WELCOME BACK TO ANOTHER AI DEEPFAKE
Welcome back to a new edition of The Weekender… where AI never ceases to scare, and the debt ceiling hangs above us all. Here are the top stories you need to know going into Memorial Day weekend.
- 2,506: The number of miles a heart travelled between Alaska and Boston, breaking a transplant record.
- $8: The amount Netflix plans to charge customers who share accounts.
- $27: The amount it costs retailers to process $100 worth of returns.
- $100,000: The amount Marjorie Taylor Greene spent on a tube of chapstick worn by Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Come One, Come All.
This week – to no one’s surprise – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott threw their hats in the 2024 GOP presidential primary ring. Both enter a packed lineup of candidates and will need successful strategies to rise above the pack. Senator Scott’s charisma and American Dream story could appeal to a broad swath of the GOP, but polls indicate he has significant ground to make up. Governor DeSantis, on the other hand, is former President Trump’s closest opponent pulling 21% of early poll favorability – a respectable number at this stage in most cycles, but less than half of what Trump is consistently polling. Senator Scott’s campaign plans to focus on optimism – a move he hopes will contrast the sparring that Trump and DeSantis are expected to deploy. It’s a gambit for Scott, who has no substantial name recognition outside of politico circles. But he does have money. Senator Scott has already booked $5.5 million in advertising in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire.Read More at Newsweek
Who is Janet Yellen?
The first female Treasury Secretary. The first female chair of the Federal Reserve. Janet Yellen is an economic powerhouse with a profound impact on the U.S. economy. But how did she get here? In 1996, Yellen convinced Fed Chairman Alan Green, a conservative free-market purist, to forego his goal of 0% inflation and argued that slight inflation is crucial to preventing recessions. The following year, she left the Fed to serve as President Clinton’s primary economic advisor, overseeing a study that proved the gender pay gap disparity was due to workplace discrimination rather than productivity. Today, Yellen leads the Treasury and ensures the American government pays its bills. As Biden and Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy slowly approach a debt ceiling deal, one of the most prolific economic minds stands at the ready: Janet Yellen.
Read More at CNN
Feeling a Reeling over the Debt Ceiling?
What happens when the Biden Administration and House Republicans resolve the budget ceiling dispute? If you’ve wondered this, you’re not alone. Banks and lenders nationwide are watching settlements and negotiations with bated breath. An agreement to raise the debt ceiling will give the U.S. Treasury a greenlight to raise cash (issue debt) to pay its bills, but the multi-month deficit adds fuel to the fears about banks’ funding. Small businesses need to prepare for all outcomes. If a deal is not found, mom-and-pop shops should expect a recession, starkly low access to credit, and profound cash flow disruptions if they rely on government contracts. A new Goldman Sachs survey of 10,000 small businesses concluded that 90% of business owners believe it’s important for the government to avoid defaulting on its debt.
Read More at The Wall Street Journal
Adolescence in the Age of the Internet
This week, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy warned widespread social media use among children and teens is a significant mental health risk. With 95% of people between 13 and 17 logging onto social media, the impacts reverberate across the generation. Murthy’s report outlines that adolescent social media use results in “heightened emotional sensitivity,” leading to lower life satisfaction. One study cited 13.5% of teenage girls saying Instagram made thoughts of suicide worse. Despite the severe negative impacts, positive ones include youths feeling more accepted, connected, and creative. As the federal government deliberates solutions for teen social media use, parents should pay closer attention to how much time their children spend on their phones.
Liar, Liar, AI’s on Fire
Every week, stories surface about the impending doom created by rapidly evolving Artificial Intelligence (AI). Most recently, a false report regarding an explosion at the Pentagon swirled across Twitterverse. The AI-generated image showed a plume of black smoke near a building with Twitter accounts claiming it to be the Pentagon. The Department of Defense’s Pentagon Force Protection Agency released a statement saying there was no explosion. Still, it wasn’t enough to prevent the image from causing a dip in the stock market. This news comes as cloned, deepfake voices utilizing AI are being used in criminal scam schemes because they are almost impossible to detect. We have known for a while not to believe everything on the internet, but broad adoption of AI will challenge even the smartest, in-the-know individuals to discern fact from fiction.
Read More at NPR
Alaska: Changing Opinions on a Changing Climate
Governor Mike Dunleavy (R-AK) signed a legislative measure allowing Alaska to cash in on the carbon credit marketplace. How? He’s enabling companies looking to offset carbon emissions to tap into carbon storage. Some are calling this the best of both worlds: creating avenues for sequestering carbon while continuing permits for oil drilling, mining, and timber harvesting activities. Opponents question if the law aims to reduce emissions or generate new revenue streams within the state. But could it be both? A recent survey showed sixty percent of Alaskans support taking action on climate change. The Last Frontier currently has no carbon emission reduction target yet is warming faster than any other state.
Read More at The Associated Press
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
What do a female Arab stem cell researcher, an owner of a sports car racing team, and a Saudi Arabian fighter pilot have in common? They all just arrived at the International Space Station. Houston-based Axiom Space arranged for the private citizens to spend ten days in orbit around the Earth. While Axiom will not disclose how much each ticket costs, their previous price tag cited $55 million each, with roughly $4,000 per day in food and gear. This week, Rayyanah Barnawi became the first Arab woman to exit the Earth’s atmosphere, and Ali al-Qarni, a fighter pilot with the Royal Saudi Air Force, was the first from his country to enter space since 1985. The flight was led by Commander Peggy Whitson, who holds the U.S. record for most accumulated time in space at 665 days and counting.
Read More at NBC News
See you next week!