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The Biden administration on Monday announced a new $3.1 billion plan to ramp up electric vehicle battery production in the U.S. The effort comes as supply constraints have hindered automakers’ ability to secure EV battery components—potentially slowing down the administration’s goal of having zero-emission cars make up 50% of automotive market share by 2030.
The grant money, which will be funded through the administration’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan, focuses on expanding the U.S.’s domestic battery manufacturing and recycling capacity. The announcement arrives at a time when energy independence and our reliance on fossil fuels is at the forefront of American consciousness due to soaring gas prices. Meanwhile, automakers like Rivian have expressed fears they won’t be able to procure the materials needed to expand EV production, due to supply chain constraints brought about by both the pandemic and Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Geological surveys suggest that the U.S. has sufficient reserves of many of the critical minerals and components necessary to create a domestic supply chain for electric batteries. The $3.1 billion in funding aims to “support the creation of new, retrofitted and expanded commercial facilities” with the goal of reducing the U.S.’s dependence on foreign battery suppliers, the Department of Energy said. In the same vein, the plan also includes an additional $60 million to support battery recycling facilities, which would allow for the recovery and reuse of valuable components like nickel, cobalt and lithium.
For electric automakers—including Southern California-based players including Rivian, Fisker, Faraday Future and Mullen—the new funding provides further backing from an administration that has tried to prioritize EVs, despite opposition from some members of the president’s own party like West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin. The Biden infrastructure plan also included $7.5 billion to build out a national network of EV chargers, though some observers believe that figure to be too small to meet the nation’s EV charging needs.
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CNN reporter Dana Bash called Tuesday's presidential debate a "shit show," NBC's Andrea Mitchell called it a "disgrace" and ABC's Martha Raddatz called it "mud wrestling in the middle of a pandemic."
But Yves Bergquist, founder of CortoAI, saw it as an opportunity to show how AI-powered software used for Hollywood scripts could reveal a candidate's underlying emotions, not always evident on camera.
"The words we use are indicative of our emotions and perceptions of social dynamics," Bergquist told dot.LA.
Corto's software analyzes texts and gauges the extent to which any one of 59 "emotional tonalites" are present, on a scale of 0-100. Anything above 75 is considered particularly salient, while values below 25 convey a notable absence.
Some of what Corto's debate analysis reveals is unsurprising. It found both candidates used language that was stressed, persuasive and anxious. Neither conveyed much happiness.
But Bergquist was impressed by how Trump's high-scoring traits mirrored a typical Hollywood drama lead. The AI "seems to confirm that Trump is being a president in character," Bergquist said.
Biden, meanwhile, "has a much more real-person personality."
Somewhat surprisingly, Corto found the former VP considerably more assertive and self-assured than Trump, while Trump was more trusting and imaginative.
"I don't want to create the impression that this is perfect science," Bergquist said. "This is really powerful but it's not a perfect tool. It's really important to remind people that what this is, is a good tool that in some ways is more nuanced than the human mind and in some ways is less nuanced."
Since 2016, Corto has worked symbiotically with the USC's Entertainment Technology Center, a think tank founded in 1993 by Star Wars creator George Lucas to support cooperative technological advancement in Hollywood. It is currently used by a variety of studios to greenlight scripts, Bergquist said. Producers use the tool to analyze whether a character's tone is hitting the mark.
The software learned to link words to emotions through a combination of text-based training and guidance from professional psychologists and psychiatrists.
Corto does not pick up on body language or tonal cues — just the words. This, however, can reveal some intriguing, between-the-lines insights.
For example, "when Corto sees aggressive behavior it also sees a lot of melancholy. And that makes sense: a lot of times when people are being aggressive they're in pain," Bergquist said.
Many who watched the debate can probably relate to that pairing.
Below are each of the candidates' ten highest and five lowest emotional tonalities according to Corto, and the five areas with the greatest difference between the two.
Trump's Top Ten
Type A: 91.1
Biden's Top Ten
Money Oriented: 90.56
Trump's Bottom Five
Self Assured: 16.28
Biden's Bottom Five
Emotionally Aware: 25.07
Family Oriented: 38.84 (Biden: 62.48; Trump: 23.64)
Self Assured: 26.1 (Biden: 42.38; Trump: 16.28)
Trusting: 22.47 (Trump: 70.74; Biden 48.27)
Imaginative: 20.36 (Trump: 45.33; Biden 24.97)
Religion Oriented: 19.28 (Biden: 56.49; Trump: 37.21)
Sam Blake primarily covers entertainment for dot.LA. Find him on Twitter @hisamblake and email him at samblake@dot.LA