This week's headline quotes Sara Goldrick-Rab, a professor of higher education policy and sociology at Temple University in Philadelphia, on the growing popularity of community colleges among students from middle- and upper-middle-class families (The New York Times "Middle-class families increasingly look to community colleges").
A reminder - the call for proposals for the 2018 Future of Libraries Fellowship is now open. The fellowship offers a stipend of $10,000 to advance new ideas and perspectives for the future of libraries through the creation of a public product that will help library professionals envision the future. We look forward to many exciting project proposals - the deadline is May 15th.
You can always check out the Center's trend collection to see how this scanning comes together to identify trends relevant to our futures - including our newest entry on Co-Working/Co-Living. 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.
BuzzFeedNews “YouTube Kids is going to release a whitelisted, non-algorithmic version of its app”
YouTube will release a new version of its YouTube Kids app that displays videos from channels that a team of YouTube curators handpicks – the version will be available alongside the existing algorithmic version. See also Engadget, Mashable, and The Verge.
The Atlantic "The scientific paper is obsolete"
As scientific discovery and results are increasingly achieved through the help of computers and software, the scientific paper, once an innovation in and of itself, may need to move from the confines of narrative text, pictures, charts, and graphs to incorporate more interactive diagrams, algorithms, and programs that show readers the systems that produced the findings.
The New York Times "Middle-class families increasingly look to community colleges"
As middle- and upper-middle-class families face college prices in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, more of them are looking to community colleges as a way to attain an affordable college education – a 2017 study that looked at tax records and college attendance data found that hundreds of two-year colleges are now magnets for well-off students, with many community colleges experiencing notable increases.
Poynter "Local news is shrinking from the Sinclair effect"
New research from Emory University professors examined 7.5 million transcript segments from 743 local news stations, finding stark differences between stations owned by the nation’s largest local broadcasting chain, the Sinclair Broadcast Group, and other stations – Sinclair stations, on average, carried about a third less local politics coverage and a quarter more national politics, including content the local stations are forced to run. The report comes as Sinclair faces increased scrutiny following a coordinated effort by the company to have local TV station anchors record a segment about “the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country.”
Fast Company "The NBA’s autism-friendly N.Y.C. store is a slam dunk"
The National Basketball Association and KultureCity, a nonprofit that makes public spaces friendlier for people with autism and other sensory processing disorders, have partnered on several projects to create sensory-inclusive spaces at NBA stadiums and arenas and have now launched a New York City NBA Store outfitted with more inclusive features, including sensory bags to distribute, special exits to help individuals exit over-stimulating areas, and training to help associates be on the lookout for signs that someone has special sensory needs.
Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Learning Machines
The New York Times "‘The Business of War’: Google employees protest work for the Pentagon"
Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company’s involvement in Project Maven, a Pentagon program that uses artificial intelligence to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes. See also The Verge.
The Verge "This wearable device can respond to your thoughts"
MIT researchers have created an early-phase wearable device called AlterEgo that can recognize nonverbal prompts, essentially “reading your mind” by noting neuromuscular signals in the user's jaw and face that are triggered by internal verbalizations (aka saying words in your head) but can’t be seen by the human eye – a machine learning system analyzes the signals and begins to associate specific signals with words. See also The Guardian, New Scientist, and TechCrunch.
Cities and Government
The New York Times "Building a connected city from the ground up"
Union Point, a planned smart city 12 miles south of Boston, will be developed by LStar Ventures in partnership with General Electric, integrating driverless shuttle services, heated sidewalks, and a super-resilient energy grid in a community of thousands of housing units and millions of square feet of high-tech commercial space.
The Washington Post "Utah’s ‘free-range parenting’ law said to be first in the nation"
Utah’s “free-range parenting” law exempts from the definition of child neglect various activities children can do without supervision, permitting “a child, whose basic needs are met and who is of sufficient age and maturity to avoid harm or unreasonable risk of harm, to engage in independent activities,” including letting children “walk, run or bike to and from school, travel to commercial or recreational facilities, play outside and remain at home unattended” – under the law, state child-welfare authorities can no longer take children away from their parents if their kids are caught doing those various activities alone, as long as the children are adequately fed, clothed, and cared for.
Communities and Demographics
The Verge "Meet Fribo, a robot built for lonely young people"
Fribos are robots that can be distributed across a group of friends’ houses to encourage them to text and call one another as the robot monitors users’ activity – the researchers behind Fribo presented a paper describing the work and the results of four groups of young people who tested the robots over a month. See also DigitalTrends.
Mashable "Millennials destroyed the rules of written English – and created something better"
Millennials have found new ways to express themselves in written English on social media, utilizing deliberately misspelled words, stripped down words and punctuation, and misused grammar to convey tone, nuance, humor, and mood that would normally be conveyed in spoken English or by body language.
The Chronicle of Higher Education "Students want faster degrees. Colleges are responding."
Several universities are responding to students’, parents’, and administrators’ complaints about the time and money required to graduate by developing three-year bachelors’ degrees that let ambitious students take additional credits per semester or in intersessions – at Purdue University, one of the schools profiled, out-of-state students could save nearly $20,000 and in-state students could save $9,000 through the program.
Governing "Can apprenticeships train the workforce of the future? States hope so."
A growing number of states are turning to apprenticeships as a potential solution to their labor shortages, adding programs for manufacturing and construction, banking, cybersecurity, accounting, and health care – companies register their programs with either the U.S. Department of Labor or a state labor agency and participants get paid by the employer while they receive training at work and in an educational setting at a college or trade school, with an end goal of the apprentice receiving a job and an industry-recognized credential based on passing some kind of assessment.
The Verge “Google is equipping more rural school buses with Wi-Fi and Chromebooks”
Google announced an expansion of its Rolling Study Halls initiative to over 16 additional school districts, giving students access to Wi-Fi and Chromebooks on their bus rides before and after school to complete assignments or study for exams.
TechCrunch “Facebook retracted Zuckerberg’s messages from recipients’ inboxes” and “Facebook plans to let everyone unsend messages, will stop Zuckerberg until then”
Facebook allowed company exectuives to delete Messenger messages from users’ inboxes, even as other replies in the exchange remained and without notifying the recipient of the removal – after these delete features were discovered, the company now says that it plans to launch an “unsend” feature for Facebook messages to all users in the next several months. See also ArsTechnica and again, Bloomberg, Business Insider, CNET, The Daily Dot, Digital Trends, Engadget, Fast Company, Gizmodo and again, Motherboard, TechSpot and again, The Verge and again, and Wired.
ReCode "Facebook says Cambridge Analytica may have had data from as many as 87 million people"
Facebook now reports that the data firm Cambridge Analytica, which collected data about users without their permission, may have collected data on as many as 87 million people, an increase from original estimates of 50 million. See also Advertising Age, The Atlantic, CNET, The Inquirer, and Mashable.
Gizmodo "Mark Zuckerberg: Actually, we are going to roll out fancy EU privacy controls everywhere"
Mark Zuckerberg stated that the new controls for privacy settings required by EuropeanUnion’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) would be available to users globally - the statement clarified comments in a Reuters interview that Facebook was working on a version of the settings, but stopped short of committing to it as the standard for the social network across the world. See also ArsTechnica.
Bloomberg "Facebook scans the photos and links you send on messenger"
Facebook confirmed that the company scans links and images that people send each other on Facebook Messenger and reads chats when they’re flagged to moderators – while Messenger conversations are private, Facebook scans them and uses the same tools to prevent abuse there that it does on the social network more generally. See also Advertising Age, The Daily Dot, Digital Trends, and The Inquirer.
BuzzFeedNews “Grindr is letting other companies see user HIV status and location data”
Gay app Grindr, which has more than 3.6 million daily active users across the world, has been providing users’ information to two companies that help optimize apps, including user-submitted information on HIV status and testing dates and collected information like GPS data, phone ID, and email – the information is bundled together and is believed to be the result of developers failing to separate the sensitive private data from other data actually used by the other companies. Following the report, Grindr said it would stop sharing the HIV status information with other companies. See also The Daily Dot, Digital Trends, The Drum, and Fast Company and again.
CNBC “Facebook sent a doctor on a secret mission to ask hospitals to share patient data”
Facebook asked several major U.S. hospitals to share anonymized data about their patients, such as illnesses and prescription info, for a proposed research project that would match user data to help hospitals identify patients that might need special care or treatment – the project only progressed through planning phases and has been put on pause. See also Engadget, Fast Company, The Hill, The Inquirer, and The Verge.
Spaces, Retail, and Restaurants
Engadget “Walmart is adding 500 more 'Pickup Towers' to stores this year”
Walmart will expand its in-store "Pickup Towers" program for online orders, adding some 500 more across the country by year's end. See also TechCrunch, TechSpot, and The Verge.