This week’s headline quotes Erin Russo, principal of Discovery Elementary in Arlington, Virginia, about the educational benefits that complement the environmentally responsible "net zero" school building (The Hechinger Report "Schools lead the way to zero-energy buildings, and use them for student learning").
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.
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The Economist "American tech giants are making life tough for startups"
The dominance of Amazon, Facebook, and Google poses two significant challenge to new technology startups – venture capitalists are wary of backing new company ventures in online search, social media, mobile, and e-commerce, and even for those companies that do find capital, big companies will quickly copy or acquire new ventures to limit their threat.
The Hechinger Report "Schools lead the way to zero-energy buildings, and use them for student learning"
K-12 schools are leading a fledgling “net-zero” building boom (“net-zero” buildings make at least as much energy as they use and “net positive” make more than they need) with hundreds of buildings completed or under construction in urban and rural, affluent and lower income districts – while many communities focus on the environmental and economic incentives, educators are finding educational benefits by integrating active STEM learning into curriculum.
The Drum "The future lies in biometrics"
A quick look at biometrics – the identification of a person through certain unique characteristics (finger prints, iris scans, facial recognition, etc) – and its growing use in security (to unlock home screens and banking apps), entertainment, and retail.
CNET “Google brings free Wi-Fi to 400 India train stations, reaches 8 million users”
Google announced that its Google Station model of internet service has provided free Wi-Fi to 400 train stations across India, with 8 million people using the service each month – users get 30 minutes of high speed data for free with ads, pay 19 rupees ($0.28) for 24 hours of ad-free access, or 149 rupees ($2.22) for a week's access. See also TechCrunch.
The New York Times “Facebook gave device makers deep access to data on users and friends”
As part of its efforts to become the world’s dominant social media service, Facebook established data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers, including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft, and Samsung, starting over the last decade before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones – the partnerships raise concerns about the company’s privacy protections even as Facebook officials stated that the partnerships are governed by contracts that strictly limit use of the data. See also Gizmodo.
Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Learning Machines
Wired "Apple's plans to bring artificial intelligence to your phone"
At Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2018, Craig Federighi, Apple’s head of software, shared Create ML, a tool to help developers build machine learning models – Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google have made similar services available to developers, though Apple claims their service will more easily fit into an app developer’s regular workflow, enhancing machine learning’s potential.
TechCrunch “Apple introduces the AI phone”
Also at WWDC, Apple announced Siri enhancements and features that will help personalize phones through SiriAI, providing suggestions and reminders based on a user’s location, interests, and schedule.
MIT Technology Review "The White House promises to release government data to fuel the AI boom"
Speaking at EmTech Next, Donald Trump’s chief technology advisor, Michael Kratsios, said that the US government would release any data that might help fuel AI research in the United States, although he didn't specify immediately what kind of data would be released, nor who would be eligible to receive the information – the administration’s approach to AI could be complicated by the technology’s role in job displacement and disruption.
Communities and Demographics
NPR "CDC: U.S. suicide rates have climbed dramatically"
A new CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report shows how suicide rates have increased in nearly every state over the past two decades, with half of the states having seen suicide rates go up more than 30% – researchers and advocacy groups working to prevent suicide say the report shows that much more needs to be done to tackle the issue, including working to stabilize housing and teaching coping and problem-solving skills early in life.
TechCrunch “Udacity and Google launch free career courses for interview prep, resume writing and more”
Udacity announced a new partnership with Google that will make a number of career courses freely available to recent graduates and mid-career professionals, building on a pilot “Networking for Career Success” course that was offered in March to 60,000 Grow with Google scholars.
The Atlantic “Here’s how higher education dies”
Futurist Bryan Alexander continues to speculate about “peak higher education,” a topic he explored in 2013 and expanded upon more recently, prompted by declining student enrollments, increased dependence on adjunct faculty, and rising costs of college – many of those trends continue with additional pressure from declining birth rates and fewer international and immigrant students.
Journalism and News
Pew Research Center “Almost seven-in-ten Americans have news fatigue, more among Republicans”
A new Pew Research Center survey finds that a sizable portion of Americans (68%) are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of news there is – while majorities of both Republicans and Democrats express news fatigue, roughly three-quarters (77%) of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents feel worn out over how much news there is, compared with about six-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (61%).
Nieman Lab “Here’s what the first Facebook-funded news shows will look like”
Facebook unveiled its initial lineup of news programming to air on the Watch section of its platform – while developed by media partners, the shows are funded by Facebook and will include ATTN:’s “Undivided ATTN:”; CNN’s “Anderson Cooper Full Circle”; FOX News’ “Fox News Update”; Mic’s “Mic Dispatch”; and Univision’s “Real America with Jorge Ramos.” See also TechCrunch.
ArsTechnica "Facebook privacy goof makes posts by 14 million users readable to anyone"
Facebook issued a statement acknowledging that the site made the posts of 14 million users public even when they designated the posts to be shared with only a limited number of contacts – the error was the result of a bug that automatically suggested posts be set to public. See also CNET, Digital Trends, Engadget, The Inquirer, and ReCode.
Restaurants, Retail, and Spaces
Fast Company “McDonald’s introducing self-serve kiosks that don’t need minimum wage”
McDonald’s will upgrade 1,000 stores with self-serve ordering kiosks every quarter for the next eight to nine quarters.
The Sharing Economy
Wired “Lyft redesigns its app—and strategy—for the age of sharing”
Lyft unveiled an app redesign with features the promote its shared ride services, route suggestions that ask shared ride customers to walk a block to cut down on inefficient detours, prompts to have users with very similar itineraries to take a shared ride in exchange for a price cut, and new transit integration that lets users plan trips that include public transportation options – the company has a goal for 50% of its trips to be shared rides by 2020. See also ReCode.
The Verge “Uber and Lyft confirm that they want to expand to offer electric scooters”
The rise of electric scooters shows the growing interest in shared transportation services, with Uber and Lyft both pursuing e-scooter services to supplement ride share and bike share programs. See also CNET, Fast Company, and TechCrunch and again and again.