5 Things to Know Today: January 25, 2017
Liz Biscevic—5 Things to Know Today
In case you missed it, George Orwell's 1984 made best-seller status during Trump's first week in office, Starbucks’ new board of directors will be one of the most diverse in U.S. business, and Stanford scientists are trying to make robots less socially awkward.
1. NY Times: Starbucks’ board of directors will be one of America’s most diverse.
Starbucks just announced it will be adding three new members, and hopes to be “among the nation’s most diverse corporate boards.” The new additions include the president and CEO of Sam’s Club Rosalind Brewer, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and Danish executive chairman of Lego, Jørgen Vig. The new 14-member corporate board will be 29 percent female and 36 percent minority.
2. Mic: The Dow Jones Industrial Index just hit 20,000 points, and the world is freaking out.
The Dow’s been teasing this milestone for a while, but that’s not stopping people obsessing over the new number. The Dow rose to 19,000 points in November, making this the second-fastest 1,000-point jump in history. As a result, some people are worried that stocks are getting too expensive, and warn that what goes up must come down. Others argue that the market’s increase is due to newfound enthusiasm over Trump’s recent policies—like tax breaks for businesses—that ignores risks, like the possibility of a trade war.
3. Quartz: Scientists at Stanford are teaching a robot how not to be awkward.
Apparently, robots are pretty awkward: they lack the social intelligence to predict pedestrian’s moves on the street, and assume they have the right of way in every circumstance. Stanford scientists are looking to correct this with a new prototype called Jackrabbot—a 3 foot-tall robot that can travel up to 5 miles per hour (sometimes wearing a hat and tie). Their work could contribute to robots' ability to respond to local customs and social norms, so that, as Quartz's Corinne Purtill says, at least when robots steal your job they'll be nice about it.
Since the inauguration, sales of Orwell's dystopian novel increased nearly 10,000 percent. Sunday saw the biggest jump in the book's orders on Amazon, just after a particularly Orwellian moment when White House counselor Kellyanne Conway challenged Meet the Press' Chuck Todd over the Trump administration's "alternative facts."
Joking that it would be called ‘The Boring Company,’ Musk tweeted that he plans to start the digging in a month or so. Musk also tweeted that the tunnel would start from his desk at SpaceX and end at LAX. Is this a dubious dad joke or an earnest attempt to fix L.A.'s notorious traffic jams? Only time will tell.