This week’s headline quotes Karim Boughida, dean of libraries at the University of Rhode Island, on the introduction of its Artificial Intelligence Lab, designed as a shared central place that brings awareness of AI to the wider community of faculty and students (Inside Higher Ed "A new home for AI: The library")
You can always check out the Center's trend collection to see how this scanning comes together to identify trends relevant to our futures - our newest entries look at Blockchain technology and Smart Cities. 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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Inside Higher Ed "A new home for AI: The library"
The University of Rhode Island will locate its new AI lab in the university library, creating an accessible space that builds awareness of AI through development of new computing skills and talks and workshops that explore how AI will increasingly affect our lives.
The Verge “Should we consider adolescence to last until age 24?”
In an op-ed published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, Susan Sawyer, chair of adolescent health at the University of Melbourne, suggestes that thinking of adolescence as lasting until age 24 “corresponds more closely” to young people's current experiences and that policies and services might need to change to better serve this population. See also BBC.
Motherboard “Nintendo Switch's hot new accessory is cardboard”
Nintendo’s new Labo accessories allow Switch users to create strange cardboard toys that have slots for the Switch and its detachable, motion-sensing controllers – Nintendo sees a long-term plan to let users build their own cardboard accessories, tinker with the software’s features to create their own experiences, and instill a “make, play, discover” mindset. See also The Daily Dot, The Dieline, Mashable, The Memo, The Verge, and Wired.
Fast Company “Can we create a new kind of downtown in abandoned suburban offices?”
An interesting look at how Holmdel, New Jersey, plans to repurpose its Bell Labs building (2 million square feet of space) – Somerset Development now plans to create a walkable community hub called Bell Works that will house start-ups in office spaces on the upper floors, a public central corridor with market-style tables to house a food hall, a basement-level conference center and ballroom, a library and a daycare on one end of the hall, and a fitness studio and salon on the other.
Fast Company “Checking out Amazon Go, the first no-checkout convenience store”
Amazon will open its first cashier-less Amazon Go store to the public – the store uses the Go app to connect to a user’s Amazon account upon arrival at the store and AI algorithms track users and the products they pick up and keep. See also CNET and again, The Daily Dot, Engadget, GeekWire and again, Gizmodo, The Inquirer, The New York Times, Quartz, ReCode and again, TechCrunch, and TechSpot.
Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Learning Machines
Wired “AI beat humans at reading! Maybe not”
In separate announcements, Microsoft and Chinese retailer Alibaba announced that they had created artificial intelligence software that matched or outperformed humans on the SQuAD (Stanford Question Answering Dataset) reading-comprehension test – while the accomplishment points to the rapid advances in AI, researchers, including those behind SQuAD, note that SQuAD is a “fairly narrow” test of reading comprehension. See also CNET, Gizmodo, and The Verge.
Demographics and Communities
The Economist "Teenagers are better behaved and less hedonistic nowadays"
In most wealthy nations, signs point to young people behaving and thinking differently, with declines in drinking (starting drinking later and getting drunk less), smoking, drug use, violence (fighting and juvenile crime), and sexual activity.
CityLab “It's not the food deserts: It's the inequality”
A new study by economists at New York University, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago adds more evidence to the argument that food deserts alone are not to blame for the eating habits of people in low-income neighborhoods, pointing to differences in income and in education and nutritional knowledge as important forces in eating habits and health.
The New York Times “U.K. appoints a Minister for Loneliness”
After a 2017 report published by the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness estaimated that more than nine million people in the country often or always feel lonely, UK Prime Minister Theresa May appointed a Minister for Loneliness to address the loneliness experienced by the elderly, carers, and those who have lost loved ones. See also Mashable.
The Dieline “Golden Arches go green: McDonald's going fully sustainable by 2025”
McDonald’s announced that by 2025, 100% of their guest packaging will be sourced from renewable and recycled materials and all guest packaging will be recycled in restaurants worldwide.
ReCode “People love Google’s new feature that matches your selfie to a famous painting”
An update to the Google Arts & Culture app uses computer-vision technology to examine what is similar about a user’s face to the thousands of pieces of art that are shared with Google by museums and other institutions – while the app has proven popular, there have been concerns over its ability to match art works for people of color and that the platform includes few artists from Latin America or places outside of Europe. See also Engadget, Gizmodo, Mashable, PSFK, TechCrunch, and The Verge.
The Daily Dot “New Facebook feature lets multiple people watch the same video simultaneously”
Facebook’s new Watch Party feature lets two or more people view and interact with a video simultaneously, continuing the network’s focus on video while also achieving a new priority to bring communities closer together. See also TechSpot.
Journalism and News
CNET “Most Americans say social media is making the news worse”
A new report from the Knight Foundation and Gallup analyzes 19,000 Americans' responses to questions on trust in the media, finding that they believe the media has an important role to play in democracy, but that they don’t see that role being fulfilled – while technology has had a positive effect on news production and access, many believe that social media has had a negative effect on the news environment.
Poynter “Google suspends fact-checking feature over quality concerns”
Google is suspending the Reviewed Claims section of its Knowledge Panel feature which displayed fact checks associated with publishers, claiming that they encountered challenges in the systems that map fact checks to publishers – the tool had received criticism from conservative news outlets like The Daily Caller for wrongly appending a claim to one of its stories.
The Daily Dot “Facebook wants you to determine which publishers should be trusted”
Continuing its efforts to address trusted news sources, Facebook announced plans to have users help determine which news sources are legitimate and which are not – the site will begin asking users, via their ongoing surveys, if they’re familiar with certain news sources and whether they trust them, with familiar and trusted sources finding their way into users’ NewsFeeds. See also Advertising Age, CNET, The Drum, Engadget, Fast Company, Mashable, ReCode, and The Verge.
New York Magazine “The Awl shuts down”
The Awl — a small network of websites, including the Hairpin, the Billfold, and the namesake flagship — announced that it will cease publication at the end of the month, the latest in a string of small websites with loyal followings unable to find a sustainable business model in a rapidly changing digital-media industry. See also TechCrunch and The Verge.
Engadget “Spotify's revamped podcasts will include more photos and video”
Spotify announced the launch of a new multimedia format called Spotlight that will pair photos and videos with podcasts, audiobooks, and other audio content – at launch Spotlight will include content from BuzzFeed News, Cheddar, Crooked Media, Gimlet Media, and Refinery29, among others.
Reuters “Exclusive: Amazon Studios to cut back on indie films in programing shift: sources”
Amazon reportedly plans to shift resources from independent films to more commercial projects — having established itself in Hollywood with high-brow and award-winning films, its new strategy will pursue programming that can attract more people to its Prime shopping and streaming service. See also Engadget.
NPR “NPR and Edison Research release 'The Smart Audio Report'”
NPR and Edison Research’s Smart Audio Report finds that 70% of smart speaker owners say they are listening to more audio at home since acquiring their device and eight in ten parents say the devices have made it easier to entertain their children – the report is based on a national online survey of 1620 Americans with just under half owning a smart speaker. See also The Drum.