Good morning, Quartz readers!
Today we’re excited to present our most ambitious special project to date, Machines with Brains. An outgrowth of our obsession with artificial intelligence, robots, drones, self-driving cars, and chatbots, this project delves more deeply into what it means to be human in a world that is increasingly powered by these technologies. The result is 13 longform, interactive stories, with original photography, illustration, and video. Check them all out here, and sign up for our announcement email list to make sure you don’t miss future launches.
What to watch for today
Japan renews TPP talks, without the US. The 11 remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an Obama-era trade initiative rejected by US president Donald Trump earlier this year, will meet for three days in Japan to continue negotiations. Japanese officials have high hopes for the talks after reaching a trade agreement with the EU last week.
Janet Yellen testifies before Congress. During her two-day semiannual testimony, the Federal Reserve chairwoman is expected to confirm interest-rate hikes and discuss a timeline for shrinking the Fed’s balance sheet. Global equity markets dipped ahead of Yellen’s speech, as investors readied for a tighter US monetary policy.
The EU meets with Ukraine. A pact signed ahead of today’s summit in Kiev will bolster trade ties and firm up relations between the EU and Ukraine. Ukraine has historically been loyal to Russia, a relationship that was tainted by the Kremlin’s invasion of Crimea three years ago.
While you were sleeping
Donald Trump’s son released emails about his Russia meeting. An email exchange between Donald Trump Jr. and publicist Rob Goldstone, which the former published on Twitter, reveal that Trump Jr. agreed to meet during the campaign with a Kremlin-connected lawyer who claimed to have incriminating evidence about Hillary Clinton. The elder Trump applauded his son’s transparency, but the senate plans to call on Trump Jr. to testify.
Brazil’s senate approved the first big overhaul to labor rules in seven decades. Amid the nation’s worst-ever recession, the bill eliminates mandatory union dues and modernizes labor laws, including some that date back to the 1940s. The bill’s passage is a victory for president Michel Temer, who faces corruption charges.
China sent troops to its first overseas military base. Ships carrying personnel are heading to Djibouti, a tiny but strategically located country in the Horn of Africa, near some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. Djibouti also hosts bases for the US, Japan, and France.
Takata recalled another 2.7 million airbags in the US. The embattled airbag company initiated a callback for inflators that use calcium sulfate as a desiccant. Takata filed for bankruptcy in June after a global recall of 68 million airbags linked to 11 deaths.
Apple set up its first data center in China. It made the move to comply with cybersecurity laws introduced by authorities last month. The rules require firms to pass security reviews and store all data within China. The center is in the southwestern province of Guizhou, where Apple said it plans to invest $1 billion.
Quartz obsession interlude
Mike Murphy on the app that wants to replicate you: “Right now, Replika is just a fun way for people to see how they sound in messages to others, synthesizing the thousands of messages you’ve sent into a distillate of your tone. But its creator sees a whole bunch of possible uses for it: a digital twin to serve as a companion for the lonely, a living memorial of the dead, created for those left behind, or even, one day, a version of ourselves that can carry out all the mundane tasks that we humans have to do, but never want to.” Read more here.
Cryptocurrencies: / Canary in the coal mine? / Or future Dodo?
Matters of debate
Passive investing is bad for growth. Index- and exchange-traded funds are making companies and economies less competitive.
The internet of things makes Toy Story more real. Adding “smart devices” to our homes will lead to conflicts between them.
The best way to read a book is very slowly. By keeping a book in one location, you form a relationship between the book, yourself, and the room where you read it.
Frogs may have been the first animals to develop kneecaps. Researchers discovered evidence that amphibians had kneecap-like tissue masses as far back as 400 million years ago.
No one in Hong Kong wants a Tesla. Reductions in tax breaks for electric-vehicle owners mean a Tesla now has little or no price advantage over a Mercedes-Benz.
Saturn’s moon Titan could support a human colony. A new study suggests that Titan has enough energy reserves for 300 million people.
Job recruiters know where you are right now. “Geofencing” uses GPS technology to let companies advertise jobs to potential applicants in a specific region.
Calculating home-run distances is like measuring sea level. To determine the true distance of a homer, you have to use math to get the stadium out of the way.
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