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NYU, 1945. Photo: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone/Getty
As powerful as artificial intelligence can be, its abilities are extremely narrow: An AI that beats a chess grandmaster can't recognize a face or drive a car. And a robot that carries out flawless eye surgery can't do so unless positioned precisely first.
What's happening: U.S. colleges, preparing students for future jobs that might not yet even exist — and to beat the robots — are starting to nudge them out of the familiar rhythm of class and teach them how to tackle unfamiliar problems. "That is the skill of the future," says David Hollander, a professor at NYU.
The big picture: One of the greatest anxieties experienced by today's college and high school students is how to game a very different future whose shape is still all-but imperceptible, but that will involve lots of automation across blue- and white-collar jobs.
Hollander designed and oversees a seminar at NYU that is meant to make this pivoting skill much more advanced. In the "Real World," as he calls the class, Hollander invites companies and government agencies into the classroom to confront students with problems they definitely will never have seen.
Erica visited the class on Monday. Fifteen students gathered along with their professor — Jonathan Yi, a film director whom Hollander recruited to teach this semester — at the headquarters of FCB International, a fancy PR firm.
Their challenge? To design an anti-vaping ad campaign for the Food & Drug Administration, targeted at teens. The FDA is one of the firm's clients.
Leon Zhang, a graduate marketing student, suggested an ad showing how much money teens spend on Juul and Juul pods. But Shell said it wouldn't work because the FDA wants to avoid publicizing that teens are buying these products illegally.
Zhang and his teammates then honed in on ewaste, the electronic trash generated by vaping. Tossing used Juul pods is not the same as littering cigarette butts, they told Erica. The former has metal bits that could seriously harm a dog that eats it while on a walk. But the team is not yet sure if they'll settle on that.
Go deeper: Rebooting high school
Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty
The Trump administration is targeting U.S. and Chinese e-commerce sites — Amazon, Alibaba, eBay and others — in an effort to curb an outbreak of counterfeit brand-name products.
What's happening: In a presidential memorandum today, President Trump ordered government agencies to report back by November on how to counteract an estimated half-trillion-dollar-a-year business.
Counterfeiting of the biggest brand names is a major global business. Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce platform, has had a particular problem with counterfeit goods on its Tmall site. The White House estimated that about $100 billion in counterfeiting infringes on American intellectual property.
In a statement, an Alibaba spokesperson said: “We welcome this new initiative and the attention it brings to the global fight against counterfeiting. Alibaba has developed best-in-class systems to protect IP and battle the scourge of counterfeiting. This work takes place through substantial collaboration with brands, law enforcement, trade associations and consumers, both on our platforms and offline at the criminal sources of production and distribution. We look forward to further advancing the working relationship and cooperation that we have with the US federal agencies mentioned in today's order, as well as with our global commerce peers.”
An Amazon spokesperson said: “Amazon strictly prohibits the sale of counterfeit products, and we welcome additional coordinated support from law enforcement so we can hold bad actors accountable. Amazon invests heavily in proactive measures to prevent counterfeit goods from ever reaching our stores. In 2018 alone, we spent over $400 million fighting counterfeits, fraud, and other forms of abuse. We have built industry-leading tools like Brand Registry, Transparency, and our newly-launched Project Zero to protect our customers and help rights owners drive counterfeits to zero. With these and other tools, we ensure that over 99% of the products that customers view on Amazon never receive a complaint about counterfeits."
Ebay said: "Counterfeits are not welcome on eBay, and we’re committed to combatting their sale. Using a combination of technology, enforcement and strong relationships, eBay has consistently been an industry leader in working to stop the online sale of counterfeit goods, which is a global issue — both online and offline. We look forward to enhanced collaboration among NGOs, law enforcement and online marketplaces to stop this illegal trade."
Go deeper: Amazon's problem with fake goods
Fashion icon Oscar de La Renta considers a portfolio. Photo: Owen Franken/Corbis/Getty
In a survey by Blind, an anonymous social networking platform for professionals, 10% of people said they've lied about their qualifications on a resume, on LinkedIn or during a job interview.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
An algorave at SXSW. Photo: JEALEX/Getty
"The old patterns are dead."
The message was blasted onscreen at a recent San Francisco dance party, where the DJ wasn't spinning vinyl, but instead tapping laptop keys, reports Michael Calore for Wired.