This week’s headline quotes Liz Diller, partner at Diller Scofidio + Renfro and lead architect for The Shed, on the new building’s flexible design featuring open galleries, a 500-seat theater, a creative lab, a flexible events space, and a colossal moving roof that enables the building to take over the adjoining courtyard (Fast Company “NYC’s first shapeshifting building is finally here (The price tag? $400 million)”).
A quick “snapshot” of some of the rising topics from our March scanning.
- Industrial and collaborative robots (stats from the Robotics Industries Association, an in-house robot from Amazon, the end of social robot Jibo);
- mega-universities (Arizona State University and Southern New Hampshire University);
- and subscription streaming services (Disney, interactive and remixed order content from Netflix, and the arrival of Apple).
That focus on streaming content has carried over from previous months and we continue to see some other trending topics - growing concern over facial recognition technology and the entwined relationship of corporations in government and politics – in some of this week’s stories.
You can always check out the Center's trend collection to see how this scanning comes together to identify trends relevnat 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.
BuzzFeed News "Old, online, and fed on lies: How an aging population will reshape the Internet"
While many older Americans have embraced technology, a growing body of research shows they have disproportionately fallen prey to the dangers of internet misinformation and risk being further polarized by their online habits – and this becomes especially concerning when considering the outsize role older generations play in civic life and demographic changes that are increasing their power and influence.
Thomson Reuters “As sea levels rise, U.N. climbs aboard floating-cities push”
A U.N.-backed partnership including UN-Habitat, Oceanix, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and The Explorers Club, will study the futuristic prospect of floating cities, looking at how platforms at sea might help coastal cities address the risk of flooding due to climate change.
Fast Company “NYC’s first shapeshifting building is finally here (The price tag? $400 million)”
The Shed, a new New York City museum, is flexible enough to become anything that any future artist might want, with open galleries, a 500-seat theater, a creative lab, a flexible events space, and a colossal moving roof that enables the building to take over the adjoining courtyard, transforming into 17,000 square feet of temperature-regulated space.
Government Technology “Sidewalk Labs Wants People, Not Tech, to Study Public Spaces”
Sidewalk Labs, the tech startup backed by Google’s parent company Alphabet, has launched a new app, CommonSpace, to let city and county officials better understand how people use public spaces – the app is built for humans to use when making their own personal observations, not to deal with data sent in from sensors or cameras.
CNN “Why 2.7 million Americans still get Netflix DVDs in the mail”
An estimated 2.7 million Netflix subscribers in the US still receive physical DVDs by mail and the reasons for the DVD program’s popularity may sound familiar – a lack of access to broadband in rural communities, limited catalogs of streaming content (Netflix reportedly has fewer than 6,000 streaming film and TV titles, while DVD Netflix has about 100,000), and the complexity of navigating licensed exclusives across a growing network of services from Amazon, Hulu, and others.
Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Learning Machines
Vox "Exclusive: Google cancels AI ethics board in response to outcry"
Just a week after it was announced, Google has cancelled its AI ethics board after one member decided not to serve and publicy outcry and petitions called for the removal of two other members. See also The Verge “The problem with AI ethics”
The Verge “Google Duplex starts rolling out to iPhones and more Android phones”
Google’s automated calling service, Duplex, is starting to roll out to iPhones with the Google Assistant app installed and all Android phones running Android 5.0 and higher.
The Verge “AI researchers tell Amazon to stop selling ‘flawed’ facial recognition to the police”
In an open letter, AI researchers from Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and a number of top universities call on Amazon to stop selling its facial recognition technology to law enforcement after studies have repeatedly shown that Amazon’s algorithms are flawed, with higher error rates for darker-skinned and female faces.
Books and Publishing
The Bookseller "Springer Nature publishes its first machine-generated book"
Springer Nature’s Lithium-Ion Batteries: A Machine-Generated Summary of Current Research is the publisher’s first machine-generated title, developed using a state-of-the-art algorithm, called Beta Writer, that chose and processed relevant publications in the field from SpringerLink and arranged the source documents into coherent chapters and sections with succinct summaries of the articles.
Coindesk “Louis Vuitton owner LVMH is launching a Blockchain to track luxury goods”
Luxury brand conglomerate LVMH is preparing to launch a blockchain for proving the authenticity of high-priced goods – code-named AURA, the cryptographic provenance platform is expected to go live in May or June with LVMH brands Louis Vuitton and Parfums Christian Dior before being extended to LVMH’s other 60-plus luxury brands.
The Economy and the Workplace
Reuters “Target raises minimum wage to $13 an hour in tight labor market”
Target will raise its U.S. minimum wage to $13 an hour in June, increasing its payroll costs and putting new pressure on rival retailers to attract workers in a tight labor market – the company previously raised minimum hourly pay to $12 in March 2018 and is committed to raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.
MIT Technology Review “Now Amazon plans to launch a massive constellation of more than 3,000 internet satellites”
According to a filing with the International Telecommunications Union, which oversees global telecom satellite operations, Amazon’s planned Project Kuiper will send satellites into orbit at three different altitudes in an effort to provide internet access to more than 95% of the global population – Amazon is one of several companies, along with SpaceX, OneWeb, and Facebook, planning to provide broadband via internet satellite projects.
Play and Toys
TechCrunch “LEGO launches the Education Spike STEAM system for grades 6-8”
LEGO announced the launch of Education Spike, the company’s latest STEAM offering designed for use in classroom settings for grades sixth through eighth – the kits combine LEGO bricks with sensors, motors, and connection to an app that helps students get started and design programs using Scratch.
Engadget “Snap expands its short-form original series lineup with 10 new shows”
At its Snap Partner Summit in Los Angeles, Snap announced 10 new original shows, expanding its Originals programming mostly geared toward teenagers – among the new shows will be Two Sides, a "new form" genre that lets viewers watch the narrative from both characters' points of view at the same time, and the docuseries While Black, which explores racially charged social issues in the US.
TechCrunch “BBC and Discovery team up on a new streaming service focused on factual programming”
Discovery and BBC announced an extensive,10-year content partnership deal for a new streaming service focused on natural history and factual programming, creating the exclusive subscription video on demand (SVOD) home for series like Planet Earth, Blue Planet, and others.
CNET “Streaming music is going to officially take over the world this year”
Streaming music, especially paid subscriptions, fueled the recording industry's global growth last year, growing more than 34% to $8.93 billion and making up 47% of all of the world's revenue for recorded music, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).
Vox “Would you grocery shop by talking to a smart assistant?”
Fulfilling a voice-shopping partnership first announced in August 2017, Walmart and Google announced the availability of Walmart Voice Order, allowing customers to add items directly to their grocery shopping carts by talking and using information from their purchase history to quickly and accurately identify the items they are asking for.