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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Economists expect the government tomorrow to report yet another surge in new jobs and pay — the 118th straight month of employment growth, and terrific news after decades of flat wages.
What's happening: In a new report, the Aspen Institute nudges policymakers away from any notion that the American economy will naturally adjust as robots are introduced at an accelerated pace over the coming two and three decades. Already workers displaced in prior technological cycles "have experienced profound downward mobility" in new jobs at much lower pay and benefits, Aspen's Alastair Fitzpayne tells Axios.
The big picture: The report departs from a flood of largely glossy major studies issued by nonprofit and corporate think tanks over the last couple of years, nearly all of which have forecast that the current technological disruption will follow the historical script. That is, it will produce as many and probably more jobs than it destroys.
"The individuals impacted by automation in manufacturing over the last 40 years — they did not get the exact same job at the same pay," Fitzpayne says. "They experienced profound difficulty finding a new job. If they found one, they took lower pay and lower benefits."
Mark Hamrick, senior economist at Bankrate, notes the political paralysis in Washington. Historically speaking, some of the government's most aggressive social and economic actions occurred during one of its darkest moments — the Great Depression.
But given the tight, 3.8% jobless rate, some companies are already introducing training programs, says Adam Roston, CEO of BlueCrew, a staffing platform for workers. "It's in their best interest to grow and retain the best workers," he said.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
At the start of the first chapter of a thick new academic tome about lithium-ion batteries, where information about the author would usually go, five words hint that something's different: "This book was machine-generated."
Kaveh writes: The following 232 pages are a dry, technical read. But it's entirely intelligible — valuable, even, for a scientist trying to catch up to the vanguard of battery research.
Why it matters: AI is helping to speed up science, unlock impossible problems and dig researchers out from under information overload. Automatic summarization is a big remaining challenge that, if solved, would accelerate discovery by focusing researchers on the most pressing problems in their fields.
What's happening: The book, which summarizes peer-reviewed research papers about lithium-ion batteries, is the first machine-written volume from Springer Nature — but the publishing giant says more are on the way.
Details: The machine-generated summary is made up of intelligible sentences, but it's anything but a pleasant read. It's pocked with citations — a result of the computer's inability to understand themes and concepts — and many sections are a paragraph long, built around just one research paper.
How it works: The "prototype" volume was written by an algorithm that the publisher created with researchers from Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany.
But, but, but: By using only research published by Springer Nature, the book is missing out on the vast body of peer-reviewed work published elsewhere — like the prestigious Science journal, for example.
Single in the city. Photo: Getty
The share of young men, age 18–30, in the U.S. who say they did not have sex in the past year jumped from 10% in 2008 to 28% in 2018.
Erica writes: Among young women, the share increased from 10% to 18%, reports the Washington Post.
Go deeper: Americans are divided by who finds love
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Chess — a pawn in Kremlin politics (Sam Jones — FT)
Extreme debt is the new, new thing (Dion Rabouin — Axios)
Amazon backs off special treatment for its own products (Eugene Kim — CNBC)
A transformation in esports training (Madis Kabash — Quartz) (video)
Japan's workers still won't take time off (Hillary Leung — Time)
Kashgar. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty
For Uighurs who have not been detained in Chinese internment camps, life in Xinjiang, the northwest corner of the country, is no less closely monitored and controlled.
Kaveh writes: An interactive video from the NYT reveals the constant, omnipresent surveillance that the Chinese Muslim minority endures.
A single street bristled with some 20 cameras, and Uighurs are assigned to spy on one another.
Surveillance in Xinjiang is "like a sledgehammer — sweeping, indiscriminate; as much about intimidation as monitoring," write Chris Buckley, Paul Mozur and Austin Ramzy.