The Daily Valet. - 1/9/24, Tuesday

✔️ This Keeps Popping Up

The Daily Valet.
The Daily Valet.

Tuesday, January 9th Edition

Cory Ohlendorf

By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor

Are you ready to hear about AI gadgets for the rest of the year?

Today’s Big Story

AI Keeps Popping Up

From cars and phones to even your pens, machines are learning all over the place

We knew this was coming. But we might not have guessed where. If the past two years proved that generative artificial intelligence and large language models aren't going anywhere, 2024 will be the year they get embedded into products you may actually want to buy.To see the proof, start by looking to Las Vegas this week. At CES—one of the largest technology trade shows in the world—companies like Intel and Qualcomm are racing to make mainstream PCs designed to excel at AI features, powered by distinct “neural processing units” in their computers. Microsoft (whose Windows software will run on those machines) recently mandated that new Windows PCs must include a dedicated AI button on their keyboards, for easier access to the Copilot AI baked into Windows 11.Smartphones, which have for years used machine learning to improve our photos and make phone calls sound better, continue to lean into AI hype. Samsung, for instance, plans to launch new devices “powered by AI” right after CES.Never has such radical new technology gone from experimental prototype to consumer product so fast and at such scale. Even at this early stage, the list of AI-powered products slated for a 2024 debut include voice-activated pins, robots of all kinds, health and accessibility tools, and even electric bikes. Soon, it will get integrated into cars—Volkswagen just announced that ChatGPT's AI features will be included into new versions of its onboard voice assistant. And there's even a pen that's equipped with cameras, motion sensors and machine learning to digitize handwriting into searchable, retrievable notes.It certainly brings up all sorts of interest and one thing is clear: It ain't going anywhere and this is just the beginning. Fast Company reports that the McKinsey Global Institute believes that even the simplest applications of AI (such as customer service automation), “will be more valuable to the global economy this decade than the steam engine was in the late 1800s.” But MIT Technology Review says something else is clear: We haven't even begun to make sense of it all, let alone reckon with its impact. “Is the shine coming off? Maybe. With each release, the astonishing becomes more mundane. But 2023's legacy is clear: billions have now looked AI in the face. Now we need to figure out exactly what's looking back. ”


There will be more AI assistants than people in this world. Forecasts indicate that there will be 8.4 billion AI-powered digital voice assistant units in the world by late 2024, which surpasses the total global population.

Sec. of State Antony Blinken Arrives in Israel

With each strike, fears grow that Israel, the U.S. and Iran’s allies are inching closer to all-out war

Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, flew into Israel late Monday night for potentially difficult meetings with Israeli leaders and officials who have repeatedly proved resistant to pressure from Washington over their conduct of the war against Hamas. He said key Arab states and Turkey had agreed to begin planning for the reconstruction and governance of Gaza once the war ended.In the last week alone, an Israeli airstrike has killed a Hezbollah commander in Lebanon, Hezbollah struck a sensitive Israeli base with rockets and Israel killed a senior Hamas militant with an airstrike in Beirut. Each strike and counterstrike increases the risk of the catastrophic war in Gaza spilling across the region. According to the Associated Press, in the “decades-old standoff pitting the U.S. and Israel against Iran and allied militant groups, there are fears that any party could trigger a wider war if only to avoid appearing weak.” A U.S. airstrike killed an Iran-backed militia leader in Baghdad last week, and the U.S. Navy recently traded fire with Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in the Red Sea.Blinken will be reiterating this week that it is “clearly not in the interest” of any countries in the region for the war in Gaza to expand. He told CNN that the U.S. is also working on a diplomatic solution that would allow Lebanese people to return to their homes in southern Lebanon. He is also planning to press Israeli officials on “the absolute imperative to do more to protect civilians” in Gaza and the need for more humanitarian aid to enter the war-torn strip.


Protesters calling for a ceasefire in Gaza interrupted President Biden's speech on Monday in South Carolina.

Beware of Phantom Debt

Over the holidays, the use of “buy now, pay later” loans hit an all-time high ... but that might be a problem

Those popular “buy now, pay later” loans helped to fuel a record-setting holiday shopping season—up more than 14% year over year, according to Adobe's latest online shopping data. But now, economists worry they could also be masking and exacerbating cracks in Americans' financial well-being.It's actually now one of the fastest-growing categories in consumer finance, according to a separate report by Wells Fargo. And it's leading to what's being called “phantom debt”. Since buy now, pay later loans are not currently reported to major credit reporting agencies, it makes it hard for a lender to know how many loans a consumer has outstanding, reports CNBC. That could represent a hidden source of risk to the financial system.Especially considering how popular they are with younger shoppers. And it's not hard to see why. With credit card interest rates well north of 20%, a BNPL loan affords consumers access to capital without much increased costs. As long as they pay. Managing several, all with different payment dates and amounts can also be a challenge. According to the New York Times, around 2.4% percent of Affirm's loans were delinquent by 30 days or longer, down from 2.7% a year earlier. And Klarna says its global default rates are currently less than one percent. So it's not bad, but enough people are worried to make you wonder what's floating out there.


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has opened an inquiry into buy now, pay later lenders.

Apple’s Vision Pro to Launch in February

After previewing the VR headset in June 2023, Apple’s ‘spatial computer’ is finally scheduled to go on sale next Month

The wait is (almost) over. Apple announced Monday it will start shipping its Vision Pro headset on February 2nd in the United States. Pre-orders begin next Friday, January 19th at 8 am ET. In addition to announcing the availability of its buzzed-about headset, the company also revealed the pricing for the Zeiss prescription lenses that users can get with it. Readers will be available for an extra $99, while prescription lenses will cost $149.According to Gizmodo, “if you have several thousand dollars burning an Apple-shaped hole in your pocket,” Vision Pro starts at $3,500 with 256GB of storage. It also comes with two options for bands, the “Solo Knit Band” and “Dual Loop Band,” as well as two different seals for your eyes. They said that might be an attempt to fix early testers' initial issues with overall comfort.CNET reports that the news arrived out of the blue—likely timed to overshadow the rest of the tech industry news out of CES this week—although Apple was expected to release the Vision Pro very early in 2024. Apple has outlined Vision Pro-optimized experiences like spatial videos and photos, 3D movies, mixed reality versions of FaceTime and an immersive experience called Encounter Dinosaurs. Not much else has been announced, beyond promised support for all iOS apps, as well as Mac-connected functions. Hopefully we'll know more closer to launch... which is now not far away. 


Ready to get a jumpstart on the pre-order or just want to look at it a little more? Here's the official page.

In Other News

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin

Questions are swirling around the secrecy of Lloyd Austin’s medical situation.

Have you heard about ...

Fruit Stripe gum
31 Days

Are You Constantly Late?

Here’s the gentleman’s guide to being on time


Being known among friends and coworkers as the guy who’s always late isn't exactly the reputation one should strive for. It makes you look, at best, absent-minded and, at worst, just plain rude. Running late is an irritating kind of stress for everyone involved. It forces you (the late one) to panic and demands grace from those people waiting on you—no one is buying those lies about being “almost there” when you're still 15 minutes away. Or worse, haven't even actually left your place yet.Let's be honest: It's a bad look. Being “the late one” can trash your rep as a responsible, competent leader or employee and make you seem like an uncaring friend or partner. Experts say that people who are perpetually running late genuinely have higher stress levels. They tend to have trouble keeping jobs and the tardiness harms their personal relationships. Ellen DeGeneres had a bit in one of her stand-up specials: “People who are constantly late always have the worst excuses. 'Oh, I'm sorry I'm late ... traffic.'” Then came the punchline: “Traffic, huh? How do you think I got here ... helicoptered in?” Being on time is a sign of respect. It shows that you value the other person's time enough to plan ahead to ensure you arrive when you say you will.



What We’re Buying

A rechargeable lamp

Blomus Ani 3-in-1 rechargeable LED lamp

This versatile 3-and-1 rechargeable lamp from Blomus can rest on its base, sit on your desk as a light source, or hang from the ceiling over your dining table.

Get It:

Ani 3-in-1 rechargeable LED lamp, $150 / $120 by Blomus

Morning Motto

Make this your year.

If you want 2024 to be your year, don't sit on the couch and wait for it.


Share today’s motto: