Union, the first country to leave the bloc.

Former finance minister George Osborne, who Ms May ousted from her Cabinet, told ITV that Ms May will face a “huge post-mortem” for calling the snap general election in April. “People will start to ask questions… about the future of the direction of the Conservative Party,” he said.

UK Election: What’s at stake

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The first exit poll showed the Conservatives were set to win 314 seats in the UK General Election, falling short of a majority in the 650-seat parliament which would leave UK with a hung parliament.

The Labour Party is predicted to win 266 seats, the Scottish National Party 34 seats, down significantly from 54, and the Liberal Democrat Party to win 14 seats.

An election model from Japanese bank Nomura, however, has projected the Conservatives to win 338 seats, which would give them a majority.

London-based analysts made the prediction based on the exit poll results and the first 15 seats to declare.

There are 76 seats that are still too close to call, a BBC analysis reports. 

A party must secure 326 seats to command a majority. If it doesn’t, there is a “hung parliament” and the party with the most seats attempts to form a majority.

Former Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, says he doesn’t believe the Liberal Democrats would support a Conservative administration if it fell short of a majority while Jeffrey Donaldson of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) says he would negotiate with it.

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Paul Hollingsworth from economic research consultancy Capital Economics says if the exit poll is correct, the economy looks set to “face a period of uncertainty about the outlook for policy, Brexit and the possibility of another election”.

Former UK finance minister George Osborne says a hung parliament would be “completely catastrophic for the Conservatives”.

“It’s difficult to see, if these numbers were right, how they would put together the coalition to remain in office. But equally it’s quite difficult looking at those numbers to see how Labour could put together a coalition so it’s on a real knife edge,” he said.

Financial analyst Jordan Rochester says: “This is the hung parliament territory, it’s also what we had for the last election pretty much.

“But then the real numbers on the night came up with a majority, so it’s not over yet, folks, but we possibly have the Labour + SNP + Lib Dem Coalition possibility in play here.”

Exit poll projects Conservatives 12 seats short of a majority长沙桑拿,长沙SPA,/jpy6wse1Rp#bbcelection #GE2017 pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/wyWlNvnBOG

— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) June 8, 2017

The polls were close to the actual result in 2005 and 2015, but it could be wrong. In 2015 it suggested the Tories would fall short of a majority at 316 but the final vote put them at 330. 

Figures from both leading parties are treating the exit poll with caution.

“We do need to see some actual results before we can interpret this one way or the other,” said Defence Minister Michael Fallon.

Labour’s spokesman on finance John McDonnell says, “We have to have some scepticism about all polls at the moment.

“Let’s see some results before we come to some conclusions,” he said.

The final poll from Ipsos puts May and her Conservative Party at 44 per cent, Labour at 36 per cent, Liberal Democrats at 7 per cent and the UK Independence Party at 4 per cent.

Polling experts have issued a range of results with one shock model even predicting May could lose her working majority of 17 in the 650-seat House of Commons.

A final poll by YouGov on Wednesday showed Conservatives seven points ahead of Labour, while ICM gave May’s party a 12-point lead.

RELATEDPound tumbles

The British pound fell sharply Thursday after an exit poll suggested Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives could lose their majority after losing seats in the general elections.

The British currency was trading at $1.2751, down 1.5 percent from the day-before level. 

-With AFP and Reuters

Syrian rebel forces apparently retake ruins on edge of Raqaq

The self-proclaimed Islamic State took control of the Syrian city of Raqqa from opposition rebel groups in 2014, treating it as the capital of a caliphate spanning large parts of both Syria and neighbouring Iraq.

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But last November, Kurdish YPG and Arab forces, collectively known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, began encircling the city, with air support from the United States.

Now, several days into operation Wrath of Euphrates ground forces are reportedly making gains from the north, south and east.

And a new online video purports to show fighters from the forces at the ruins of the thousand-year-old Harqalah fortress outside Raqqa.

It apparently has been captured from IS, known also as Daesh.

“We are in the city of Raqqa, the province of Raqqa. This the first province and the first centre of Daesh in Syria, because they have two centres, one in Iraq in Mosul and the city of Raqqa. This area has been under the control of Daesh for more than five to six years, and they were fortified here. People faced a lot of unfairness. We, in response to the calls made by people, have come to liberate Raqqa, and we liberated two villages, the villages of Rabee and al-Jazra.”

The US-led military coalition estimates thousands of IS fighters could still be inside Raqqa, signalling a potentially difficult fight for incoming forces.

Brett McGurk, the US special envoy to the coalition, says the attack against IS is set to accelerate.

He says IS has already suffered massive losses in Iraq, where a campaign to retake the stronghold of Mosul is in its ninth month.

“In this campaign against Daesh, in operations that we as a coalition have supported in Iraq and Syria, Daesh has now lost almost 55,000 square kilometres of territory that it used to control. Over 4 million people that used to be living under Daesh are now free.”

The US move to arm Kurdish fighters in Syria has angered Turkey, which sees the YPG as linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK.

Turkey has banned the group for its decades-long fight for independence on Turkish territory.

And Turkey says it is prepared to act immediately if any perceived threats arise from operations to take control of Raqqa.

It fears Kurdish participation could embolden the PKK across the border.

A political analyst in Syria, Sarikis Kassargian, says the Raqqa front is a source of US tension with Turkey and Russia, which backs Syrian government forces reportedly also advancing on the city.

“I don’t think that there is an agreement about Raqqa with the US and Russia. More than that, I think that Raqqa is a problem in the relations, between the US and Russia on one side and between the US and Turkey on another side. But it seems that America’s new administration and Trump insist to make a new change, or to make border changes, in this area. So this is why he has pushed the SDF to begin the Raqqa liberation.”

Russia is hosting the United Nations’ special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, ahead of a new round of scheduled peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Co-sponsored by Iran and Turkey, the negotiations were expected to focus on so-called “de-escalation zones.”

Mr De Mistura, visiting Moscow for the third time this year, has urged Russia to coordinate efforts at the talks with those happening in Geneva under UN auspices.

“We want to share together our own thoughts about the next round of Geneva talks and how the Astana discussions will be, in a way, connected and connectable both, since, without a good de-escalation process, the Geneva talks will be difficult but, without the Geneva progress, there will be no horizon. So they are very closely interconnected.”

Dark future for coal-fired power predicted

Australia’s reliance on coal to generate electricity will diminish as conventional power plants reach their use-by date, the country’s chief scientist says.

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But the existing market is not equipped to deal with the transition and, if not addressed soon, could impact reliability and security.

Alan Finkel, in a major report into the system published on Friday, said Australia’s coal fleet is old and coming towards the end of its design life.

He predicts generation will decline over the next 30 years.

More than three-quarters (76 per cent) of electricity produced in 2015/2016 came from coal-fired generators.

But by 2035, about 68 per cent of existing coal generating plants will have reached 50 years of age, and investors have signalled they’re unlikely to invest in new coal-fired generation.

“The existing conventional coal-fired generators are unlikely to be replaced with like-for-like generation assets,” he wrote.

Large generators are likely to be replaced by a number of smaller plants, as the cost of wind, large-scale solar, and new gas-fired generators rapidly declines.

However, the existing framework “is not well suited to co-ordinating the transition ahead”.

Generators are being retired with much shorter notice to the market than the time it takes for new capacity to be planned, financed and built.

“This will be problematic in the future where the retirement of large coal-fired generators could have implications for system security and reliability,” Dr Finkel said.

“The security and reliability services that these generators provide can and will be met by other means, but the transition will need to be more closely monitored and managed.”

Key to that will be obliging large generators to provide both the market operator and wider community with more notice of their intention to close.

The report recommends a three-year notification period.

“This will provide time for replacement capacity to be built and for affected communities to plan for change.”

‘Cor Blimey’: How the world reacted as May’s election gamble fell to pieces

By late Thursday evening in the United Kingdom, it appeared as though the writing was on the wall for British Prime Minister Theresa May.

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While the final results had not yet been declared, exit polls – which have been historically accurate within 20 seats for major parties – indicated that the Conservatives were facing a hung parliament, throwing Ms May’s Brexit plans into disarray.

Related reading

The shock findings, which were in contrast with polls ahead of the election that indicated Ms May could secure a slim majority, saw media outlets around the world – even those traditionally aligned with the Tories – change their tune.

In the UK, newspapers emphatically splashed mayhem, shock and failure across their front pages as the exit polls pointed to the Conservatives losing a grip on their overall majority.

INDEPENDENT DIGITAL: Black and Blue: May’s election gamble misfires #tomorrowspaperstoday pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/dDEYH1WRAQ

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) June 8, 2017THE SUN: Mayhem #tomorrowspaperstoday pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/NUxIteJjEG

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) June 8, 2017THE TIMES 2AM: May’s big gamble fails #tomorrowspaperstoday pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/DepKodhtFM

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) June 9, 2017MIRROR UPDATED: Cor Blimey #tomorrowspaperstoday pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/4g3pM7SXDd

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) June 9, 2017TELEGRAPH 2AM: May’s gamble backfires #tomorrowspaperstoday pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/vextSIRUlm

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) June 9, 2017

In France, where the impact of far-right rhetoric continues to reverberate, with Emmanuel Macron’s victory still fresh in the minds of the French, front pages including ‘Le Figaro’ and ‘La Croix’ also pointed to UK uncertainty. 

Across the Atlantic, former FBI director James Comey’s testimony dominated news coverage, with the UK election overlooked altogether on the front page of ‘The Washington Post’, however the election did raise a mention on ‘The New York Times’ and the ‘Los Angeles Times’ – just.

Comey to testify about his relationship with Trump. Here’s tomorrow’s front page: pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/xhntH5s4fY

— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) June 8, 2017Today’s Front Page of The New York Times (长沙桑拿,长沙SPA,/pQcClsPiru) via @Newseum #TFP 长沙桑拿,长沙SPA,/kfafiuhGBI pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/LOD2j7f9Tk

— Franklin Lopez (@trueblue51) June 8, 2017

While newspapers back home were limited by time constraints, Rupert Murdoh’s ‘The Australian’ was angling for a big win to “reset May authority”. Later digital editions by mastheads including ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ and the ‘Herald Sun’ spelled doom for Theresa May.

The font page of The Australian, Friday, June 9, 2017.The Australian

Earth to be shared with robots: astronaut

Dr Dan Barry has seen every country in the world from space but only this week did he step foot on his seventh continent.

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The retired NASA astronaut touched down in Sydney this week to address dozens of business and science minds at AMP Capital’s Amplify conference on Wednesday night.

His closing speech, The Edge of Wonder, explored the level of trust humanity should extend to machines, as the decision to put human life in the hands of robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) looms on the horizon.

Dr Barry is one of 550-odd people who’ve had the chance to go to space. It takes eight minutes to reach orbit and 45 minutes to re-enter and land, he says.

The 63-year-old has been on three space missions including two visits to the International Space Station (ISS) and four space walks.

After 13 rejected applications, the American was accepted into the astronaut program in 1992.

Every single person selected by the Chief of the Astronaut Office that year went on to fly in space, he says.

“People say: ‘You trusted a machine with your life’? But that’s not really quite true,” Dr Barry told the conference.

“We went around in that first year of training and we met the people who built the shuttle. You look them in the eye and you say ‘That weld has my life in it’ and you recognise those people understand that.

“I didn’t really trust the machine, I trusted the people who built that machine. And the robots aren’t going to be able to take that away.”

The Boston engineer, who has also delivered a TEDx talk from Antarctica’s Scott Base, runs two robotics companies but insists machines won’t “take all the jobs” from humans.

“I think the robots are going to take the jobs that are below human dignity to do,” he said.

“There should not be anybody that wastes their lives for 40 years digging ditches.

“We shouldn’t waste a human mind doing repetitive, detailed things that ‘AI’ can be so good at.”

He says humans will reap the benefits, rather than lose out, if companies hand robots the most mundane jobs.

Meanwhile, Dr Barry said the easiest jobs should stay available for workers who are feeling unwell or are suffering an injury.

He said the intelligence of these machines is broad, he says, and the level of trust varies greatly – AI ranges from bricklaying robots to bodyguards, drones, autonomous vehicles, remote-controlled surgery and brain implants.

“In the end, we’re going to trust these things with our lives,” Dr Barry said.

“We have to decide at what level do you want these things to exist? At what level are you willing to trust them?”

The key, he says, is complementing each other rather than competing.

While ‘AIs’ get all of the details right they are oblivious to the bigger picture, whereas humans understand the particulars of a situation and when the rule book might need to be ignored, such as with insurance policies or certain laws.

But AI can only progress in industries outside of robotics – such as law and finance – if information is shared, problem-solving software embraced, and companies stop trying to individually reinvent the wheel, Dr Barry said.

Proof of what humans are capable of, he says, can be seen when looking down on Earth at night from the space station: “We light this thing up like a Christmas tree”.

“That is the representation of intelligence in our entire galaxy. We don’t know of any other planet lit up at night, not even one light on any other planet,” Dr Barry said.

“That represents people working together, developing technology, trusting each other, sharing resources.

“And this sort of view gives me optimism. We’ve made the world an amazing place and we’re going to take it all over the galaxy some day, if we trust each other.”

Pendlebury wary of Dees AFL veteran Vince

He’s far from their most glamorous player but Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury knows first-hand that Bernie Vince can be a game-winner for Melbourne.

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The Demons veteran has been a thorn in Pendlebury’s side during their past few meetings, tagging the star Magpie to great effect while also winning plenty of his own ball.

Vince has polled Brownlow medal votes in all four of his games against the Magpies in Melbourne colours, including two games where he was judged to be best afield.

Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin is likely to be tempted to use Vince in a tagging role again when the two sides face off in the Queen’s Birthday game at the MCG.

The Magpies are looking to notch their fourth consecutive win but have lost their past three meetings with the Demons.

“They haven’t really been close – he’s given me a touch-up the last few years,” Pendlebury said on Friday.

“Then last year he played off the back-flank and I think had 40-something (disposals).

“He’s someone that we’ll look to put a bit of time into ourselves. He’s been a really important part of Melbourne getting over the line, as well as their midfield, the last three times we’ve played them.

“We certainly respect Melbourne. We’ve identified what we think they’re really good at and we’ll try and take that away from them.”

Collingwood have been forced to make at least three changes, with Daniel Wells (calf), Jamie Elliott (ankle) and Tyson Goldsack (shoulder) ruled out.

Alex Fasolo will return after taking a break to deal with mental health issues while Callum Brown – the son of former Magpies skipper Gavin – will debut at what’s likely to be a packed MCG.

“He’s a guy that came in and was really impressive early, then got glandular fever and had a bit of an interrupted run,” Pendlebury said of Brown.

“He’s played five or six games now in the VFL. He won’t be overawed by the stage. He’s a really hard-at-it guy and a fierce competitor.”