This week’s headline quotes Nichole Pinkard, founder of the Digital Youth Network, which helped build Chicago’s City of Learning platform. In a fascinating story in CityLab, Pinkard and others describe how they have used City of Learning and its resulting data to better understand the relationship between program offerings, access, participation, and educational outcomes for young people.
A reminder that we've opened the call for session proposals for our 2018 Symposium on the Future of Libraries, part of the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting, February 9 -13 in Denver. We had over 25 sessions at the 2017 Symposium and look forward to another rich discussion of the near- and long-term trends shaping the future of libraries.
You can always check out the Center's trend collection to see how this scanning comes together to identify trends relevant to our futures. The Center's trend cards are also available to help you talk with colleagues and members of the community, map how trends fit together or how they fit into your community, or spark innovation activities.
And as you scan through these articles, consider dropping me a line to let me know what you're reading this week to help prepare for the future.
Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Learning Machines
New Scientist “Even a mask won’t hide you from the latest face recognition tech”
Researchers at the University of Cambridge trained a machine learning algorithm to locate 14 key facial points that could allow the system to accurately identify people it has already seen even when they are wearing hats, glasses, scarves, and fake beards. See also Motherboard.
The Memo “This AI has a ‘gaydar,’ and it should be stopped”
Researchers at Stanford University used 35,326 photos from a US dating site to train a new algorithm that can correctly distinguish sexuality between two photos of people of the same gender (always one straight, one gay) – the technology has raised concerns for its potential for harm in countries that are hostile to LGBT people or anywhere that LGBT people might be marginalized. See also The Daily Dot and TechCrunch.
TechCrunch “IBM and MIT pen 10-year, $240M AI research partnership”
IBM and MIT have signed a 10-year, $240 million partnership agreement that establishes the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab where IBM researchers and MIT students and faculty will work side by side to conduct advanced AI research. See also ArsTechnica and Fast Company.
Engadget “US House sends self-driving car bill to the Senate”
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the SELF DRIVE (Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research In Vehicle Evolution) Act that will allow companies to test up to 100,000 autonomous vehicles on regular roads, even if they don't meet current safety standards – the U.S. Senate has been debating a similar bill. See also ArsTechnica, CNET, Engadget, Gizmodo, Reuters, TechCrunch, and Wired.
Wired “Lyft is launching a fleet of self-driving cars in San Francisco”
Lyft will partner with Drive.ai to launch a fleet of self-driving cars in the San Francisco Bay Area – participants selected for the driverless cars will receive free rides as Lyft explores how it could use autonomous cars in its existing service. See also CNET, Consumerist, Engadget, Next City, TechCrunch, and The Verge.
Cities and Government
The New York Times “Silicon Valley’s politics: Liberal, with one big exception”
A new survey by political scientists at Stanford University finds that wealthy technologists’ political leanings could help push lawmakers, especially Democrats, further to the left on many social and economic issues, including higher taxes on the wealthy, social services for the poor, universal health care, free trade, and more open immigration – but, they are also deeply suspicious of the government’s efforts to regulate business, especially when it comes to labor and the influence of both private and public-sector unions.
The Daily Dot “16 attorneys general sue Trump over DACA termination”
A group of 16 attorneys general have sued U.S. President Donald Trump to stop the administration’s plan to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program – the lawsuit argues that the decision to rescind DACA will “cause harm to hundreds of thousands” of people and that the decision to terminate DACA violates the Fifth Amendment, specifically the equal protection clause by discriminating against DREAMers of Mexican origin and other DACA recipients. See also Mic.
Engadget “The UN wants all drones registered in a global database”
The United Nations' aviation agency, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), plans to support a single worldwide drone registry, making it easier for law enforcement to sift across drones and drone operators – U.S. hobbyists recently fought and defeated the FAA’s decision to include non-commercial drones in an American drone registry.
The Atlantic “How higher-education leaders are fighting for DACA”
The presidents of Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Duke, and other higher education institutions have written letters to U.S. President Donald Trump asking him to protect students in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program – the University of California has gone so far as to file suit in federal court against the Trump administration for wrongly and unconstitutionally violating the rights of the University and its students by rescinding DACA. See also The Chronicle of Higher Education, Education Dive and again, Education Week, NPR, and The Washington Post.
CityLab “Chicago's path to become a 'City of Learning’”
Four years after launching a digital platform to connect students with out-of-school programs, the Chicago City of Learning online platform (CCOL) has provided researchers with a large pool of data to study the inequity of informal education.
HBCU Digest “With record enrollment, North Carolina A&T expands as nation’s largest HBCU”
North Carolina A&T State University announced a fall enrollment total of 11,877 students, the largest student body in the school’s history and the latest benchmark in the school’s vision of reaching more than 13,000 students by 2020.
Mic “Betsy DeVos announces rollback of Obama-era Title IX sexual assault guidelines”
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that the Trump administration is rolling back sexual assault guidelines issued by the Obama administration, which had told colleges and universities that they have an obligation under Title IX to combat sexual harassment and sexual assault on campus or risk federal funding.
Mashable “New York City schools will now offer free lunch to every kid who wants it”
New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced that free lunch would now be available to the city's 1.1 million students, regardless of income level – the announcement follows a series of articles about "lunch-shaming," the practice of shaming kids or requiring them to do labor when they can't afford lunch.
The New York Times “Silicon Valley courts brand-name teachers, raising ethics issues”
As technology start-ups invest more in public education, the teachers that utilize these new technologies have experienced an increase in reputation (through blogs, social media accounts, and conference talks) and opportunity (free technology, gift cards, meals, or even travel), raising new concerns for school district ethics policies or state laws regulating government employees.
TechCrunch “Google launches a new certification program for mobile web developers”
Google has added a new Mobile Web Specialist Certification to its existing certification programs for Android developers, cloud architects, and data engineers – the open book test will cost $99 and consist of a number of coding challenges and a 10-minute exit interview to explain why test-takers chose a given solution to solve exam questions.
The Daily Dot “Spelman College becomes latest women’s college to accept transgender women”
Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell announced that the institution will begin accepting transgender women for the fall 2018 semester – the prominent historically Black college joins a growing list of trans-inclusive women’s colleges. See also Blavity.
National Geographic “This tiny country feeds the world”
Almost two decades ago, the Dutch made a national commitment to sustainable agriculture, seeking to produce “twice as much food using half as many resources” – their efforts have reduced dependence on water for key crops by as much as 90%, nearly eliminated the use of chemical pesticides on plants in greenhouses, and have cut the use of antibiotics by as much as 60%, all while growing to be the world’s number two exporter of food as measured by value.
The New York Times “Fake Russian Facebook accounts bought $100,000 in political ads”
Facebook disclosed that it had identified more than $100,000 worth of divisive ads purchased by a shadowy Russian company called the Internet Research Agency that has links to the Kremlin – while not referring to specific candidates, the ads focused on divisive social issues such as race, gay rights, gun control, and immigration. See also ABC News, The Daily Dot, The Drum, Engadget, GeekWire, Gizmodo, Mashable and again, ReCode, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, and Wired and again.
Motherboard “Rural America is building its own internet because no one else will”
A look at three rural counties in three different states working to improve internet connectivity, navigating the financial, technological, and topological barriers to widespread internet.
Engadget “Google adds US Latino art and culture to its online museum”
Google Arts & Culture announced a new virtual collection, Celebrating Latino culture within the US that includes 69 exhibits and 2,500 pieces of art that showcase culture, art, and influential figures throughout the history of Latinos in the US.
The Memo “Facebook’s ‘Tinder match’ tool sounds awful but is actually great”
Facebook Messenger will pilot a program to match friends interested in meeting outside the social platform – part of a larger move by the social network to encourage more Facebook Groups to engage in physical off-screen meet-ups. See also The Verge.
Politico “Facebook undermines its own effort to fight fake news”
Facebook’s promise to fight fake news has been criticized by its fact-checking partners for not sharing any internal data from the project – the fact-checkers say they have no way of determining whether the “disputed” tags they’re affixing to “fake news” articles slow the stories’ spread.
Journalism and News
Pew Research Center “Americans’ online news use is closing in on TV news use”
43% of Americans report often getting news online (up from 38% in early 2016), just 7% lower than the 50% who often get news on television (down from 57% in early 2016) – the gap between the two news platforms was 19 points in early 2016.
Engadget “Medium adds Bloomberg and other publications to subscription service”
Medium’s $5 monthly subscription service will now include professional publications with curated selections from The New York Times, Bloomberg, Rolling Stone, and more.
Engadget “Smartphones could someday assess brain injuries”
Researchers at the University of Washington are researching the use of smartphones to assess potential concussions and other brain injuries – the PupilScreen app uses video and a smartphone's camera flash to record and calculate how the pupils respond to light.
The New York Times “The smartphone’s future: It’s all about the camera”
Smartphone cameras, and their software and sensors, will become a focus for stronger security features and applications for augmented reality
The New York Times "Equifax says cyberattack may have affected 143 million in the U.S."
Equifax, one of the three major consumer credit reporting agencies, revealed that hackers had gained access to company data that potentially compromised sensitive information for 143 million American consumers, including Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, names, birth dates, and addresses – while the size of the attack in smaller than other recent cyberattacks, such as the two breaches that Yahoo announced in 2016, the Equifax attack is worse in terms of the severity of personal information acquired. See also ArsTechnica, The Daily Dot, Mic, Motherboard, The New York Times, New Scientist, TechCrunch and again, and Wired.
Nautilus “Getting Googled by your doctor”
Health professionals’ ability to look up patient’s information online – Google searches, online profiles, social media, videos and other media – raises new ethical and legal concerns.
The New York Times “How ‘doxxing’ became a mainstream tool in the culture wars”
“Doxxing” — originally a slang term among hackers for obtaining and posting private documents about an individual, usually a rival or enemy – has emerged from subculture websites to become something of a mainstream phenomenon, raising concerns about ethics,unintended consequences, or even collateral damage.
The Verge “Facebook will spend as much as $1 billion on original TV in the next year”
Facebook is reportedly “willing to spend as much as $1 billion” on original video content for its Watch feature – this would be just a fraction of what competitors like Netflix ($6 billion in 2017) and Amazon ($4.5 billion) currently spend. See also The Drum, Engadget, Mashable, and TechCrunch.
CNET “Roku Channel delivers more free movies to cord cutters”
Roku, the maker of popular digital media players, announced a new free Roku Channel that will aggregate existing and new no-cost content including movies from MGM, Sony, Warner and Lionsgate in a single advertising-supported app. See also Mashable and TechCrunch.
ArsTechnica “Disney is pulling Star Wars and Marvel films from Netflix”
Content continues to shift in streaming media as Disney now confirms that the full catalog of films from the Star Wars and Marvel franchises will be exclusive to Disney's forthcoming streaming service after 2019. See also Fast Company, Mashable, TechCrunch, and The Verge.
The Verge “Spotify and Hulu just launched an amazing $5 bundle for college students”
Spotify and Hulu will bundle their streaming services into a special student bundle for only $4.99 per month – the plan could be just a “first step” in a major partnership with “offerings targeted at the broader market to follow.” See also CNET, Engadget, Fast Company, Mashable, and TechCrunch.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
The New York Times “A game you can control with your mind”
The prototype game Awakening, which uses a headset with virtual reality goggles and sensors that can read brain waves, points to a neurotechnology future.
Digiday “Excedrin is using virtual reality to show what having migraines are like”
The new “Excedrin Works” campaign uses virtual reality to share the experiences of migraine sufferers.
Mashable “Higher learning and higher resolution: How VR is changing NYU”
NYU's Tandon School of Engineering has been selected to lead a VR and AR hub at the Brooklyn Navy Yard that will put STEAM into action to produce VR experiences that transform how students learn and interact with the world.
PSFK “KFC uses VR to teach workers its chicken recipe”
KFC introduced a new interactive VR game to train its staff before workers graduate to performing tasks in real life.
Engadget “Alexa and Google Assistant star in BBC's interactive radio plays”
The BBC’s R&D department will collaborate with Rosina Sound to produce a radio play that integrates domestic voice assistants like Amazon’s Echo, asking listeners to insert their own lines when cued. See also Mashable and The Verge.