This week should be nice and quiet.
Not really, but wasn't that a great thought to hold for a second? Anyway, on with the week!
Today's Login is 1,323 words (a 5-minute read).
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
As the 2020 election inches closer, Republicans continue to enjoy the digital edge they seized in 2016, Axios' Sara Fischer and I report.
Why it matters: Online ad spending offers President Trump an efficient way to target sympathetic voters with fundraising pitches and barrage them with inflammatory messages on issues ranging from immigration to impeachment.
The big picture: This conflict, as we've been reporting, is unfolding on platforms that have given politicians a nearly unlimited free pass to tell lies.
Driving the news:
By the numbers: Trump's campaign was massively outspending Democrats online earlier this year, as Sara reported in March. But many Democrats have recently opened the floodgates, too.
Between the lines: What differentiates the parties is less dollar totals than tactics.
Yes, but: Democrats have the advantage in small-dollar online donations.
Our thought bubble: It's hard to envision any candidate winning the 2020 race without a top-notch strategy for digital and social media.
What's next: CEO Mark Zuckerberg will talk about Facebook's role in the 2016 and 2020 elections on an interview with NBC News' Lester Holt this evening.
One of the things I've always liked about the Pixel line is that, for an iPhone user, it's always the easiest of the major Android offerings to adapt to.
That continues with the latest model, the Pixel 4. I've only had my review unit for a couple days, but as with past models, there's virtually no learning curve.
What's to like:
The fine print: The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL go on sale Thursday, with the larger model starting at $899. Unlike with past launches, the Pixel 4 family will be available from all the major carriers.
The bottom line: One of the best Android phones just got better. At least at first blush, the Pixel 4 seems to be a solid choice for mainstream customers who want a powerful, easy-to-use Android phone.
Huawei's Germany headquarters. Photo: Rolf Vennenbernd/picture alliance via Getty Images
Chinese telecom giant Huawei has reportedly held early-stage discussions in recent weeks with unnamed U.S. telecoms companies on "licensing its 5G network technology to them," a Huawei executive told Reuters.
Why it matters: The U.S. and China are locked in a race to get 5G networks up and running to connect devices and machines at lightning speed, Orion Rummler reports.
U.S. critics have accused Huawei of assisting Chinese espionage, benefiting from the theft of trade secrets and violating trade sanctions. Historically, the U.S. has preferred European equipment-makers Ericsson and Nokia as suppliers of 5G technology.
AI systems intended to help people make tough choices — like prescribing the right drug or setting the length of a prison sentence — can instead end up effectively making those choices for them, thanks to human faith in machines.
And as Axios' Kaveh Waddell reports, humans are not only outsourcing the responsibility for these hard calls, but also placing too much stock in their algorithmic decisions.
How it works: These programs generally offer new information or a few options meant to help a human decision-maker choose more wisely. But an overworked or overly trusting person can fall into a rubber-stamping role, unquestioningly following algorithmic advice.
Why it matters: Over-reliance on potentially faulty AI can harm the people whose lives are shaped by critical decisions about employment, health care, legal proceedings and more.
The big picture: This phenomenon is called automation bias. Early studies focused on autopilot for airplanes — but as automation technology becomes more complex, the problem could get much worse with more dangerous consequences.
Where it stands: Automation bias caused by simpler technologies has already been blamed for real-world disasters.
Kaveh's full report is here, and worth a read.
It's a very busy conference week.