Technology

Rabuka weighs in on Instacharge app

Social Democratic Liberal Party Party Leader, Major General Sitiveni Rabuka expressed concern about the launch and endorsement of an app by the Prime Minister last week, which has made headlines around the world. RABUKA: “The PM’s decision to launch the app in Fiji last week was ill thought to say the least, given a sensible consideration […]

Newsroom

December 7, 2016 7:42 am

Social Democratic Liberal Party Party Leader, Major General Sitiveni Rabuka expressed concern about the launch and endorsement of an app by the Prime Minister last week, which has made headlines around the world.

RABUKA: “The PM’s decision to launch the app in Fiji last week was ill thought to say the least, given a sensible consideration of the merits of the app, would have demanded otherwise, or at the least, more scientific vetting. The negative publicity has gone viral, bringing opprobrium and mockery on the Government of Fiji.

Mr Rabuka said the incident highlighted the failure of the vetting procedures within the Government.

RABUKA: “A SODELPA Government would encourage free and frank advice from civil servants and would not be so eager for publicity that sensible consideration and vetting procedures are waived.”

Bainimarama “did not endorse” Instacharge app

December 05 – The Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum yesterday distanced the government from the Instacharge smartphone application which has generated a lot of interest worldwide since being launched in Suva last week.

PM Bainimarama at the launch last week with Instacharge founder Douglas Stewart.
PM Bainimarama at the launch last week with InstaCharge founder Douglas Stewart.

The launch party for InstaCharge was held at the Grand Pacific Hotel last week and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama was the Chief Guest.

In a press conference yesterday, Minister Sayed-Khaiyum said the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama did not endorse the application and merely used the opportunity to outline the Government’s achievements in the ICT sector.

SAYED-KHAIYUM: “The PM did not endorse the product, he did not say the product works, he did not say that I am pleased to launch this product.”

The AG said there were other dignitaries at the launch, including the CEO of Digicel, but that did not imply an endorsement.

The creators of the app – American Douglas Stewart and Fijian businessman Gaurangbhai Patel – said their invention took two years to complete and was a world-first. They said their mission was for users to “always be reachable during an emergency crisis”.

STEWART: “It is a pleasure to launch this world-changing app in Fiji, I would like to go back to America with one billion users.”

Justin Hodgkiss, an associate professor of physical chemistry in New Zealand, told Radio New Zealand the app broke the basic laws of thermodynamics.

HODGKISS: “Anybody who’s studied science at even a high school level knows that one of the fundamental principles is that energy cannot be created or destroyed. It’s just that simple, you can’t just make energy with an app,”

Professor Shawkat Ali, the dean of the department of computer science and information technology at the University of Fiji, told The Guardian that he did not know anyone in Fiji who had seen or downloaded the app since its launch.

ALI: “The academic community in Fiji is not accepting the claims of this company … what they are claiming to be able to do is 100% impossible … I don’t know anyone in Fiji who has used the app, no one.”

In a statement, InstaCharge said none of the sceptics had provided “substantial evidence” detailing why their product did not work.

INSTACHARGE: “In the pursuit of technology man and woman have always questioned the validity of inventions and creations, InstaCharge App is no different.Further information about how the app worked and where and when it would be available would be released next week, but until then InstaCharge wanted to “set the record straight” that there had been no funding provided by the Fijian government towards the creation of the app.”

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