Posts Tagged ‘David Goldman’

by David Goldman

As part of a scathing takedown of the debt-purchasing industry, late night comedian John Oliver forgave nearly $15 million of medical debt with a tap of a giant red button on Sunday night.

Oliver called the giveaway the “largest one-time giveaway in television history.” He just about doubled the value of Oprah Winfrey’s famous “You get a car! You get a car! Everybody gets a car!” giveaway to her entire studio audience in 2004.

The stunt followed a long look at debt collectors on his HBO show “Last Week Tonight,” in which Oliver sharply rebuked debt purchasers for unscrupulous behavior that is limited by hardly any regulatory oversight. (HBO is owned by CNNMoney’s parent company, Time Warner.)

The segment included a hidden camera brought into a Debt Buyers Association conference by “Last Week Tonight” staffers, which showed panelists appearing to scoff at how Americans don’t understand their legal rights about paying their debts.

To further illustrate the lack of regulation and ease at which debt collectors can harass people over money they owe, Oliver said “Last Week Tonight” spent $50 to create its own debt collection agency, based in Mississippi.

“Any idiot can get into it, and I can prove that to you, because I’m an idiot and I started a debt buying company and it was disturbingly easy,” Oliver said.

Oliver named the company “Central Asset Recovery Professionals,” or CARP, “after a bottom-feeding fish.” He appointed himself chairman of the board.

After setting up a bare-bones website, Oliver said CARP was offered a portfolio of nearly $15 million in medical debt for just $60,000. “Last Week Tonight” was able to pay less than half a cent on the dollar for all that debt.

Oliver said CARP could have received a file that included the names, personal addresses and Social Security numbers of nearly 9,000 people who owed the debt it had purchased. He called that fact “absolutely terrifying, because I could legally have CARP take possession of that debt and have employees start calling people turning their lives upside down over medical debt.”

“There would be absolutely nothing wrong with except for the fact that absolutely everything is wrong with that,” Oliver continued. “We need much clearer rules and oversight.”

In the end, Oliver said “Last Week Tonight,” decided to forgive all that debt — not just because “it’s the right thing to do,” but also because it would trump Oprah’s $8 million giveaway.

With the tap of a giant red button, streams of confetti, dramatic music and strobe lights, Oliver transferred the file with the 9,000 debtors’ personal information to RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit that forgives medical debt with no tax consequences for the debtor.

“It seems to me the least we can do for debt I cannot f—ing believe we’re allowed to own is to give it away,” Oliver said to close his show. “F— you, Oprah. I am the new queen of daytime talk!”

http://money.cnn.com/2016/06/06/technology/john-oliver-medical-debt/

Thanks to Kebmodee for bringing this to the It’s Interesting community.

by David Goldman

Google has patented a new technology that would let the company inject a computerized lens directly into your eyeball.

The company has been developing smart glasses and even smart contact lenses for years. But Google’s newest patented technology would go even further — and deeper.

In its patent application, which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved last week, Google says it could remove the lens of your eye, inject fluid into your empty lens capsule and then place an electronic lens in the fluid.

Once equipped with your cyborg lenses, you would never need glasses or contacts again. In fact, you might not even need a telescope or a microscope again. And who needs a camera when your eyes can capture photos and videos?

The artificial, computerized lenses could automatically adjust to help you see objects at a distance or very close by. The lenses could be powered by the movement of your eyeball, and they could even connect to a nearby wireless device.

Google says that its patented lenses could be used to cure presbyopia, an age-related condition in which people’s eyes stiffen and their ability to focus is diminished or lost. It could also correct common eye problems, such as myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism.

Today, we cure blurry vision with eyeglasses or contact lenses. But sometimes vision is not correctable.

And there are clear advantages to being a cyborg with mechanical eyes.

Yet Google (GOOGL, Tech30) noted that privacy could become a concern. If your computerized eyes are transmitting data all the time, that signal could allow law enforcement or hackers to identify you or track your movements. Google said that it could make the mechanical lenses strip out personally identifying information so that your information stays secure.

Before you sign up for cyborg eyes, it’s important to note that Google and many other tech companies patent technologies all the time. Many of those patented items don’t end up getting made into actual products. So it’s unclear if Google will ever be implanting computers into your eyes — soon or ever.

http://money.cnn.com/2016/05/04/technology/google-lenses/index.html