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    Pricing is really weird lately

    Michael Raines/Getty Images; Jenny Chang-Rodriguez/BI

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    Halfway through the week! Have an extra $22 million lying around? Check out this newly listed ranch in Montana, which was once home to a Soviet Union pilot who defected to the West.

    In today’s big story, we’re looking at why pricing is so weird these days.

    What’s on deck:

    Markets: Forget AI. JPMorgan says these three sectors could offer gains like “coiled springs.”Tech: Staff say Tesla prioritizes VIP data to train its self-driving cars.Business: Beige begone. Colorful, wacky homes are in.

    But first, that costs how much?!

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    The big story

    The age of wild price swings

    Getty Images; Alyssa Powell/BI

    If the cost of living in America is giving you whiplash right now, you’re not alone.

    Over the past few years, we’ve (perhaps begrudgingly) grown accustomed to dynamic pricing. Whether it’s the cost of Ubers, airline tickets, or popular artists’ concerts, prices that fluctuate based on market conditions are the new norm.

    But after a few years of infecting big-ticket items, writes Business Insider’s Emily Stewart, wildly varying prices are coming to everyday items — and it’s driving Americans crazy.

    Remember Wendy’s “dynamic pricing” fiasco? The fast-food chain botched the rollout of its new variable price model and had to insist it wouldn’t be used to charge more during peak hours. More recently, Walmart introduced digital price tags, which some people said could be used for variable pricing. (Walmart said its “everyday low price” strategy isn’t changing.)

    And when prices aren’t fluctuating, they’re simply higher: Everything from fast food to new homes has shot up in price since the pandemic.

    The result can be maddening, especially when we can clearly remember a time when prices felt more reasonable. The constantly changing costs have consumers feeling a sense of price fatigue, Emily writes.

    Michael Raines

    Sometimes, the only way out is through.

    How do you begin to fix — or even just accept — such astronomical pricing? Emily writes that most economists agree that government-mandated price-fixing isn’t the way to go about it. And while inflation is getting better, the potential of it getting worse again still looms.

    Then there’s the problem of AI-powered price gouging.

    BI recently reported that companies use artificial intelligence to figure out how much you make, where you’re located, and what kind of mood you’re in — and use it to calculate exactly how much you’d be willing to pay for something.

    And you can’t fight algorithms that know you better than you know yourself.

    So, as Emily writes, you can’t fault anyone for feeling a certain sense of doom and gloom about the economy. Heck, some people have come to feel like the middle-class American dream is out of reach entirely.

    In times like this, she says, the only way to get used to such high prices is to try to forget what those numbers were in 2019.

    3 things in markets

    iStock; Rebecca Zisser/BI

    Forget AI — look into these three underbought areas. Investors are still caught up in the artificial intelligence frenzy, but unrealized upside exists in the semiconductor, rail and parcel, and home improvement sectors. According to JPMorgan, they could offer gains like “coiled springs.”EV stocks roar to life. Electric vehicle stocks are soaring as second-quarter deliveries trounced Wall Street estimates. Tesla, Rivian, and Lucid Group have all seen major rebounds, a promising sign for the sector.How to avoid a recession. Artificial intelligence, immigration, and rich people will save the US economy from a decline, according to Michael Arone, a State Street investment strategist.

    3 things in tech

    Steve Granitz/FilmMagic; iStock; Rebecca Zisser/BI

    Not all self-driving cars are created equal. Tesla employees were told to prioritize data from self-driving cars belonging to Elon Musk and other VIPs. Current and former staffers say the result was excessive attention to routes frequented by high-profile drivers — and an uneven use of Tesla’s resources.“Fightertown, USA” gets an AI revamp. San Diego was once home to a Navy pilot program that inspired the movie “Top Gun.” Four decades later, defense tech startups are bringing the aviation boom back, with a twist: The new aircraft don’t have pilots at all. They’re powered by AI.TikTok’s music AI chatbot could help it take on Spotify. The new AI assistant, Tonik, can curate a specific playlist based on any mood, help users discover new music, and more. BI tested it out last month and was pretty impressed — but it still has some work to do.

    3 things in business

    Tyler Le/BI

    Wacky homes are all the rage. Thanks to the viral Instagram account “Zillow Gone Wild,” kooky, colorful, and maximalist homes are having a moment. Distaste for cookie-cutter houses and exasperation with the age of beige drive demand for homes with a lot more flavor.The world’s richest people are flocking to Idaho. Billionaires are swarming Sun Valley for an annual summit of the rich, and their private jets are overwhelming the ski town’s tiny airport. An official guest list of the “summer camp for billionaires” isn’t public, but we have some ideas about who’s attending.Sorry, you’ll have to wait a little longer for that flying car. Pivotal, the flying-car venture backed by Google cofounder Larry Page, delayed its first shipments to customers by another nine months. It now expects to deliver the airborne autos in spring 2025.

    In other news

    Kamala Harris is in a tough spot.A Wall Street analyst who wrote a blistering open letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy last year now sees big improvements.Pressure is mounting on Biden to take a cognitive test. It could be a ‘slippery slope’ for future presidents, experts say.Software security startup Chainguard is raising a new funding round at a $1.1 billion valuation, sources say.Beware, Elon Musk — BYD just took its next step to world domination.Days after his big Biden interview, George Stephanopoulos says the man won’t make it through 4 more years in office.Meta and TikTok are the top choices for brands looking to find new customers — but Snap could be more cost-effective.Dyson is laying off about 1,000 workers amid ‘fierce and competitive global markets.’A former Wall Street Journal reporter said she was put on a PIP after requests to work remotely. Now she’s suing the news outlet.Multimillionaire real estate brothers facing sexual assault accusations are now the focus of an FBI probe.

    What’s happening today

    President Biden meets new UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer, whose Labour Party trounced incumbent Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives in last week’s election.Fed Chair Jerome Powell presents the Semiannual Monetary Policy report in Congress.Samsung hosts a Galaxy Unpacked event, featuring new product launches.

    The Insider Today team: Jordan Parker Erb, editor, in New York. Lisa Ryan, executive editor, in New York. Hallam Bullock, senior editor, in London. Annie Smith, associate producer, in London. Amanda Yen, fellow, in New York.

    Read the original article on Business Insider

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