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Tesla shares continue to rise, reversing earlier declines


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Good morning,

Robots may not be human, but they still need brains, and a startup is taking a new approach to building them.

Skild AI has raised $300 million to build a “general brain” that can be plugged into various robots, such as bipedal humanoids that handle basic factory tasks or four-legged military “robot dogs” intended for urban combat. The funding round values ​​the company at $1.5 billion, with backers such as Lightspeed Ventures, SoftBank, Coatue and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

One factor that impressed investors: Robots using Skild AI’s models showed new abilities they didn’t learn, such as rotating or grasping an object. “A GPT-3 moment is coming to the robotics world,” said a Sequoia Capital partner and Skild AI investor Forbes.

Let’s get into the headlines,

FIRST OUT

The FTC released a critical report detailing how pharmacy operators — such as CVS Health’s Caremark, Cigna’s Express Scripts and UnitedHealth’s Group OptumRx — could be drive up the costs of certain medications and benefit their own pharmacies. Pharmacy benefit managers are responsible for negotiating the terms of access to prescription drugs for hundreds of millions of Americans, but the FTC says the market has become highly concentrated, giving them significant power over access and pricing.

Tesla shares rose as much as 4.8% on Tuesday, hitting their highest level since late December. The stock rose by about 33% in July alone, despite a 20% decline in the first six months of 2024. Last month’s vote to reinstate a historic pay package for billionaire CEO Elon Musk and last week’s upbeat announcement on second-quarter shipments are helping fuel the rally.

BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Shares of longtime Silicon Valley giant Intel rose to their highest level in months on Tuesday, despite years of underperformance as investors had favored Intel’s rivals amid the artificial intelligence bonanza. An analyst predicted on Monday that the stock could be in line for a “seasonal uptick” as part of a broader “recovery” for some underperforming AI stocks with lower expectations.

Boeing delivered more commercial planes last month than at any other time this year, although it still trails European rival Airbus. Production has slowed as the airline faces scrutiny over safety incidents like the metal door plug that flew off an Alaska Airlines 737 Max plane in January.

PREPAINTING + ENTREPRENEURSHIP

The billionaire Sackler family that controlled Purdue Pharma is facing new lawsuits after The Supreme Court voided the OxyContin maker’s multibillion-dollar bankruptcy settlement. The Supreme Court struck down a provision in the deal that would have allowed the Sacklers to pay $6 billion to avoid further civil lawsuits, now a creditors’ committee said if a new settlement is not reached, “the only avenue left is litigation.”

TECHNOLOGY + INNOVATION

The Justice Department identified hundreds of AI-enhanced Russian bots posing as Americans and spreading false claims in support of the Kremlin’s line against Ukraine on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Russia intended to use this bot farm to spread AI-generated foreign disinformation.” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in the statement.

Microsoft has left its seat on OpenAI’s board and Apple will no longer take a corresponding role, according to news reports on Wednesday, a unexpected move as the tech titans battle for AI supremacy amid increasing scrutiny from regulators over their AI investments. While Big Tech thrived under minimal antitrust scrutiny for a decade, Silicon Valley’s giants have found their enormous influence and size under pressure from global competition regulators in recent years.

MONEY + POLITICS

The annual NATO summit kicked off Tuesday, and all eyes will be on how President Joe Biden can handle dinners, meetings, public events and a rare press conference scheduled for Thursday that will give him a chance to bounce back from a damaging debate performance late last year. month. Biden has said the week of packed events will allow voters and lawmakers to judge his suitability for the job of president for another four years. Biden opened the summit with a much-anticipated speech, emphasizing NATO’s unity behind Ukraine in its war with Russia.

TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE

Complaint against domestic airlines increased by almost 29% in 2023hits a new record, a new report from a consumer advocacy group shows. Frontier Airlines had the highest number of complaints per 100,000 passengers, more than twice as many as the second-worst airline, Spirit Airlines.

DAILY TURNOVER

Why the next president could be the lowest paid in US history

TOP ROW Inflation doesn’t just hurt Joe Biden in a political sense—it affects him personally. The purchasing power of Biden’s annual salary of $400,000 is now 18% lower than it was when he took office.

If inflation continues at its current rate, the incumbent will be in office in 2028, according to Forbes’ estimates, be the lowest paid president in US history.

To fully understand how this happened, it helps to start at the end of the 18th century, when the United States had no boss at all. Recently freed from King George III, the founders created a constitution that would not put a president on a permanent throne, but would still leave him very comfortable.

Thus, George Washington entered office in 1789 with an annual salary of $25,000, which is roughly $600,000 today. It stayed at that level for nearly 100 years, a period in which deflation was almost as common as inflation, leaving the president handsomely compensated for most of that period.

William Howard Taft, inaugurated in 1909, is it highest paid president in US history. That year, Taft earned more than $2.5 million in today’s terms.

In 2001, Bill Clinton left office with legal debts, thanks in part to an impeachment battle. For his successor, however, the presidential salary doubled to $400,000, bringing it from an inflation-adjusted all-time low of $355,000 to $700,000 in today’s dollars.

No one has touched presidential pay since then, and with inflation above target in recent years, the next president’s compensation looks set to continue falling in value — potentially below Clinton’s all-time low by 2028.

WHY IT MATTERS “The American president is protected from so much – but on a fixed salary, inflation is a place where they can really feel the economy of the country under their leadership,” says Forbes general assignment reporter Kyle Khan-Mullins. “And a decline in purchasing power could, other things being equal, make the White House less attractive to politicians who aren’t already wealthy.”

MORE Joe Biden released his earnings for 2023. Here’s what it means for his net worth

FACTS + COMMENTS

Virginia is the newest state to plan a crackdown on student phone use with mental health in mind. Gov. Glenn Youngkin asked Virginia school districts to develop their own cellphone restrictions for classrooms in an executive order on Tuesday:

77%: Percentage of U.S. schools that say they are restricting cell phones outside of academic use starting in the 2021-2022 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics

2023: The year Florida passed a bill that made it the first state to ban cell phone use during class

“They should focus on their studies, not their screens,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said last month, calling for tighter restrictions on phone use in schools

STRATEGY + SUCCESS

Advice on how to succeed in your career today is full of trendy buzzwords, but recent research shows that there is a surprisingly old-fashioned trait tops the list of what employers are looking for: a strong work ethic. Companies recognize that most hard skills can be taught, but sought-after qualities like integrity, professionalism and accountability only come from consistent effort over time.

VIDEO

QUIZ

Pickleball grew in popularity in the US during the Covid-19 pandemic and has since taken the amateur sports world by storm, but the tennis-adjacent sport has actually been around since the mid-1960s. Similarly, a “new” sport that originated decades ago is also gaining momentum and is predicted to be the next pickleball, What is it?

A. Breaking (break-dancing)

B. Padel

C. Squash

D. Disc golf

Check your answer.

Across the newsroom

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Thanks for reading! This edition of Forbes Daily was edited by Sarah Whitmire and Chris Dobstaff, with writing contributions by Tavon Thomasson.

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