Project update + 2 significant news stories

Rich-poor divide in Covid recovery; 'Zombie' car plants spread in China

Feel free to skip to the news below if you’re not interested in project updates.

There’s been a problem I’ve been trying to solve for a while: many interesting and significant stories don’t appear in the newsletter, because ChatGPT gives them a rating below the threshold (6.8 currently).

I’ve adjusted the scoring algorithm many times and I think it’s mostly good now — articles with a rating 7 will almost always be more significant than the ones with a rating 6.

But on a lower scale I don’t always agree with the scores. Sometimes an article rated 6.8 seems less significant than an article rated 6.6.

This is not a big problem on the website, where the threshold can be easily adjusted, but the newsletter is static — there is no significance slider. So an article can either be included or excluded based on a slight 0.1 rating difference.

But I think I’ve found a solution — let’s try using two thresholds:

  • A high threshold (6.8+) will continue to be used to show articles with summaries, as usual.

  • A lower threshold (6.5+) will only include highly covered stories, where 3 or more news sites have articles about the same event.

The new lower threshold will help cover the ChatGPT’s judgement gaps without changing the project’s underlying principle: it’s an indifferent AI that rates the stories, not humans with agenda.

Let me know what you think — I added a poll after the news.

Today ChatGPT read 1199 top news stories. After removing previously covered events, there are 2 articles with a significance score over 6.8.

[6.9] Pandemic left much of the world on lower human development trajectory — The Washington Post [$]

Four years after COVID-19, all rich countries have recovered according to the U.N. Human Development Index (HDI), but half of the poorest nations are still below their 2019 levels. The global HDI has risen again, but the growth gap between rich and poor countries is widening. The U.N. warns of permanent human development losses without policy changes.

[6.8] Zombie car factories on the rise in China as buyers opt for EVs — Financial Times [$]

Hyundai sold its Chongqing factory in China for less than a quarter of its $1.15bn investment due to a shift to electric vehicles and oversupply. China's production of internal combustion engine cars dropped by 37% from its 2017 peak. Hyundai's China sales with Kia fell from 1.8mn in 2016 to 310,000 in 2023. Analysts predict many "zombie factories" as up to half of the industry's capacity goes unused.

(New) Highly covered news with significance over 6.5:

[6.6] House passes bill to force TikTok sale from Chinese owner or ban the app
(The New York Times + 22)

[6.6] Apple retreats in fight to defend App Store in Europe
(The Hindu + 8)

[6.7] World’s first major act to regulate AI passed by European lawmakers
(CNBC + 3)

What do you think about adding the "highly covered news" section to the newsletter?

(you can add a message after the vote)

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Thanks for reading and see you soon,