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Recode Daily: Learning to love robots

Plus: Apple reduces production orders on all three of its new iPhones; a real startup inspired by HBO’s satirical “Silicon Valley”; train for Thanksgiving table talk with the bipartisan Angry Uncle Bot.

A drawing of two robot people sitting at a dinner table Roz Chast / The New Yorker

We still have time to learn to love robots. The New Yorker’s new technology-themed issue kicks off with the entertaining first-person story of reporter Patricia Marx’s serial relationships with domestic robots, beginning with Roomba and moving through Amazon’s Alexa; Jiba (“the first social robot for the home”); Loomo, a new hoverboard designed by Segway; and a salad-making robot named Sally; the story culminates in a slumber party for four sociable robots in a midtown Manhattan hotel suite. The all-star issue features a cover illustration by Roz Chast that shows a family of happy robots gathered Norman Rockwell-style around a Thanksgiving table. Meanwhile, there’s a chance that a robot parking app will hold your space on Black Friday. [Patricia Marx / The New Yorker]

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The stocks of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Netflix have all declined 20 percent or more in value in recent months, pushing them into bear market territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day down 395.78 points, or 1.6 percent, after tumbling more than 500 points earlier; the S&P 500 fell 45.54 points, or 1.7 percent; and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 219.40 points, or 3 percent. [Kevin Kelleher / Fortune]

Apple recently reduced production orders for all three new iPhone models that it unveiled in September. Production of the iPhone XR was slashed by up to one-third of the initial 70 million units, and Apple may cut its production plan again due to lower-than-expected demand for the new phones. Apple stock is down 15 percent in November after the company reported record quarterly revenue and profit but gave a downbeat outlook for the holiday quarter. Meanwhile, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview that some government regulation of Silicon Valley is inevitable and defended taking billions from Google to make its search engine the default setting on the iPhone. [Yoko Kubota, Takashi Mochizuki and Tripp Mickle / The Wall Street Journal]

BuzzFeed could use a boost: Two years ago, the company was valued at $1.7 billion and its prospects seemed bright. But the digital media company laid off 100 people last fall, shut down its podcast team and called off its plans for a late-2018 IPO. Before BuzzFeed investors can find an exit through a sale or public offering, the company needs to develop a diverse mix of revenue. BuzzFeed’s commerce division generated $50 million in sales this year by developing millennial-targeted product inventions for companies; this week, the company launched a membership model that provides exclusive access to newsletters and behind-the-scenes content for $5 a month. BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti has suggested that the site could eventually merge with rival online publishers like Vice and Vox Media to negotiate better terms with platforms like Facebook and Google. [Edmund Lee / The New York Times]

An actual Silicon Valley startup was inspired by HBO’s “Silicon Valley” startup. HBO’s comedy series follows the scrappy startup Pied Piper, which hits on a brilliant algorithm for compressing information so it can zip through the pipes of the internet more quickly. The show caused a “Eureka” moment for two PhDs who decided to try in reality what the characters were trying on screen: Based in Mountain View, Calif., WaveOne is using an artificial intelligence technique to improve upon existing real-life compression technology. And just like their fictional analog, which faces stiff competition from tech giant Hooli, WaveOne’s six-person team fears its toughest test could be competing against what some argue is Hooli’s real-life corollary: Alphabet’s Google. [Rolfe Winkler / The Wall Street Journal]

Top stories from Recode

Instagram is cracking down on services that sell “Likes” and followers.

The photo-sharing service is going to rely on “machine learning tools” to cut down on people gaming the system. [Kurt Wagner]

Tech companies like Google are giving workers the right to take sexual harassment claims to court — but employees are calling for more.

Employees and labor activists say they want to see an end to forced arbitration in all cases — not just for sexual harassment — and for all workers. [Shirin Ghaffary and Rani Molla]

Should the First Amendment apply to Facebook? It’s complicated.

The executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute, Jameel Jaffer, unpacks the answer on the latest Recode Decode. [Kara Swisher]

This is cool

Train for Thanksgiving table talk with the Angry Uncle Bot.

How to get out of your holiday social obligations.

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