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D.C. readers: You're invited to Mind the Skills Gap this Thursday at 8 am. Join Axios' Kim Hart for a look into the role policy, business and education leaders play in offsetting the skills gap.
Okay, let's start with ...
Intel, 2000. Photo: Gilles Mingasson/Liaison/Getty
One of the most important and overlooked arenas of high-stakes tech competition is the global race among companies and nations to invent and manufacture the brains of future technologies — a rivalry for the commanding heights in advanced computer chips for artificial intelligence.
Driving the news: In a new policy paper shared first with Axios, Intel today called on the government to implement a national AI strategy that will position the U.S. to beat upstarts in China and elsewhere. Leading Chinese chipmakers include HiSilicon, Tsinghua Unigroup and Shenzhen Huiding Technology.
The background: The semiconductor industry has been flooded with new entrants in the U.S., Europe and China, each playing for a piece of a new pie that nobody's quite sized up yet. The new arena of competition: chips special-made for AI, a quickly shifting field that requires deep expertise in designing and manufacturing silicon.
Intel's recommendations include boosting federal investment in AI R&D and reskilling programs.
Their priority request: The government should unlock its vast stores of data — a move that, while raising thorny privacy questions, is meant to erase China's massive data advantage.
China's rise "hasn't happened yet in the AI market, but it will," Rao says. "I have no doubt."
Credit: Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Just 9 rich tech companies have come to dominate the development of AI. In the process they have made monumental errors, leading to privacy meltdowns and biased algorithms.
Kaveh writes: In a new book, New York University professor Amy Webb stakes out the controversial position that these companies — though they stirred up the trouble — are also the best hope to fix it.
What's going on: In "The Big Nine," Webb profiles 6 companies in the U.S. and 3 in China.
In the U.S., the G-MAFIA has driven the development of AI, putting out razzle-dazzle products every year in an attempt to appease investors and shareholders.
So why give them any more power than they already have?
In an argument against throwing the baby out, Webb tells Axios that the companies, with their top talent and vast institutional knowledge, are the best vehicle for fixing this mess — as long as they have a firm hand to guide them.
If they stay the course, the G-MAFIA are setting up themselves — and us — for catastrophic failure.
Drawing inspiration from the Bretton Woods conference that birthed a new post-war financial order, Webb suggests creating a new international body to keep the companies in check, and to preserve human rights as they develop more powerful AI.
On the way West, 1936. Photo: Bettman/Getty
The mailbox was full this morning after yesterday's lead story, "For struggling Americans, nowhere to go." Below we excerpt a couple of the letters:
"Americans aren’t moving to cities because the cost of living in cities is too high! Higher wages don’t matter if costs go up the same or more — the result is just a form of price inflation. Housing costs are the #1 driver of economic inequality in the U.S. No discussion of wage changes is complete or accurate without a discussion about costs. And no one—save for the YIMBY folks—are talking about it."
— Matt Mireles, Menlo Park, California
"One unmentioned factor is the cost of housing everywhere there are good jobs. High rents [and] high house prices make people think twice. It is one thing to live on the edge where things are familiar. It is another to be homeless a long way from home.
There used to be lots of sawmill jobs [here] in Oregon and there still are some. But most of the timber has been cut (about 90%) and all the mills are automated, which is what really resulted in job loss for the unskilled. If federal restrictions were eliminated, the entire state would be logged off in about 10 years and that would be the end of it for another 50 years, which is how long it takes to grow trees, as an average. The state has several old derelict logging towns.
We are not a rich state, but people keep coming here without a job lined up. It can be hard to get a job here without a skill. Even our agriculture in the Willamette Valley is relatively skilled, and the low skill jobs, which most people won't take, are filled by Mexican immigrants because they are hard physical labor."
— Mike Larkin, Florence, Oregon
What Amazon gives Virginia city for its $23m subsidy (Patricia Sullivan — WP)
For American teens: less sex, drugs, alcohol (Stef Kight — Axios)
The garage inventors who beat South Africa's drought (David Pilling — FT)
Chinese hacking and universities (Dustin Volz — WSJ)
Juan Maldacena's universe-in-a-bottle (Natalie Wolchover — Quanta)
Mayo's glory days, 1953. Photo: Tom Kelley/Getty
We’ve chronicled the fall of America’s favorite condiment — mayonnaise — at the hands of millennials who prefer zestier, hipper sauces.
Erica writes: But in an effort to salvage the sandwich staple, Heinz — a big mayo seller — has been dressing up the classic condiment.
Our thought bubble: Tons of young people still enjoy mayo. The only difference is they know it as the fancier "aioli." So this rebrand might just work.