Future of Work
Ina Fried 12 hours ago
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Google expands AR, Google Lens to more devices
Google Lens now supports selecting text from within a photo
Google Lens can now select the text seen in a photo. (Photo: Google)

Ahead of Mobile World Congress, Google announced Friday it is bringing its augmented reality and Google Lens smart camera tools to more devices — and giving both new tricks.

Why it matters: Convincing developers to build for AR is, in part, a numbers game. Apple's ARKit is already supported on lots and lots of iPhones so getting Google's rival ARCore on more devices is important. Google Lens, meanwhile, is the evolution of the search box, using what the camera sees as the query.

Zachary Basu 12 hours ago
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DHL executive eyes potential savings from Tesla's electric trucks
Tesla Semi
Elon Musk steps out of the new 'Semi' electric truck during the unveiling for buyers and journalists last year. Photo by Veronique Dupont / AFP / Getty Images.

A shift from diesel to Tesla's electric Semi trucks could result in massive savings on maintenance and fuel, DHL executive Jim Monkmeyer told Reuters.

Why it matters: Tesla estimates the new line of trucks, set to be manufactured in 2019, will run at an operating cost of $1.26 per mile, compared to an industry-standard of $1.51 for diesel. DHL has only ordered 10 trucks as a test run, but Monkmeyer said early energy and maintenance figures indicate the company could pay off the difference between a Semi and a traditional diesel truck in just 18 months.

Steve LeVine 12 hours ago
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The U.K. gets into the battery race
The Faraday Institution will be housed in this building at Harwell in England. Photo: Harwell.

The U.K. has launched itself into the global race for a super battery, allocating $108 million for a new research center with the goal of competing with the U.S., China and others for a piece of the future electric car industry.

Quick take: By opening the Faraday Institution just south of Oxford, the U.K. joins a race that has been going on for a little less than a decade, pitting it against research and industry leaders China, Japan, South Korea and the United States.

Stef W. Kight 13 hours ago
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H-1B outsourcers to face increased scrutiny
Photo: John Moore / Getty Images

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued guidance late Thursday night that would allow their officials to demand extra, detailed information — including worker contracts and itineraries — from companies who send H1-B workers to third-party worksites.

Why it matters: While this isn't a policy change, the memo specifically targets outsourcing firms, which account for the most H-1B labor filings, for potentially tougher scrutiny. These firms have been the focus of Homeland Security memos, proposed policy changes, and congressional bills introduced over the past year by the Trump administration, as they are often portrayed as taking advantage of the H-1B program at the expense of American workers.

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What happens in an age of "peak human"
Hopping a ride in Jalandhar, India. Photo: Shammi Mehra / AFP / Getty

Earth will have almost 10 billion people by 2050, according to the United Nations, and yet another billion by the turn of the century, creating a substrate of tension under climate change, aging, and automation. But Vienna-based demographers say these forecasts overstate the population trend. Instead, they say, we are headed for a population plateau and decline — in short, "peak human."

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The anti-robot entrepreneur for president
Andrew Yang. Photo: Yang campaign.

A new consensus of analysts assures us that we should not worry as automation dislodges up to hundreds of millions of white and blue collar workers across the planet over the coming years, since virtually all will find new jobs. But Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur and an early candidate for president in 2020, says those new jobs are already late — a dystopian age of automation is already here.

Quick take: Yang is a long shot, but his anti-robot message — coming not from a Luddite but from the tech world itself — resonates, especially when he seems to be tattling on his pals. He tells Axios that while experts and politicians debate the potential impact of robotization, his Silicon Valley friends are already angling to figure out how to make it happen faster so they can cash in.

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14 teachers have been killed on the job since 2012
A memorial to Aaron Feis, the football coach of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who was among the 17 killed there on Feb. 14. Photo: Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post / Getty

The three high school teachers killed a week ago in Parkland, FL, made it 14 teachers and staff who have lost their lives in school shootings over the last six years, according to a count by Axios using the raw data at Everytown Research. At least 15 more have been injured.

Quick take: Nowhere on the planet have such shootings occurred with anywhere near the frequency as the U.S. While students and parents across the country are grieving with the Parkland victims and survivors, a root of the conversation since then is visceral apprehension of what could happen on any campus in the country, on any day.

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Alipay is bringing cashlessness to the U.S.
Using Alipay on the Shanghai-Hangzhou-Ningbo Expressway in Hangzhou. Photo: VCG/VCG / Getty

Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce rival to Amazon, is making its first big push into the American market with a substantial play by its affiliate, Alipay. It's built around China's two-week lunar new year celebration, which has brought thousands of Chinese tourists to the United States, most of whom prefer to spend at retailers that accept a mobile wallet.

Quick take: At home, some 520 million Chinese retail shoppers use Alipay. But last year they also took 135 million journeys abroad, including to Europe and the U.S. Given their payment preferences, shopping has been a stumbling block. But now, Alipay has payment agreements with some 170,000 North America retail locations, reports Fung Global Retail Tech's Deborah Weinswig.

Ben Geman Feb 21
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Poll: Americans don't want self-driving cars

More than half of U.S. adults are uncomfortable with self-driving vehicle technology and would be unlikely to use it on a daily basis (though younger Americans are more positive).

Data: Northeastern University/Gallup survey conducted Sept. 15-Oct. 10, 2017; Chart: Axios Visuals

Why it matters: Many automakers — ranging from the largest car companies to newer entrants like Waymo and Tesla — are making big bets on autonomous driving technology, which is also expected to help drive the expansion of electric vehicles. Public hesitation could hamper widespread commercial deployment of both technologies in the years and decades ahead.

Ben Geman Feb 20
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BP boosts electric car outlook but says oil isn't going away

BP has increased its long-term forecast for the rise of electric vehicles and sees a potential peak in global oil demand within two decades, but is nonetheless warning that even the more bullish scenarios they modeled will not lead to a collapse in oil consumption.

The forecast is in its just-published 2018 Energy Outlook, a big collection of scenarios for global fuels, power and emissions trends through 2040.

Reproduced from BP Energy Outlook 2018; Chart: Axios Visuals

Bottom line: The "evolving transition" scenario sees growth in global demand for liquid fuels (largely a proxy for oil) ending in around 2035. More aggressive scenarios, including one that models global ban on sales of internal combustion (ICE) vehicles starting in 2040, show a more aggressive move away from oil, as the chart above shows.