Read for Later - "Facial recognition is part of our broader strategy...to provide the same kinds of benefits and conveniences in the built world that customers experience with retailers like Amazon in the digital world."
This week’s headline quotes John Miller, chairman and CEO of the Cali Group, which includes Miso Robotics and the Caliburger chain of restaurants, upon the introduction of new facial recognition kiosks that will automatically recognizes enrolled customers’ faces and process orders and payments (Business Insider “This burger chain wants to replace cashiers with machines that analyze your face and know your order”).
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.
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.
ProPublica “New York City moves to create accountability for algorithms”
New York City’s algorithmic accountability bill, waiting to be signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio, establishes a task force that will study how city agencies use algorithms to make decisions that affect citizens’ lives, and whether any of the systems appear to discriminate against people based on age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or citizenship status.
The New York Times “How big tech is going after your health care”
Tech companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft are increasingly turning toward the health industry as a new area for growth, through health tracking apps for consumers and patients, services for physicians and health professionals, or new tools for insurers and researchers.
The Hechinger Report “University enrollment decline continues into sixth straight year”
The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s Fall 2017 Term Enrollment Estimates show university enrollments declining for the sixth straight year - the drop in the number of first-time students totaled 63,000 and overall enrollment declines were steepest among community colleges, which saw enrollments drop by 97,000.
Gizmodo “Facebook ditches ‘Disputed' news tag after it totally backfired”
Facebook will end its system of marking inaccurate stories with a “disputed” tag after finding that the tags may have actually reinforced “deeply held beliefs,” instead of opening up readers to critical thinking – in its place, Facebook will populate the News Feed with additional Related Articles, which Facebook says “is a more effective way to help people get to the facts.” See also CNET, Engadget, and The Verge.
Business Insider “This burger chain wants to replace cashiers with machines that analyze your face and know your order”
CaliBurger, a burger chain with more than 40 locations globally, will allow customers to create a loyalty account and order using a kiosk that automatically recognizes their faces to recall past orders and process payment. See also Mashable and The Verge.
Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Learning Machines
Quartz “Robots are going to turbo charge one of society’s biggest problems”
A new report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) shows the positive and negative effects of adding robots to the workplace, raising UK productivity growth by 0.8% to 1.4% each year while potentially widening the pay gaps for women and minorities.
Quartz “Google’s voice-generating AI is now indistinguishable from humans”
A new research paper from Google introduces a text-to-speech system called Tacotron 2, which claims near-human accuracy at imitating audio of a person speaking from text, including tackling hard-to-pronounce words and names as well as enunciation based on punctuation – the system is only trained to mimic one female voice; to speak like a male or different female, Google would need to train the system again.
Cities and Government
Bloomberg “WeWork is about to become the biggest private office tenant in London”
WeWork has signed leases that will make it London’s largest private-sector user of office space according to data compiled by CoStar Group Inc. for Bloomberg – WeWork’s success in London depends on demand for flexible office space growing fast enough to keep rental income above the historically high rates the company pays to lease its properties.
Demographics and Communities
Consumer Reports “Opioid overdoses are chief cause behind life expectancy decline, CDC report says”
The United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its 2016 report on mortality in the United States, finding that life expectancy dropped largely because of an increase in deaths from drug overdoses. See also Gizmodo.
Economics and Employment
ProPublica “Dozens of companies are using Facebook to exclude older workers from job ads”
Verizon, Amazon, Goldman Sachs, Target, and other of the nation's leading employers used Facebook to place recruitment ads limited to particular age groups, raising concerns about fairness to older workers and adherence to the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. See also Advertising Age, CNET, Engadget, Gizmodo, and The New York Times.
Slate “The Library of Congress will stop archiving every tweet. Good.”
The Library of Congress announced changes to its Twitter Archive plan, ending a previous commitment announced in 2010 to archive every tweet and instead beginning to “acquire tweets on a selective basis” – in an expanded white paper, the library explained that it would focus on gathering collections of “thematic and event-based [tweets], including events such as elections, or themes of ongoing national interest, e.g. public policy.” See also Advertising Age, ArsTechnica, CNET, The Daily Dot, The Drum, Engadget, GeekWire, Gizmodo, Mashable, ReCode, TechCrunch, and The Verge.
The Verge “Facebook will soon demote posts that beg for likes, comments, and shares”
Facebook will begin demoting “engagement bait” posts that ask users to take actions like sharing, tagging, liking, or commenting – Facebook reviewed and categorized hundreds of thousands of posts and taught a machine learning model to detect the different types of engagement bait. See also CNET, The Daily Dot, Fast Company, GeekWire, and ReCode.
TechCrunch “Government requests for Facebook user data continue to increase worldwide”
Facebook’s latest transparency report reveals continued increases in requests for user data from governments worldwide, with 78,890 requests in the first half of 2017. See also Engadget.
The New York Times “Facial scans at U.S. airports violate Americans’ privacy, report says”
A report from researchers at Georgetown University’s Center on Privacy and Technology concludes that a Department of Homeland Security pilot program improperly gathers data on Americans when it requires passengers embarking on foreign flights to undergo facial recognition scans – Homeland security officials said the program was necessary and fulfilled a decades-old congressional requirement to prevent foreign visitors from overstaying their visas.
Wired “Facebook can now find your face, even when it's not tagged”
Facebook will use its facial recognition algorithms to identify users’ faces in photos uploaded to the platform even when they are not tagged – users will be notified when the algorithm identifies a new picture and can then choose to tag themselves in the image, message the user who posted an image, inform Facebook that the face isn’t them, or report an image for breaching the site’s rules. See also CNET, The Daily Dot, and ReCode.
Restaurants, Retail, and Spaces
ReCode “Walmart is developing a personal-shopper service for rich moms — and a store with no cashiers”
Walmart’s Code Eight subsidiary has started testing a personal shopping service for “high net worth urban consumer[s]” with the goal of letting them get product recommendations and make purchases simply through text messaging – combined with other efforts from Walmart’s startup incubator, Store No. 8, the company is moving towards physical stores that would operate without checkout lines or cashiers, similar to Amazon’s Amazon Go stores. See also TechCrunch.
The New York Times "Bookstore chains, long in decline, are undergoing a final shakeout"
With the closing of Book World, whose mall store sales had declined 30 – 60% over the past year, Amazon’s fledgling 15 bookstores now become the fourth-largest bookstore chain in the U.S.
Forbes “CNN's move to end its Snapchat exclusive show is a setback for Snap”
CNN will stop producing its Snapchat daily news story after just four months, as the network struggles to find a clear path to sustainability relying exclusively on advertising sales. See also Advertising Age, Engadget, and Mashable.
Toys and Play
Mashable “World Health Organization will recognize video game addiction in 2018”
In its next revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), the World Health Organization (WHO) will recognize "gaming disorder" as a mental health condition, "characterized by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior," including not feeling like you have control over how much you play, putting gaming over other life priorities, and continuing to play games despite negative consequences. See also The Daily Dot.