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Recent Web Log Entries By Michael de Broglio
Self-driving cars: future of the Road Accident Fund

I don’t think many people in SA appreciate truly how advanced the development of automated cars are at the moment.  Forget about the isolated incident you hear of a self-driving car accident all the time, almost every Tesla has an upgraded feature to it that allows the car to be self-driving.  You engage the self-driving feature and the car drives you home.  It is probably better if you negotiate up the driveway yourself and into your garage or out of the parking lot at the beginning of the journey, but the car does everything perfectly for you.  It follows all the rules, it drives within the lanes and quite frankly, apart from everything else, would be of great assistance to somebody who is driving home after one too many drinks.  For now, you have to keep your hand on the steering wheel, but make no mistake the car is driving itself – not you.

For anybody who has not picked up the pattern of the last 20 or 30 years, this one is not hard to pick up – computers do things better than us.  There will, undoubtedly, be fewer accidents when more vehicles on the road are computer-driven.  Right now, you have more than 285 000 Tesla’s alone driving like that in the US, but it will not take long before every manufacturer has more successful software or licence it, as they have the charging stations, from Tesla.  Tesla got a lot of money for opening its super-charging stations to its rivals and no doubt many of them may want a licensing deal on the automated software next if they are too far behind the curve.

South Africa does not adopt things as quickly, but when things really get going we always get stuck in – just like we did with mobile phones.  I am not saying that that automated cars will be the rule in SA in 10 years, but I don’t think it is an outrageous bet to suggest that the accident rate in SA in 20 years’ time will be substantially lower than it is now largely, if for no other reason at all, due to an increased number of cars of self-driving cars, taxis and the like on our roads.  We are the most advanced country on the African continent, and I have no doubt that although moving to electric and self-driving cars at the moment is essentially non-existent, the move will explode in the years ahead around the world – and in South Africa too.  No doubt personal injury attorneys will start to feel the reduction in injured victims faster in the USA and its safe to assume that the more advanced the country is, the faster their accident rates will fall in the years ahead.

This won’t impact the Road Accident Fund at all now, but it will certainly lead to a dramatic reduction in the number of injured persons it has to pay out in 20 years’ time compared to now.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 29-Aug-23   |  Permalink   |  26 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Chip war

I have recently enjoyed reading a book by Chris Miller called “Chip War: The fight for the world’s most critical technology”.  It is not an easy read, given that it is a fairly complicated field, but it is extremely informative and interesting and the Financial Times gave it its award as the business book of the year. 

The book explains how everything, including missiles and dishwashers, run on computer chips.  Part of the reason that Russia is struggling in its battle with Ukraine is that while it has more money and more people than Ukraine, it does not really have a very reliable computer chip industry and so their missiles and rockets are a lot less accurate than they would be otherwise.  In any event, that is just one example from the book and it deals much more with China, for example, which is investing billions in those computer chips to try and take away the lead that America has had as the number one super power.  The vast majority of chips are now made in Taiwan and Korea.

The book has a lot of history as well, explaining just how America’s computing power allowed it to win the Cold War against Russia.  It is all about national security and the role of semiconductors.   It is not an easy read and it would not suit most of my friends, but I did like an extract from a quote from the New York Times descrbing the book as – “A non-fiction thriller – equal parts The China Syndrome and Mission Impossible.”   One walks away learning that a majority of the chips and semiconductors are made in one factory in an earthquake zone in Taiwan.  One can understand the political ramifications in terms of China’s claims to Taiwan and the world-wide shortage of computer chips that could easily occur were anything to happen in Taiwan – a Chinese invasion or for that matter a serious earthquake.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 28-Feb-23   |  Permalink   |  9 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Self-driving cars

Tesla recently activated it self-driving software in a beta version, in America.  In other words, a feature that would allow the car itself to drive the whole way home from say, a nightclub.    That could be really effective in reducing accidents from drinking.  There is obviously a long way to go and no doubt deaths and mistakes that will occur while the software improves.  There is an even longer way to go before those types of cars and software are common in cars in SA, but adaptation of electric cars and self-driving software is way ahead of schedule in America and of course that will spread to SA ultimately.

Self-driving cars are something that has been predicted for a long time and it is one of those cases where technology has actually been slower than forecast. Tesla, by way of example, has been threatening to release that software for years now and even settled some court cases where people said they were misled into paying extra money for certain features when they were not available.  Well, they are now, and the cars use cameras and other technologies to identify pedestrians, cars, stop signs, traffic lights and all the other obstacles that one typically finds on the roads.  There will always be those luddites who will be against those technologies, and perhaps even claim they are dangerous, but at the end of the day, particularly in a country like SA where the death toll on our roads is so high, one can only hope for the day when the majority of cars are being self-driven and not in the hands of some of our taxi drivers and other drivers!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 21-Feb-23   |  Permalink   |  15 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Using the sun

South Africa’s problems with electricity never cease to amaze me.  Basically, for years, nothing has been done and all that happens is the situation gets worse.  This, in a country that gets huge amounts of sun, and I have written on my blog before, that the obvious solution is staring us in the face – solar power.  I cannot understand why, even to this day (as I wrote years ago), the government has not embarked on a massive solar strategy, giving tax incentives and help, to create a new industry in SA of fitting out houses and businesses on a massive scale with solar power.  Our population keeps growing, the electricity situation is not going to get any better, and this is certainly one of the ways that the problem could and should have been tackled ages ago.  Instead, we spend money burning coal and polluting the environment and giving everybody more load shedding more often when we could and should have been a world leader in solar power.   

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 01-Feb-23   |  Permalink   |  14 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Shocking prison conditions

I read with interest about a recent award of R2 million in damages for a man who was subject to terrible treatment in our prisons.  He was accused of housebreaking and detained for more than 2 years before the charges against him were withdrawn.  That in itself is a scandal.  During that time, he got HIV and he was also forcibly tattooed by other inmates in the prison.

It really does illustrate the shocking conditions in prisons in SA which are an absolute violation of people’s basic human rights.  I wonder how long this situation is going to be tolerated?  Prisoners get raped and murdered.  Gangs run rampant.  Nothing is done about the situation.  It is a shocking indictment of the current state of affairs and no wonder that attorneys continue to obtain these types of judgments against people who have, in most cases, being wrongly imprisoned. 


Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 16-Nov-22   |  Permalink   |  10 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Company quarterly results

Companies on probably the most important Stock Exchange in the world, the S&P 500, report their results every quarter.   Those results are always quite interesting and while some may say financial news is boring, here is just an example of some of the things I learnt in one day reading those results recently. 

Oatly, who make oat-based milk, said that the economy is making it harder for them to switch consumers from regular milk to other options.  While they said demand is not as strong as it used to be, the growth still increased by 22%. 

Starbucks complained that having to pay its staff more was affecting its profits, although they were giving an increase to everybody who worked at a branch that did not have a Union, but in showing they obviously don’t like Unions, those that are working at branches with Unions will not get the same 3% increase! 

I also read that Uber has been able, with price increases for the rides, to obtain new drivers and food delivery couriers.  They say there are much less “surge” times now.  Amongst the features that Uber has introduced to encourage more drivers is that drivers can now see their earnings upfront and they can also choose from a list of potential trips – in the past they just had to take the next trip that is allocated to them.  

Meanwhile, Match Group said their revenue grew by 12%.  They blame the pandemic as well, but most of you will know them for their dating platform, Tinder.  The company said that there are less people willing to try online dating products, for the first time, now than there were before Covid and that is what is slowing down its growth.  The good thing of all of these companies is that their growth is actually increasing, but it is just not increasing as much as might have been expected, especially compared to inflation.  Airbnb said that the value of bookings made on its platform grew by more than 25%, but it still has not closed at an annual profit since it was founded in 2008. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 19-Aug-22   |  Permalink   |  5 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
iPhone 14

The iPhone 14 is going to be announced, as the new models usually are, at an Apple event in September.  There are some rumours that only the Pro-version will have the upgraded A16 chip and that the other versions will have the A15 chip that the iPhone 13 has.  The big news, and the reason I use it in any event each year, will be the improvements to the camera.  There is a lot of talk that the next camera will be 48mp – which is a massive improvement. Again, there is some speculation that only the Pro-models will get a 48MP camera.  Some people obviously take a “I don’t care” approach, but it is the most valuable company in the world and it has the most popular product in the world and from my perspective I am always interested to see what the next generation of phones will be like – and to find an excuse to upgrade once again.  For those of you who do love Apple and have sat out for a year or two, the features like Cinematic Mode, which really enables fantastic video footage, and an increased camera size could definitely be reasons to upgrade later this year.  

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 16-Aug-22   |  Permalink   |  19 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Get that booster shot

A lot of people seem to be under the illusion that once you’ve had a Covid vaccine you are done and protected.  The signs show otherwise – you need to get repeat vaccines and those booster shots typically give you 4 to 5 months of very good protection and after that it starts to wane.  We are sure that pharmaceutical companies will come up with better vaccines that last longer as time goes by, but until they do I am going to continue to get my booster shots and additional vaccines when they are available to me.  I feel one has to take care with one’s health and part of that is reducing one’s reaction to a dangerous disease by making sure, if one is exposed to it, that one’s body has the right amount of immunity added to it by the booster shots.  I am getting the Pfizer booster shot, but if I had the choice I would get Moderna this time, because I very much like the whole mix and match principle and having the benefit of the different companies’ approach to vaccines. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 11-Aug-22   |  Permalink   |  19 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Small amounts, big value

We all have things that we have bought which we feel we have wasted our money on, and on the other hand you get goods or services where you really get what you believe to be a lot of value.  One of the steps I took a couple of months ago was to subscribe to the ad-free version of YouTube.  It has really made a tremendous difference in my life, particularly because I often like to work with electronic dance music or EDM in the background.  I can now listen to DJ sets from the various festivals without being interrupted every 7 or 8 minutes with a new advert!  We all have different things that we find to be of value, but for me, I only wish that I paid for the ad-free version of YouTube a long time ago, given that I use it extensively – whether it is for those DJ sets, watching replays of major horse races or the very informative YouTube videos that tell you how to do things, work software programs, etc, etc.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 05-Aug-22   |  Permalink   |  19 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
A future recession

The head of the World Bank said that it will be very hard for many countries around the world to avoid recession.  The World Bank is forecasting that growth for the rest of this decade will be below what it was for the last decade.  Growth in the United States and Europe is forecast to slow down, but they say that emerging nations, and SA is clearly one of them, will have the toughest time as a result of the problems that arose from the Covid pandemic and now the war in Ukraine.  To make matters worse, the money that governments owe is increasing and increasing interest rates are going to further increase those debts. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 02-Aug-22   |  Permalink   |  19 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
iOS16 and voice dictation

Apple has announced that the next version of their operating system, which will probably be released around September, will have improved voice dictation.  At the moment, they apparently process 18 billion dictation requests every month.  The new features will allow you to have the keyboard open at the same time that you are using the voice dictation, so you will be able to switch between voice and touch while getting that message out! 

I find using voice to dictate messages and quick e-mails on my phone to be very useful, but at the moment you have to switch between the two and you can’t have them both open at the same time.  The new dictation features will also add punctuation automatically to the text in future.   

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 29-Jul-22   |  Permalink   |  12 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
My book

After a bit of a health scare a few years ago, my wife asked me to write a book for my children about my life and the lessons I have learned.  Now that was quite a challenge – I had no idea how much work that would take.  Walks through a forest while dictating and telling stories how, for example, I had to do Grade 11 twice, what happened in my family, to a man who ended with three degrees including a Masters in Tax.  But let me not talk about that, because behind that is a family tragedy which my book tells my children chapter and verse.  I was not even born de Broglio – and therein lies another story for my children – not just of adoption – but changing part of my surname to distance myself from relatives who I believe let us down when we needed help.

Actually, what I wanted to write about with reference to the book is how quickly life changes and the challenges that are always thrown your way.  I cannot believe how much of my life changed after I wrote that book!  I could write another 80 000 words!  Life can often challenge you in more than one area of your life, one after another, and you have to just keep standing.  In my case to hold my head high and know that I run a very good business, with some amazing staff.  We get almost as many clients now as when we last advertised – and that was more than a year ago.  That’s word of mouth.  We all have weaknesses and strengths, but honesty is what has grown the business for me and rewarded me in life – which rewards include four amazing children that I wrote my book for.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 14-Jun-22   |  Permalink   |  17 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It

Johannesburg based attorney specializing in personal injury matters including Road Accident Fund claims and medical negligence matters. My interests include golf, reading and the internet and the way it is constantly developing. I have a passion for life and a desire for less stress!
Have you been injured in a motor accident?

Recent Settlements
Lumbar spine compression fractures R2,500,000.00
Severe hip fracture requiring total hip replacements R3,305,000.00
Head injury with disfiguring facial scaring of a young female R4,000,000.00
Whiplash and compression fracture of the spine R4,000,000.00
Broken Femora R1,914,416.00
Broken Femur and Patella R770,881.15
Loss of Support for two minor children R2,649,968.00
Fracture of the right Humerus, fracture of the pubi rami, abdominal injuries, head injury R4,613,352.95
Fracture of the right femur, Fracture of the right tibia-fibula R1,200,000.00
Broken Jaw, Right Shoulder Injury, Mild head injury R1,100,000.00
Degloving injuries to the hips, legs and ankle R877,773.00
Head injury R2,734,295.12
Fractured pelvis R1,355,881.53
Damaged tendons in left arm R679,688.03
Fractured left hand R692,164.48
Amputated right lower leg with loss of income R3,921,000.00
Fractured left foot R600,000.00
Head injury and multiple facial fractures R5,000,000.00
Head injury, compound fracture right femur, right tib and fib fracture, and injury to the spleen R4,529,672.06
Head injury, multiple facial fractures, collapsed lung and a fracture to the right frontal bone R2,890,592.77
Loss of support R5,144,000.00


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