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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Last month, we reported on the silent run-up to the age of artificial intelligence, whose green shoots grow without fanfare only to flower a decade or two in the future.

But, but, but: As we reported yesterday, these quiet, behind-the-scenes developments are transforming modern work now.

"We don’t call them AI because they’re already here," says Berkeley’s Ken Goldberg, a robotics expert who directs the university's People and Robots Initiative.

  • If one dimension of the far-off AI future is autonomous vehicles, we’re living in its first stage, the age of smart cruise control: tools that use basic machine learning to take on just part of a job.
  • This is also the world of smart speakers and navigation apps like Waze that use human input — everyday technologies that ease specific tasks, but can’t really do anything on their own.

In business and consumer tech, this early wave of AI helpers is already ubiquitous.

  • Among the everyday systems driven by AI and human input: spam filtering, machine translation, search, and book and movie recommendations.
  • Salesforce uses machine learning to identify promising leads based on the outcome of previous interactions, a spokesperson says. It can also predict the likelihood of losing a customer based on signals about how they use a company’s services.
  • Sprint uses Adobe’s AI platform to dig through troves of customer data and find potentially receptive groups of people to target with marketing, an Adobe spokesperson tells Axios.
  • Even T.G.I. Friday’s has automated basic tasks ranging from staff scheduling to ingredient ordering and waste management, as we reported last week.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Focus group: Former Trump voters say he should never hold office again

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

"Relief" is the top emotion some swing voters who used to support Donald Trump say they felt as they watched President Biden's swearing-in, followed by "hope."

Why it matters: For voters on the bubble between parties, this moment is less about excitement for Biden or liberal politics than exhaustion and disgust with Trump and a craving for national healing. Most said Trump should be prohibited from ever holding office again.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.