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Kaveh and Erica are steering Future as Steve finishes up a week in Davos. Watch your inboxes tomorrow for a special deep dive dispatch from Davos. Get it by signing up for Axios AM.
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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
U.S. politics is veering toward a potential transformation in which both major parties are competing to capture a single constituency — millions of Americans, from schoolteachers to steelworkers, who have fallen on hard times.
Steve reports from Davos: In 2016, President Trump won on a political hunch — that a swath of the U.S. left behind by the forces of globalization was a winning base.
The party that successfully wins over this constituency in 2020, crossing gender, race, ethnicity and age, could hold power for a generation.
If this course sounds familiar, it's because Democrats have sought to own the space since FDR. For most of the intervening decades, they have.
But, after Brexit and Trump's election, the context has now changed — Republicans see that Trump's case has remained tight but relatively small: white Americans concentrated in down-on-their-luck industries of decades-old boom economies will not command a presidential majority.
From the right and center, Republicans are already road-testing what a non-Trump workers platform could look like:
Mehlman, the lobbyist, draws comparisons to the Progressive Era, the 19th and the first decades of the 20th century, when a backlash against the Gilded Age produced a vast expansion of high schools, the direct election of senators, and the women's vote.
Elton John in 1974. Photo: SSPL/Getty Images
Every year, it becomes less and less likely that a human being composed the upbeat jingle you just heard in the background of a video.
Kaveh writes: Simple online tools have turned music generation into a matter of a dozen clicks, and can crank out pleasant if somewhat boring background music in a few seconds.
These algorithmically generated ditties end up in product videos, news clips and occasionally even on musicians' albums.
The big picture: Computer-composed music has been around for few years, mostly in novelty form. But there are increasing signs that music companies are taking it seriously.
Amper's CEO, Drew Silverstein, wouldn't tell me what exactly QQ plans to do with the software, but he offered a few hints. "How do we have the best type of music situated for our day based on what we want to do?" he asked. "Amper can create individualized music on a global scale."
How it works: Earlier this week, I watched as Zachary Shuster, an Amper product manager, created a video soundtrack with Amper's tool.
Our take: The end result won't win a Grammy, but it got the job done. A casual listener wouldn't know it wasn't composed or performed by people.
Mojave Desert. Photo: Bill Eppridge/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty
Great Wall. Photo: Getty
16,625 papers about AI (Karen Hao — MIT Tech Review)
The invasive species threat from Belt and Road (Andrew Freedman — Axios)
What happens when you try to sue your boss (Max Abelson — Bloomberg)
The dark age of surveillance capitalism (Shoshana Zuboff — FT)
Huawei, beleaguered in the West (The Economist)
Delivery bots on the move. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images
There's a new way to eat lunch on George Mason University's campus: get pizza from the dining hall delivered by a robot.
Erica writes: Starship Technologies has brought a fleet of 25 little white delivery bots to campus — and they're a hit, reports the Washington Post's Peter Holley.
The big picture: College students are increasingly choosing to hail food through UberEats or DoorDash instead of making the trek to the dining hall. Using delivery bots is one way to keep business on campus.