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Today's Login is 1,394 words, a 5-minute read.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
As some states take steps to partially re-open their economies, public health officials and local governments are trying to aggressively ramp up contact tracing to track the spread of COVID-19 in their communities, Axios' Kim Hart and Margaret Harding McGill report.
Why it matters: Identifying who has come in contact with people infected with the disease is critical to isolating the coronavirus while also allowing some semblance of daily life to resume.
Between the lines: State and city budgets are being hammered by the economic fallout of COVID-19, making it harder to find the resources to hire and train people to contact trace or acquire needed technologies.
State and county public health officials are ramping up tracing efforts now that testing availability is improving — since tracing only works with widespread testing.
What's happening: Other countries are relying on tech to varying degrees to augment contact tracing.
In the U.S., a joint effort from Google and Apple will most likely form the basis of any widespread, tech-enabled contact tracing.
The success of the effort will depend on widespread adoption of the technology so people will be notified when they come in contact with someone who tests positive.
What to watch: Zissman said MIT researchers will reverse-engineer the Google/Apple programs to ensure they are following the privacy protocols, and also expect pilot testing in limited settings like hospitals or universities before states begin implementing.
The bottom line: "There's a lot of doubts," said Josh Michaud, associate director for Global Health Policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation. "One, that people's privacy concerns can be addressed sufficiently, and two, that enough people would download the app to make it helpful and actually provide the service it's supposed to provide."
With a host of fresh earnings reports this week, it appears many of tech's big publicly-traded companies fared reasonably well through the earliest days of the pandemic, but the rest of the year remains a question mark.
What's next: Apple and Amazon are both scheduled to report earnings today.
A sample of Aesthetic's automation-infused design work. Image: Aesthetic
For his latest startup, entrepreneur and Pinterest veteran John Milinovich is betting automation can help even the highly human task of creative design.
Driving the news: Milinovich's new company, Aesthetic, aims to automate normally costly steps in building out companies' brand identities. It will announce today it has landed $3.1 million in seed funding to test out the premise, led by A.Capital with strategic investment from Y Combinator.
How it works: Humans would still be needed to come up the core brand elements. But Aesthetic, Milinovich said in an interview, would then tap AI to take those basic pieces and turn them into documents and web templates.
Yes, but: Other startups have tried and failed to automate skilled white-collar work.
The other side: Milinovich said that his company is trying to take things more slowly and not run up costs too soon. And he acknowledges the challenges: "Anytime you use the word automation in the same sentence as creativity and design, you are met with a lot of skepticism."
Photo: Marconi Society
Andrea Goldsmith, an innovator in the improvement of wireless networks, has won this year's Marconi Prize, one of the highest honors in the telecom industry.
Why it matters: Goldsmith, who has helped WiFi and cellular networks adapt to changing conditions, is the first woman to get the award in its 45-year history.
Driving the news: A co-founder of mesh networking startup Plume, Goldsmith has 29 patents and wrote the book when it comes to her field. Her textbook, "Wireless Communications," is used in engineering schools around the world.
Goldsmith plans to donate the $100,000 prize money back to the Marconi Society to launch an endowment that will fund technology and diversity initiatives.
For those who really miss the office experience, you can always try this.