🚗 Robotaxis hit a speed bump - The Hustle
The Hustle

🚗 Robotaxis hit a speed bump

Plus: Jock taxes, driverless mayhem, ants that can smell illness, a sudden sequel, and more.

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Oops: A 6-year-old Michigan boy used his dad’s phone to order $1k in food from Grubhub, including a $183 order of jumbo shrimp.

In today’s email:

  • Artifact: Instagram’s co-founders have a new thing.
  • Chart: The “jock tax,” explained.
  • San Francisco’s robotaxi drama.
  • Around the web: Ants that smell illness, a retro museum, a chill fox, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear Zack and Juliet discuss the Instagram co-founders’ new news app, UFO sightings, Boeing’s last 747, and more.

The big idea

Do we need another newsreader?

The co-founders of Instagram are back with Artifact, an AI-powered newsreader.
2023-02-01T00:00:00Z
Juliet Bennett Ryla

I don’t know about you, but my news feed is constantly serving me “articles” trying to get me to buy 29 things that would make my apartment cozier.

But what if news feeds recommended stuff that actually interested us? Well, that’s what Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger have been working on.

It’s called Artifact, and a waitlist is available now.

It may seem like an odd choice…

… to focus on written articles in a pivot-to-video world, especially when other recommendation apps, like Flipboard, already exist.

But Systrom told Platformer’s Casey Newton that they were inspired by:

  • Advances in AI, like Google’s Transformer, which helps computers better understand language and context. (ChatGPT is built on transformer architecture.)
  • TikTok, which shows users content based on an algorithm, not who they follow.

How will Artifact stand out?

In theory, it’ll offer only high-quality content that gets better-tailored to users as Artifact learns about them:

  • Big and smaller publications — and both right- and left-leaning outlets — are included, but they have to be reputable. Misinformation will be removed.
  • Recommendations are based on how much time is spent on an article, not how many clicks or comments it garners.
  • Forthcoming social components will let users see articles people they follow have shared, and both discuss them publicly and via DMs.

If Artifact can weed out clickbait bullshit while eschewing the toxicity of other social platforms, it might have a shot.

Additionally, an AI newsreader that’s good with context might understand that someone who’s interested in a particular TV show doesn’t want gossip blogs about its stars (*side-eyes Google News*).

TRENDING

Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey, the horror movie inspired by the character’s public domain debut, hits theaters this month, but already has a sequel planned. “More blood. More honey,” creators tweeted.

SNIPPETS

Ecommerce sales soared to a record $1T+ in 2022, per Comscore’s State of Digital Commerce report. The figure excludes travel sales.

ChatGPT creator OpenAI dropped a free tool that determines whether a piece of text was AI-generated.

Boeing’s last ever 747 jumbo jet was delivered yesterday to Atlas Air as a cargo freighter. Since 1967, 1.57k+ of the planes have been built.

Warner Bros. Discovery will home content it booted off its platforms, including “Westworld,” on Tubi and Roku. Viewers can watch for free, with ads.

General Motors posted $2B in Q4 net profit, up 15% YoY. The automaker is also putting $650m toward a Nevada lithium-mining project.

7-Eleven and Serve Robotics are testing their delivery bots in West Hollywood, California. They can carry four pizzas at once.

Colossal Biosciences wants to “de-extinct” the dodo and return it to Mauritius. Read our previous coverage on Colossal’s woolly mammoth plans here.

Oh Snap: The social media giant saw its stock slide after reporting minimal Q4 revenue growth despite strong user growth.

Congrats: Former astronauts Doug Hurley and Robert Behnken received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor yesterday for their bravery in piloting SpaceX’s first crewed mission in 2020.

Johnson & Johnson tried to block additional lawsuits from people who claim its baby powder made them sick, citing bankruptcy, but a federal appeals court rejected the move.

Startup Enigma Labs is launching an app for reporting UFO sightings. AI will check for photo manipulation and assign reports a credibility score.

FROM THE BLOG

One of the most important business metrics to founders and investors is revenue. But how is it actually determined? We broke down two types of revenue figures and how to calculate them.

Chart
Zachary Crockett

Why athletes (and some remote workers) owe a ‘jock tax’

2023-02-01T00:00:00Z

If you file your taxes through TurboTax or a similar online service, you’ve likely seen a certain question during your annual return: “Did you perform work in more than one state?

Given that this is the 21st century, there’s a decent chance you did. You might have responded to several emails from your boss during a long weekend in Denver or spent a day on Zoom before skiing in the Poconos.

But a state’s department of revenue is unlikely to notice that you visited, or that you completed any work.

Unless you’re a professional athlete

Their burden is known as the jock tax. Professional athletes owe a portion of their salary to most states and cities they visit — even for a single day.

Unlike, say, nurse practitioners or graphic designers, jurisdictions know exactly when athletes are in town. They know how much they make. And they know how to go after them.

For years, the jock tax has flown under the radar, known mostly to hardcore sports fans and accountants. Nobody, after all, really cares if millionaires have to file complicated tax returns.

But the jock tax matters.

Hardly anyone truly benefits from the tax, and one day in the future, even if you’re not an athlete, you may have to pay it.

Read the full story. →
Free Resource

101 questions to qualify, close, and negotiate

We’ll assume you’ve done the prep work: getting a foot in the door.

Now, it’s time to reel ‘em in -— and your line of questioning counts buckets. Here are 101 vetted sales questions to help you finesse the most comfortable fit.

Discovery questions to ask your prospects cover:

  • BANT (budget, authority, need, timeline)
  • Personal details and industry experience
  • Closing, upselling, circling back, and more

Add a handful of these to the master list (since you have one of those).

101 qualifying questions →
Red Light Green Light
Images via Cruise and Waymo

San Francisco has some thoughts on its robotaxi takeover

It still seems to support one; it just wants it to be done incrementally.
2023-02-01T00:00:00Z
Jacob Cohen

A robotaxi takeover of the Golden City — while seemingly imminent — may take a while longer to roll out.

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) recently wrote two letters to the California Public Utilities Commission voicing concerns over the rapid expansion of Waymo and Cruise in the city.

The Alphabet and GM autonomous vehicle subsidiaries are currently allowed to offer driverless rides in the city. Cruise is permitted to charge for these rides between 10pm and 6am, and Waymo is awaiting similar approval.

Why the concern?

Consider these examples, gathered by The Verge:

  • Last July, driverless Cruise cars blocked traffic for hours. In September, it happened again. Earlier this month, firefighters had to break into one to prevent it from taking out an active hose.
  • In January, a driverless Waymo vehicle got stuck at a busy intersection. The traffic did not look fun.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also currently investigating Cruise over traffic blocking and rear-ending concerns.

For what it’s worth, the city seems generally supportive of the technology. “A series of limited deployments with incremental expansions — rather than unlimited authorizations — offer the best path toward public confidence in driving automation and industry success in San Francisco and beyond,” SFCTA wrote.

AROUND THE WEB

📺 On this day: In 2013, Netflix began streaming its first original series, an American remake of British political drama “House of Cards.”

🎧 Podcast: Will AI be the death of creativity? Rob Lennon joins Kipp and Kieran on Marketing Against the Grain to dive down the AI rabbit hole.

🐜 That’s interesting: Ants have a great sense of smell thanks to their antennae. A new study suggests they could also be trained to sniff out cancer.

💾 Cure boredom: Take a stroll through the Museum of RetroTechnology.

🦊 Aww: And now, a very relaxed fox.

TWEET

Lol. (Link)

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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “Four pizzas” Dent.

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