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Situational awareness: Sears is suing Eddie Lampert, its former CEO, and his hedge fund for allegedly siphoning off its assets, reports WSJ. Last year, we reported on accusations that Lampert cannibalized Sears.
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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Amid a torrid geopolitical, commercial and scientific race around artificial intelligence, universities are adding professors, classes and entire new programs, but there is still a massive talent shortage, forcing companies to contemplate creative ways around it.
Steve and Kaveh report: The frenzy at American and Canadian universities reflects the changing technology cycle, in which AI is expected to become perhaps the defining factor in economic and geopolitical power in the decades ahead.
The big picture: Students are pouring into computer science programs from coast to coast in the U.S. and Canada, university professors tell us. But the AI students among them still number at most in the low thousands in all at the moment, while companies say they are prepared to hire tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of AI experts.
Carnegie Mellon University is among those diving most heavily into AI: In September, CMU will begin teaching what appears to be the first undergraduate AI program in the U.S., with 37 students aiming for a bachelor's degree.
In addition, as we previously reported, CMU is inaugurating the country's first graduate program in "automated science," creating specialists in the automation of biology. The first class of 13 students arrives at the campus this summer.
Mitchell said companies are astonished by how few graduates are coming — and how long it will take before they get out of school. "The companies don't need someone with a four-year degree. They don't have four years to wait."
Among the contemplated solutions:
What's next: CMU, AI4ALL and others are developing AI curricula for high schools.
The U.S. and China, front runners in the race to lead the world in AI, are playing with different strengths: China has vast amounts of data and money at its disposal, but the U.S. has a significant leg up in talent.
Kaveh writes: Crucially, the American talent pool is made up mostly of international researchers and students, according to a new analysis from Joy Dantong Ma of the Paulson Institute.
More than half of the best-of-the-best AI researchers in the U.S. are originally from other countries, Ma writes.
By the numbers:
Continuing to import top AI researchers from around the globe is critical to maintaining the U.S. competitive edge, Ma tells Axios.
"A sweeping change in policy ... risks immediate loss of foreign talent and sends some of them right back to China. … In the longer term, it sends the signal to emerging and aspiring scientists that America is not open for business."— Joy Datong Ma, Paulson Institute
Photo: Sebastian Gollnow/picture alliance/Getty
The spread of gig work is making the U.S. employment picture look better than it is, according to a new paper from the Dallas Federal Reserve.
Axios' Dion Rabouin writes: The U.S. jobless rate, currently at 3.8%, would be higher if gig economy workers were counted as unemployed or underemployed, as they should be, according to the Dallas Fed's John V. Duca.
The big picture: Economists have long argued about what role the gig economy has played in persistently low U.S. wages. The answer, according to Duca, is quite a big one.
Details: "Essentially, firms are able to hire contract or self-employed workers, who are not on their payrolls and not counted among the unemployed when not on the job. As a result, the headline measure of unemployment may understate labor slack," per the report.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
The relentless drop of battery prices (Nathaniel Bullard — Bloomberg)
The low-wage benefit for U.S. companies is over (Courtenay Brown — Axios)
Central American farmers flee climate change (Kirk Semple — NYT)
The world of high-price used sneakers (Video: Natalia Osipova et al. — WSJ)
Plumbing the "soul" of a city (Scott Lucas — CityLab)
Image: Douwe Osinga
Here's a snapshot of what the world looks like at 7:15pm ET.
Erica writes: Australians and Japanese are just getting into work, and Americans are drinking beer — or at least tweeting about drinking beer.
A new side project by Sidewalk Labs software engineer Douwe Osinga scrapes all the world's tweets and separates out emojis. With that data, Osinga has created a moving map that shows which emojis are used where, and at what time.