Read for Later – “It takes more than rhetorical commitments, no matter how well-intended or passionately made.”

This week’s headline quotes the new “Field Guide for Urban University-Community Partnerships” from the University of Virginia’s Thriving Cities Lab, pushing colleges and universities to actively engage with community members in the leadership and governance of their community work. (The Chronicle of Higher Education “What is the future of town-gown relations? These researchers think they know”)

You can always check out the Center's trend collection to see how this scanning comes together to identify trends relevant to our futures.

What new information has sparked your interest? Drop me a line to let me know what you're reading or discovering that helps you consider the future of libraries.

Five Highlights

Vox “McDonald’s new drive-thru menus will change based on the weather, traffic, and time of day”
McDonald’s made its first big move into tech, spending $300 million to acquire Dynamic Yield, a New York-based startup that uses artificial intelligence to “personalize customer experiences” – the restaurant chain will introduce the firm’s “decision technology” at drive-thrus’ outdoor menu boards where it will analyze purchase patterns based on the weather, traffic, time of day, and “trending menu items” and instantly rearrange the display to feature a more desirable combination of items.

Slate “Broadly’s new ‘gender spectrum’ photo library will change how the world sees trans people”
Broadly, Vice’s journalism platform covering women, gender non-conforming people, and the LGBTQ+ community, published a first of its kind stock photo library featuring more than 180 images of trans and non-binary models, representing a historic step forward for queer representation in media.

The Chronicle of Higher Education “What is the future of town-gown relations? These researchers think they know”
A new report from the University of Virginia’s Thriving Cities Lab finds that “questions of sustaining true community partnership built upon equity, inclusion, and even, in some cases, reparations remain pressing at most institutions and within most communities” with few community members actually playing roles in leading or shaping such college and university projects – just 16 of the 100 college and universities analyzed include community members on governance boards that guide their community work.

Techonomy “Tech startups build tools for wellbeing”
Market analysts Jeremiah Owyang and Jessica Groopman show how technology startups are focusing on wellness, developing low-coast technologies to aid in monitoring, promoting, augmenting, and managing users’ well-being, while often bypassing the traditional involvement of practitioners and insurance providers.

KidScreen “Tigra partners with Hippo on Disney AR books”
Kid-focused augmented reality app developer Tigra Live Animations has expanded its existing partnership with children’s AR book publisher Little Hippo Books to include licensed Disney titles, launching with ABC Fun with Mickey, a free preschool book app and corresponding Little Hippo book that will features a 3D-animated, 360-degree viewable Mickey Mouse who comes to life via the app and specially marked book pages.

Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Learning Machines

The Verge “Google creates external advisory board to monitor it for unethical AI use”
Google announced a new external advisory board to help monitor the company’s use of artificial intelligence for ways in which it may violate the company’s stated ethical principles – the group includes experts on a wide-ranging series of subjects, including mathematics, computer science, engineering, philosophy, public policy, psychology, and even foreign policy.


MIT Technology Review “Europe’s copyright dispute shows just how hard it is to fix the internet’s problems”
The European Parliament’s sweeping new Copyright Directive law will change the way copyright is policed online for all 28 nations in the European Union, with Article 11 requiring search engines and similar sites to pay publishers when they reproduce short extracts of their material and Article 13 significantly increasing the legal responsibility of sites like YouTube for material that violates copyright – experts and activists have raised concerns that technology companies may limit the availability of material in an effort to adhere to the articles’ requirements.


Forbes “Meet the English professor creating the billion-dollar college of the future”
A profile of Paul LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University, which attracts students with a nationwide advertising campaign that eats up as much as 20% of its operating budget; targets a nontraditional demographic of older students that already have jobs and families; and employs an army of 6,000 adjuncts who earn as little as $2,200 per course.

The Internet

Motherboard “Facebook bans white nationalism and white separatism”
In a major policy shift, Facebook banned white nationalism and white separatism on its platform, prohibiting content that includes explicit praise, support, or representation of white nationalism or separatism and directing users who search for or try to post such content to the website for Life After Hate, a nonprofit dedicated to getting people to leave hate groups.

TechCrunch “Sheryl Sandberg says Facebook is ‘exploring’ restrictions following Christchurch attacks”
In an open letter published by the New Zealand Herald, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg addressed the mass shootings at two Christchurch mosques, the first part of which was live-streamed on Facebook by the attacker – the letter addresses aspects that the site could have handled better, notes that the company is working on technologies to identity re-uploaded content, but stops short of offering specific answers or a blueprint for its policy going forward.

Reuters “Exclusive: Fearful of fake news blitz, U.S. Census enlists help of tech giants”
The U.S. Census Bureau has asked Google, Facebook, and Twitter to help it fend off “fake news” campaigns aimed at disrupting the upcoming 2020 census – data and cyber security experts have raised concerns that right-wing groups and foreign actors may borrow the “fake news” playbook from the last presidential election to dissuade immigrants from participating in the decennial count.

Journalism and News

Axios “Exclusive: Google partners to fund new local media sites”
Google is launching the Local Experiments Project, an effort to fund dozens of new local news websites around the country and eventually around the world – the first effort will be The Compass Experiment, a partnership between Google and McClatchy to launch three new, digital-only local news operations on multiple platforms.

TechCrunch “Apple News+ is a great deal, but what does ‘full access’ really mean?”
Apple’s News+ announcement touts access to over 300 publications for $9.99 per month, but the full scope of users’ access is unclear due to the curated nature of the platform and the individual agreements negotiated with publishers, which might make it a challenge to actually scroll and click through a title’s full content. See also TechCrunch “The danger of ‘I already pay for Apple News+’” and The Verge “Apple News+ isn’t a good deal for publishers, but it could have been worse”

The Sharing Economy

TechCrunch “Airbnb just checked in its 500 millionth guest”
Airbnb released new data outlining the service’s reach and expansion, including its 500 millionth guest arrival across 6 million participating residences and $65 billion in income for participants renting out spaces on the platform.

Streaming Media

ArsTechnica “Apple finally enters TV streaming space with new Apple TV+ service”
Apple unveiled its streaming video service, Apple TV+, featuring Apple's own original programming.

The Verdict “Subscription is the new norm, but could consumers become oversubscribed?”
As Apple joins Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Now TV, and soon Disney in the increasingly saturated video content streaming market, a look at the growth and possible limits for consumer subscriptions – some 65% of retail businesses now offer some kind of subscription program and 49% of consumers report being subscribed to at least one service, with the median number of subscriptions per consumer currently sitting at two.

Bloomberg “YouTube bows out of Hollywood arms race with Netflix and Amazon”
YouTube has reportedly canceled plans for high-end dramas and comedies, a pullback from its ambitions for a paid subscription service with Hollywood-quality shows.