The News You Need To Read This Morning

Elon Musk's ambitious AI robot plan, a historic case against police violence, and the sad (white) girl literary hero.

This is an excerpt from Incoming, BuzzFeed News’ morning newsletter dedicated to making sense of this chaotic world we live in. Join the club here.

San Francisco made history for charging a cop for killing someone while on duty. After almost two years, the case still hasn't gone to trial.

a collage of an SF police badge patch, someone holding a gavel, and a photo of Keita O’Neil

On Dec. 1, 2017, 42-year-old Keita O’Neil, an unarmed Black man who led police on a chase after allegedly carjacking a state lottery minivan, was fatally shot by Chris Samayoa, a rookie officer who was in his fourth day of a field training program. Body camera footage showed that Samayoa fatally shot O’Neil through the glass window of a patrol car. Samayoa was fired and, almost three years later, charged with manslaughter and assault.

The case is believed to be the first time in San Francisco history that prosecutors filed murder or manslaughter charges against a law enforcement officer who killed someone while on duty. For San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, filing charges against Samayoa marked the beginning of a new chapter of holding police accountable for unlawful use of force.

Yet almost two years later, Samayoa, who has pleaded not guilty, still hasn’t faced a preliminary hearing to determine whether there’s enough evidence to go to trial. Earlier this summer, Boudin was removed from office in a deeply contentious recall election. Interim District Attorney Brooke Jenkins has since reassigned the prosecutor who had been on the case for two years, and postponed the next hearing to December — after voters decide if she will serve out the rest of Boudin’s term. Now, O’Neil’s family fears that Jenkins will drop the charges after the midterms.

“I feel like I’m being played,” April Green, O'Neil's aunt and caretaker to O'Neil's mother, told BuzzFeed News. “Then when the election is over, she’s going to let that officer walk away with murder.”

Russia’s sham election in Ukraine is coming to an end.

  • Tuesday is the final day for Ukraine regions occupied by Moscow to vote on whether to join Russia; the referendum is viewed by Ukraine and Western powers as a sham, and is believed to be used as pretext for Russia to annex these areas. BBC reported allegations of election officials intimidating voters by going door to door with armed guards.

  • Russian officials have repeatedly threatened to use nuclear weapons to defend these occupied territories of Ukraine, according to Reuters.

SNAPSHOTS

Breast implants can cause complications and, in rare cases, cancer. Here's what to know. “Unfortunately, breast implants are not lifetime devices. Whether for reconstructive or aesthetic purposes, they serve a real role, but they're not perfect,” Dr. Justin Broyles, a plastic surgeon at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, said.

If you bought a house in the past two years and regret it, we want to hear from you. Did buying a home in the past two years turn out to be a questionable financial decision? If so, let us know why.

The second season of The Kardashians debuted last week. Here's the latest on the exact timeline of Tristan Thompson's paternity scandal, reactions to how much the sisters are sharing, and Kim going viral for seeming normal.

Elon Musk’s ambitious plan to bring AI robots to factories and homes.

an illustration of a white humanoid robot with a yellow cutout at the face with elon musk peaking out of the cutout

This week, Tesla is set to unveil a prototype of its humanoid robot — called Tesla Bot, or Optimus — during its annual AI Day event. The goal is to bring thousands of robots to work in Tesla production facilities, replacing humans in tasks that are “unsafe, repetitive or boring,” according to the AI page on the company’s website.

It’s a curious turn of events for Elon Musk, who has spoken openly of his fears of AI on many occasions and has said he worries about a Terminator-like apocalypse. In response to an email inquiring how far the Optimus project had developed in the past year, Musk responded: “I hate BuzzFeed with the passion of a thousand suns.”

How likely are we to see a massive robot breakthrough from Tesla? Development of humanoid robotics is still in its early stages, AI and humanoid robotics researcher Carl Strathearn told BuzzFeed News. Current breakthroughs tend to be so minor that they’re limited to academia, rather than big, brash presentations by publicly listed companies. And so far, the most advanced humanoid robots are usually designed for a certain repetitive task or series of motions, like the models developed by Boston Dynamics.

“They’re very, very capable robots designed for very, very specific purposes,” said Jonathan Aitken, senior university teacher in robotics at the University of Sheffield. “They're not applied within a highly dexterous manufacturing process, which is what we're looking at in terms of Tesla.”

How the Sad (White) Girl became a literary hero (again)

illustrations of one sad girl on the left crying on the couch and another sad girl on the right lying on her stomach smoking and looking at her phone

In the last couple years, a certain kind of literary Sad Girl heroine regained popularity on social media — especially BookTok, Laurann Herrington explains. A young white woman, unable to confront the grief, trauma, and/or mental illness that numbs her (think: Esther in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar), makes a radical — albeit self-destructive — change (think: the unnamed narrator of Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation).

But whiteness is central to the identity of the Sad Girl character. Every aspect of her aesthetic, from her rail-thin body to her taste for hyperfemininity, has roots in anti-Blackness and is dependent on an “other” to exaggerate those qualities in her. Racism will never be the reason why Sad Girls are unable to get out of bed in the morning. Their grief mostly lies with the oppressive nature of patriarchy and how it stifles their ability to fully reap the benefits of whiteness.

The overidentification with the Sad Girl online is an example of what happens when we engage with a text from a singular lens. And as a result, the flattening portrayal and romanticization of those characters ignores the racism sometimes present in these narratives.

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