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🦆 Foie gras, sans guilt

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Happy hibernation to Fat Bear Week 2022 winner Candidate 747! The public votes annually on which bear in Alaska’s Katmai National Park has bulked up the most from summer to fall.

In today’s email:

  • TikTok vs. Big Tech: Who’s copying who?
  • Chart: Artists vs. AI art
  • Foie gras… from a lab?
  • Around the Web: The whitest paint, 12 weird McDonald’s, AI decor, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear Jacob and Juliet break down TikTok turning the tables on Big Tech, Apple hitting the gas on ads, AI Joe Rogan, and Tom Cruise in space.

The big idea
tik-tok-gif

Zachary Crockett

Everyone wants to be TikTok, and TikTok wants to be everyone

Over the past couple years, “more like TikTok” has become a business strategy for tech companies, large and small.

Many are “TikTokifying” themselves, scrambling to embed carbon copies of the app’s defining features in their platforms.

As they forge ahead, TikTok itself is flipping the trend on its head, laying the groundwork for features rivaling those of Google, Amazon, Spotify, and more.

Who is TikTok facing up against?

Everyone, basically.

  • Instagram made Reels, and YouTube launched Shorts, so Meta and Google are fair game.
  • Since 2021, Spotify has been trialing a TikTok-esque discovery feature.
  • Amazon, too, is testing a TikTok-like shopping feed, and recently expanded its livestream shopping efforts.

So where is TikTok looking to grow?

For now, TikTok is particularly well positioned to move into:

  • Search: Google literally said it themselves — young people use TikTok to find places to eat, not Google, and TikTok is already deepening its search functionality.
  • Music: 63% of TikTok users discover new music on TikTok before any other platform, and TikTok is now in talks with labels about rapidly expanding its music platform Resso globally.
  • Commerce: Earlier this week, Axios reported that TikTok is launching product fulfillment centers, putting Amazon in its sights.

As The Washington Post’s Gen Z tech correspondent Jules Terpak eloquently put it: “TikTok is a beast.”

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TRENDING
eyeball wearing a hat

Scary stuff: Listen to AI Joe Rogan interview AI Steve Jobs in this entirely AI-generated podcast. You can also vote on future eps, like a convo between Buddha and Einstein.

SNIPPETS

A jury decided Alex Jones and “Inforwars” should pay $965m to families and an FBI agent affected by his repeated on-air claims that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax.

Microsoft launched Designer, a Canva alternative, and Teams Premium, with features like meeting recaps and live translations.

Apple is reportedly preparing a push into TV advertising in which it would monetize Apple TV+ content with ads.

Subway, fresh off of a tuna controversy, reported record sales, up 8.4% in Q3 at stores that have been open for over a year.

Beef: A judge decided that an Arkansas law banning plant-based meat from using words like “burger” or “hot dog” is unconstitutional.

Shein vowed to cut supply chain emissions by 25% by 2030. Last year, the fast-fashion giant produced 6.3m tons of CO2 emissions.

The Statue of Liberty’s crown reopened for the first time since the pandemic began. Tickets promptly sold out.

To the moon: Japanese space company ispace will launch two rovers to the moon next month. Meanwhile, SpaceX may help Tom Cruise spacewalk outside the ISS for a movie.

Marmalade sales are up ~20% since Queen Elizabeth II’s death due to mourners leaving sandwiches as tributes.

Artist Damien Hirst burned 1k paintings for his NFT collection, “The Currency.” He claims each one’s value transfers to the NFT after it’s burned

Startup growth: Private investors can superboost your business. Learn about angels, venture capitalists, and more on The Hustle blog.

Chart
fantasy-art-chart

Singdhi Sokpo

AI can’t get enough of this fantasy artist

Polish illustrator Greg Rutkowski’s work has appeared in games like “Horizon Forbidden West” and “Dungeons & Dragons.”

He’s also a popular prompt for AI image generator Stable Diffusion, per MIT Technology Review.

His name has been used as a prompt 93k+ times, per Lexica, a website that tracks prompts. To put this in context, we searched for “cat” — the internet’s favorite creature — and only got 16.8k images back.

The problem

AI generators train on existing images without permission or attribution, leading Getty Images to ban AI-generated imagery on its platform in fear of future copyright issues.

For artists, they’re a risk to their livelihoods.

Rutkowski doesn’t appreciate the deluge of images now falsely credited to him on the internet, telling Yahoo Finance he worries AI art could dilute human creativity and threaten art education.

This isn’t the only recent AI art controversy

  • A graphic novelist who used Midjourney to illustrate her story secured the first copyright for an AI-generated work. The issue? The main character looks like “Euphoria” actress Zendaya.
  • The winner of an art competition used AI to make his prize-winning piece, spurring debate over whether that’s fair.

And we expect more AI controversies to come.

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Trends

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Duck, Duck, Goose
ducks

Foie gras, hold the guilt

French food startup Gourmey is getting in on the cruelty-free meat game with cultivated (AKA lab-made) foie gras.

The faux foie just raised a $48m series A round — the largest for a cultivated meat company — to reimagine the highly controversial food, per Forbes.

Foie gras…

… which means “fat liver” in French, is the liver of a duck or goose, and is considered a culinary delicacy. But it’s made through a particularly cruel process, and was once banned in California.

  • To farm foie gras, animals are force-fed corn using a 4.5k-year-old process known as gavage to enlarge their livers, making them smoother and less bitter.

For obvious reasons, animal rights activists are not too keen on it (nor are the ducks).

Enter Gourmey…

… which uses animal stem cells to grow cultivated meat in a lab. The process eliminates the need to farm animals and produces nearly identical results.

If saving the ducks doesn’t do it for you, foie gras has a high carbon footprint relative to other foods. Plus, a looming shortage in France is threatening supply.

Stay tuned, because the cultivated food revolution is just getting started. Your sushi roll could be next.

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AROUND THE WEB

📣 On this day: In 1908, suffragette Margaret Travers Symons became the first woman to speak in Britain’s House of Commons after escaping her escort and running into the main chamber.

☀️ That’s interesting: This ultra-white paint is so white, it can reflect up to 97.9% of sunlight, which could help cool planes.

🍔 That’s cool: Atlas Obscura rounded up 12 unique McDonald’s locations, including one with teal arches and another that looks like a UFO.

🪑 Cure boredom: Upload a pic of a room, then let AI decorate it.

🐼 Aww: And now, panda wrangling.

Meme
tiktok-meme

“That’s not how this is supposed to work.” (Source: Imgflip)

How did you like today’s email?
Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst, Sara Cravatts.
Editing by: Mark “Everyone wants to be me” Dent.

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