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Situational awareness: Richard Liu, the billionaire founder of JD.com had dinner in Minneapolis on Thursday with a woman who alleges he later raped her, WSJ's Chunying Zhang, Austen Hufford and Shan Li report. Liu denies her claim. Neither JD nor Liu's Minneapolis lawyer, Earl Gray, responded to emails seeking comment.
Let's move on to ...
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
The world is in a deceptively quiet period in which some companies and countries are aggressively developing and applying early, rudimentary models of artificial intelligence, but the impact is not visible.
The report follows up on a May study by McKinsey that described an evolving pecking order of companies that were establishing "an insurmountable advantage" over peers by pushing ahead with AI.
The main message: The era's winners will be those who are not fooled by the absence of visible change from AI over the next 5-7 years. By the time the fruits of AI investment become clear — after 2025 — it will be extremely difficult to compete with the leading players, says Jacques Bughin and Jeongmin Seong, two co-authors of the report.
The big picture: AI adoption will add $13 trillion a year to global production, the report said, and an average of 1.2% to global GDP growth per year.
Amazon and other distribution warehouses are revitalizing debilitated U.S. communities, returning thousands of jobs lost in recent decades due to the demise of the auto, steel and other industries. But a rush to automate such work makes the same towns vulnerable anew to unemployment in the future.
Axios' Erica Pandey writes: As you see in the map above, created by my colleague Harry Stevens, e-commerce has created the new factory town.
By the numbers:
Warehouses and distribution centers will add 452,000 workers by next year — and much of that growth will be closer to big cities, as companies invest more and more money in fast delivery, predicts CBRE, an investment and market research firm.
But, but, but ... as e-commerce and retail companies continue to invest in technologies to replace people in warehouses, thousands of these workers could eventually be out of work.
"Automation is here ... [and] there is absolutely a portion of this workforce that at some point over time is not going to be needed," says David Egan, global head of industrial and logistics research at CBRE.
Automated fast food in San Francisco. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty
Big Tech is already under intense scrutiny, but the companies may face worse once they, among many others, begin to be responsible for jobs lost by millions of Americans in the waves of coming automation.
What's happening now:
Among their other recommendations are to raise the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour and to strengthen labor unions.
In a statement, an Uber spokesperson tells Axios, "We engage regularly with Members of Congress on a number of issues and appreciate Rep. DeSaulnier's commitment to America's workforce."
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Facebook sets a new translation record (William Falcon — Axios)
Understanding Tencent's woes (James Kynge — FT)
Getting insured against the next big cyber attack (Shannon Vavra — Axios)
How to spread the data wealth (Evgeny Morozov — Guardian)
The Amazon effect on prices (Alberto Cavallo —Kansas City Fed)
Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto/Getty
Instagram is considering going into e-commerce, The Verge reports, which — if it does — could be the biggest new thing in U.S. online retail.
Why it matters: Instagram ads have an advantage that Amazon and other retailers don't — data on what people think is cool, Erica reports.
Instagram declined to comment on the news. But its app would let users browse and buy products from merchants they follow without leaving the platform.
The impact: I asked 50 colleagues — almost all in their 20s and 30s and living in cities — if they've ever bought something after seeing an ad on Instagram. Over half — 26 of them — said "yes."
The big picture: Social commerce is the next big e-commerce disrupter, says Axios' Sara Fischer.