🌎 Microsoft opens up AI toolkit

Plus: What taxing the ultra rich in India could do
🌎 Microsoft opens up AI toolkit

Good morning, Quartz readers!


Here’s what you need to know

Microsoft is expanding access to OpenAI tools. DALL-E 2, ChatGPT, and other AI-powered software will soon become available to Azure OpenAI customers.

China recorded zero growth in the fourth quarter of 2022. Overall GDP growth was below expectations, as the first recorded fall in population growth in more than 50 years adds to the country’s economic woes.

Activist investor Ryan Cohen built a stake in Alibaba. The US billionaire of meme stocks fame turned his sight to the Chinese e-commerce giant, pushing for a larger, faster, share buyback.

Electric vehicles marked a global sales milestone. EVs accounted for 10% of new cars sold globally in 2022, with the market segment recording particularly strong growth in Europe and China.

Top US banks financed new fossil fuel projects despite their climate goals. Members of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero such as Citibank and Bank of America have invested billions of dollars in carbon-intensive energy projects.

Netflix doubled down on K-content. Buoyed by the success of shows such as Squid Games and Extraordinary Attorney Woo, the streaming platform is adding 34 new and returning South Korean titles to its 2023 rota.

Latin America was the deadliest region for journalists in 2022. The vast majority of the 86 media workers killed last year died in countries where there is no active conflict.


What to watch for

Twitter’s office fire sale is about to begin. More than 600 items, including furniture, kitchen equipment, and various three-dimensional representations of its iconic blue bird logo, are up for grabs at an auction starting today (Jan. 17) at 7pm Pacific standard time.

Some of the items originally retailed for thousands of dollars, but now display starting bids of either $25 or $50. It’s a potential steal for any startup or eatery looking for an upgrade, with offerings including rotisserie ovens that can roast 24 whole chickens at a time, vegetable dryers with a 20-gallon capacity, and industry-grade coffee machines. There’s also more traditional tech company equipment, including dozens of smart TVs, three iMacs, and five phone booths.

The low starting bids suggest Twitter is looking for a spring cleaning more than fundraising. But the list of items under the gavel also seems like a requiem for its bygone, buzzy startup era—going, going, gone.


What taxing the ultra rich in India could do

Globally, taxing the richest people 5% could lift billions of people out of poverty, but what would that actually look like in practice? In an India-specific report, Oxfam used one problem—a lack of funding for education—to exemplify how taxation could completely change the system.

The total number of billionaires in India increased from 102 in 2020 to 166 billionaires in 2022, with the richest 1% owning 40% of wealth in the country. Taxing the top 100 of those billionaires at 2.5% would ensure education for all children. The inequality gets even starker when just the top 10 billionaires are considered:

150 million: Kids in India who can’t afford schooling

5%: Rate at which India’s 10 top billionaires would need to be taxed to send all of those kids to school

2%: Rate at which just one billionaire, Gautam Adani, would need to be taxed to ensure India’s school teachers get paid


Davos dispatch: Who’s there, and not there

At least 634 CEOs are meeting in Davos this year for the World Economic Forum, making up nearly one in four attendees. Big names include:

🛢️ Wael Sawan (Shell)

🛒 Andy Jassy (Amazon)

🏦 Jane Fraser (Citigroup)

💉 Stéphane Bancel (Moderna)

But there are some noticeable absences, including George Soros, who won’t deliver his dark (and frequently, but not always, correct) geopolitical analysis to the press. Also not there: Elon Musk, whose recent words about WEF didn’t indulge the conspiracy theories preferred by some of his followers, but were also… not very kind.

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Surprising discoveries

Tissue damage from heart attacks may have a cure. Protein injections can help recover muscle elasticity.

More women are running Fortune 500 companies than ever. They now lead more than 10% of firms for the first time.

Human brains develop just like squid brains. And that’s despite a 500 million-year-old split in evolutionary history.

Lasers can redirect lightning. The technology could be used to protect sites like rocket launchpads.

Rat DNA was used to track down historical trade routes. It may prove that New Zealand illegally traded seal pelts with China in the 19th century.


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