Manufacturing the robot uprising

December 6th, 2023

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Tune in tomorrow. Don’t get us wrong, we still want you to read today’s edition, but we have a cool announcement happening tomorrow that you won’t want to miss. We’ve been working hard in the lab and have something fun to share. The catch? You just have to wait one more day. We know you probably can’t wait that long, but it will be so worth it…

In other news… tomorrow will be awesome, lives are changing tomorrow, and “tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya tomorrow.”

Top Trends

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Reddit → Hugh Grant

TikTok → “Black Friday”

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Courtesy of Agility Robotics

A humanoid robot factory is opening in Oregon

The Future. Agility Robotics announced that it’s opening the “the world’s first purpose-built humanoid robot factory” in Salem, Oregon, to mass-produce its Digit robot. Amazon is already beginning to integrate the robots into its warehouse operations, so the looming robot worker human replacement debate is no longer in the realm of science fiction. Robot supervisors might just become the hot new career path in middle management.

Building the workforce
Agility is on a quest to pump out a lot of its Digit robots over the coming years at its RoboFab facility.

  • The factory, which opens sometime early next year, plans to build 10,000 Digits annually — although the first couple of years will likely only produce “in the hundreds,” according to CEO Damion Shelton.

  • The robots are built specifically for warehouse work, with the 5’9’, 140-pound bipedal robot able to haul, lift, and move any number of heavy items.

  • Companies that are part of Agility’s Partner Program (like Amazon) will get their first shipments in 2024, while everyone else will start receiving orders in 2025.

The factory represents a huge expansion of Agility’s capabilities. Since 2016, the firm has only built about 100 Digits, and Amazon is still testing the robot. You could say that the whole endeavor is still in beta… but that hasn’t stopped orders from coming in. So, Agility feels like it needs to scale fast to meet demand.

And with competition coming from both buzzy American-founded brands (Tesla and Boston Dynamics) and rival firms in China (Xiaomi), the robot race is very much on.

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Chill beats // Illustration by Kait Cunniff with Midjourney

Spotify drops a playlist of advertising insights

The Future. While Spotify Wrapped gave users insights into how they listen, the company also gave advertisers insights into how people overall listen. Just because Spotify Wrapped has… well… wrapped up, doesn’t mean that these trends are over. So, expect an end-of-the-year ad push to jump on movements like emotion-based listening, the popularity of comedy content, and everyone’s prioritization of wellness.


  • People listened through their emotions — Gen Zers are 1,338% more likely to stream “heartbreak” playlists, while millennials are 357% more likely to listen to music that projected positivity.

  • Gen Z discovered older music — young listeners were 145% more likely to listen to people who haven’t released new music in over 18 months (okay, not that old).

  • Latin music and Afrobeats were the two fastest-growing genres on the platform, especially with Gen Zers and millennials.


  • Comedy was the most popular genre — 26% of total podcast streaming hours.

  • Video podcasts are on the rise, increasing 48% over the past year.

  • Podcast ads are the fastest-growing ad product on the platform, growing 40% this year.

And across music and podcasts, “wellness” content — meditation, mindfulness, relaxation, etc. — grew a whopping 492% over the past year. 

Conclusion: people are turning to Spotify to de-stress.

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Your holiday survival guide

The holidays are coming… need we say more? It’s the time when routine stress can morph into borderline panic.

While we splurge on gifts and sweat over our credit card bills, we manage to suck the joy out of the season.

Experience Life knows this, so they created a digital guide to help you thrive this holiday season. In this digital-only collection, they’re offering dozens of strategies and insights for navigating this busy time of year with less stress, more patience, and, yes, you guessed it… joy!

Here’s what you’ll find:

  • The low-stress cocktail party

  • How to stop dreading family gatherings

  • Nine DIY gift ideas

  • Your December fitness plan


Courtesy of Butson Lab

Brain implants help patients clear the fog

The Future. A new study has found that by setting off tiny electric pulses in the brain, people suffering from traumatic brain injuries can regain some focus, attention, and mood stability. That’s a big deal for the over five million Americans who are permanently disabled due to head trauma.… and may lead to technology becoming a prescribable therapy.

Head cases
As it turns out, you can shock the human brain into working better.

  • Researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York found that each hemisphere of the brain has a structure called a “central lateral nucleus” that, when stimulated, can help boost cognitive function.

  • To test the theory, the researchers implanted small electrodes into the brains of five people with traumatic brain injuries resulting from car crashes or falls — accidents that “break some of the long-distance connections in the network” beyond full repair.

  • The results: their scores on cognitive tests jumped between 15% and 52%, with patients reporting that they felt much more like their normal selves again.

One of the patients, Gina Arata, had to drop out of law school and was unable to hold down a job in the 18 years since a car crash “left her with fatigue, memory problems, and uncontrollable emotions,” per NYT. Now, “I can be a normal human being and have a conversation. It’s kind of amazing how I’ve seen myself improve.”

Sometimes, technology can be a miracle.

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Techy protecty

Did you know that just by opening this email, your phone did a bunch of techy stuff? That’s how this whole thing works. You open the email, and your device sends out tons of DNS queries to your internet provider’s DNS thingy. From there, the DNS sends back a bunch of IP addresses, so it can download content. All of this is usually completely harmless.

But not all DNS queries are chill. Some are super annoying and even harmful to your device (think malware) or your mind (think ads). Right now, these queries come and go as they please, but what if you could protect your device (and yourself)?

That’s where Control D comes in. It can protect your personal device (or a whole network) by blocking DNS queries that load content you don’t want. It works for larger business networks, too.


We ask the hard-hitting questions.

What’s your favorite fashion resale retailer?

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51.8% of you voted Slow demise in yesterday’s poll: What do you see in Twitter / X’s future?

“Beginning of the end!”

“It was already on track for a slow demise. Elon is accelerating it.”

“At this point, it should just crash and burn, which is upsetting, ‘cause I used to like the app, but I think it’ll be a slow burn.”

“It has passed the point of no return.”


The best curated daily stories from around the web

Media, Music, & Entertainment

In partnership with Rocaberti Writers

  • After debuting on Disney+ during the pandemic, Pixar’s Soul, Turning Red, and Luca will be released in theaters next year between January and March. Read More → variety

  • Kevin Hart will host a Manningcast-style alternative broadcast of the NBA’s new in-season tournament on ESPN 2 starting December 9th. Read More → deadline

  • Apple has crowned Julia Louis Dreyfus’ interview-focused Wiser Than Me as its podcast of the year after hitting #5 on its top new podcast chart and spending 29 days on its overall chart. Read More → thr

From our partners: Are you an aspiring screenwriter looking for the opportunity of a lifetime? Look no further than Rocaberti Writers. With their full scholarship to a French castle retreat, which includes Academy Award winners as mentors, you’ll have access to top industry professionals, who can help shape your writing career. And here’s the best part — it’s completely FREE to enter. The deadline is midnight on Sunday, December 10th.

Fashion & E-Commerce

  • Angelina Jolie’s Atelier Jolie fashion brand is opening a brick-and-mortar store in NYC. Read More → bof

  • Ralph Lauren has kicked off its “Artist In Residence” program with textile artist Naiomi Glasses, who specializes in traditional Navajo motifs. Read More → hypebeast

  • Uber wants to help you pick up those last-minute gifts with a new “Store Pickup” feature. Read More → theverge

Tech, Web3, & AI

  • Calm is releasing a bedtime story read by the AI-generated voice of legendary actor Jimmy Stewart. Read More → variety

  • Meta, IBM, and Oracle are some of the 50 founding members of the AI Alliance, a coalition pushing for the advancement of open-source AI systems. Read More → wsj

  • Regent Craft is reviving the idea of the “seaglider” — a plane/boat hybrid that goes 180mph just above the surface of the water. Read More → bloomberg

Creator Economy

  • ByteDance is working on a chatbot-building tool that’ll compete with OpenAI’s recently announced feature. Read More → fastcompany

  • VidCon tickets are now on sale for the 2024 edition taking place at the Anaheim Convention Center next June. Read More → tubefilter

  • YouTuber Trevor Daniel Jacob is getting six months in federal prison for intentionally crashing his plane for online engagement. Read More → theverge

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Today’s email was written by David Vendrell.
Edited by Boye Fajinmi. Copy edited by Kait Cunniff.
Published by Darline Salazar.

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