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Situational awareness: JD.com's stock ended the day down 7.4% due to a Reuters report containing text messages from a woman who accuses CEO Richard Liu of raping her earlier this month in Minnesota. JD's stock has fallen about 15% since Liu's arrest on Sept. 5. He was released without charges and is back in China.
Okay, let's start with ...
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The White House and Congress are framing a national plan to fund and support quantum research, a field that could eventually deliver enormous advances in computational power and communication.
Axios' Kaveh Waddell reports: These advances, though still far off, may be enough to vault a country’s industry and military far ahead of its peers and create an economic boom, experts say. By devising a plan of attack, the U.S. can hope to stay ahead of China, which has for years invested deeply in developing the technology.
What's new: The White House this evening released an outline for a coordinated strategy to support quantum information science, just as a bill to fund new research and set a path for its implementation works its way through Congress.
Reality check: The funding pales next to China's planned national laboratory for quantum science, which has been seeded with $1 billion in funding but is expected to receive nearly $15 billion more in the next five years.
The nation's leading lights in quantum science and research were in attendance, Jim Clarke, director of quantum hardware at Intel, told Axios after the summit ended.
As the U.S. cobbles together a plan, China's progress is dialing up the urgency.
What’s next: A bill that passed the House earlier this month would lay out a 10-year plan for funding quantum research with more than $1 billion and create a new federal office to advise the president and coordinate other agencies’ activities around quantum research.
Editor's Note: The version of the Axios Future email newsletter sent out Monday contained the wrong figure for China's current expenditure on a quantum lab. The correct amount is $1 billion, not $10 billion.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Ride-hailing drivers have seen their monthly paychecks cut in half in the last four years, a sign of declining fortunes for gig workers at a time when the U.S. economy is moving away from full-time employment, according to a study released today.
What's going on: While U.S. wages are generally creeping up, ride-hailing drivers are earning an average of $783 a month, down from more than $1,500 in 2014, according to a report from the JPMorgan Chase Institute, the bank's think tank.
Why it matters: The picture of plunging driver income is a public-relations risk — in particular for Uber because of its very size — at a time when Big Tech companies are under mounting scrutiny in the U.S. and Europe. On Wednesday, Amazon, Apple, Google and Twitter are to appear before yet another Senate hearing. Like them, Uber dominates its sector, last month reporting a 51% increase in second-quarter net revenue from the same quarter a year ago.
But it also is another blow to the gig narrative, a widely pushed forecast in which, it is suggested, current and future Americans will contentedly embrace the unattached working life, taking jobs when they like and being their own boss.
Uber says that is what the service is largely for — flexible part-time income. In an email exchange with Axios, the company challenged the premise of the study, appearing to suggest that dropping income could reflect drivers working fewer hours, and not necessarily that their pay had been cut.
An Uber spokesperson said:
“The study’s findings reinforce what we and many others have said for some time: that the growth in on-demand work is driven, in large part, by people who use platforms like Uber on the side. Given the growing share of people who use platforms like Uber only occasionally, a more appropriate metric to focus on would be average hourly earnings, which have remained steady over time.”
In a report released in July, professors at The New School and Cal Berkeley found that hourly pay for full-time Uber drivers in New York City dropped by 30.4% between 2014 and 2017. Other researchers have found that Uber drivers earn an average of about $10 an hour after expenses and the company's 25% cut.
Youth march in August in Massachusetts. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty
Tomorrow is U.S. voter registration day, and among the key questions heading into the November midterms is whether young people will turn out in higher numbers than usual. Since people aged 18-30 tend to vote Democratic, whether they actually cast ballots could have a decisive impact on numerous races.
What's going on: Student leaders from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, have organized a partnership with some 200 mayors across the U.S. in an attempt to elevate youth voting.
As to whether these youths will actually get to the polls on Nov. 6, Hogg says his interactions during his tours of the country have made him "incredibly optimistic." The Parkland-led group, called March for Our Lives, is developing a "very large plan" to mobilize, but said the details are "a secret."
Illustration: Sarah Grillo, Rebecca Zisser/Axios
It's cool, but is Boston Dynamics a business? (Cade Metz — NYT)
Flying electric (Peggy Hollinger — FT)
Going 5G (Scott Rosenberg — Axios)
Fast shipping is disrupting retail (Christopher Mims — WSJ)
Odd, scary, and just plain off-putting AI names for apples (Janelle Shane)
Overdosing on the job (Jenny Gold — NYT)
Photo: Fox Photos/Getty
China is having a love affair with small — really tiny, cheap and primitive — electric cars. They cost about $1,000, run on lead-acid batteries and are able to go about 40 mph tops. Three of these cares could fit in one regular-sized parking space, writes the WSJ's Trefor Moss.
What do we mean by love affair? Such cars made up more than two-thirds of the 2.5 million electric vehicles sold in China last year.
The bottom line: According to Harvard professor Clay Christensen, powerful disruption often doesn't mean better, but instead cheaper — an often inferior product that overtakes a more expensive incumbent.
Such cars probably would not sell in such proportions in the U.S., but they could very well do so in other super-growth markets like India.