This week’s headline quotes 18-year-old Isabelle on her decision to turn away from social media when she began feeling that her classmates had become "zombified" – Isabelle is one of several young voices featured in a story about teens who refuse to use social media (The Guardian “Logged off: meet the teens who refuse to use social media”).
A quick note that we are launching a new monthly e-newsletter focused on smart communities and libraries’ possible roles in smart community development. Get Smart - Planning Libraries' Roles in Smart Communities will be produced by the Center for the Future of Libraries with CTG UAlbany as part of the IMLS -funded project “Enabling Smart, Inclusive, and Connected Communities: The Role of Public Libraries.” To sign up to receive Get Smart, please visit the subscription page.
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.
The Verge “California passes strongest net neutrality law in the country”
California’s legislature approved a bill that some have called the strongest net neutrality law in the US, banning internet providers from blocking and throttling legal content or prioritizing some sites and services over others – if it becomes law, it could raise challenges as the FCC made a rule prohibiting states from creating net neutrality laws.
The Guardian “Logged off: meet the teens who refuse to use social media”
A look at the young people for whom social media no longer holds an allure – according to a study by US marketing firm Hill Holliday of Generation Z (people born after 1995), half of those surveyed stated they had quit or were considering quitting at least one social media platform.
The Drum “Buzzfeed News peddles to readers in ‘quiet’ donations push to ‘support reporting’”
Buzzfeed News, the independent arm of its parent company Buzzfeed, has introduced an option for readers to donate money to support the site and its journalism – the donation system could be a first step toward a membership feature similar to that of Medium’s member-only publications and of startups The Information and The Athletic, which are strictly subscription-based viewership.
Eater “The end of ‘ladies first’ restaurant service”
Restaurants may be abandoning the traditional model of serving women first (clockwise around the table, before men are then served), instead seeking to provide thoughtful service without relying on gendered models of etiquette – many of these restaurants have eliminated language like “ladies and gentleman” and provide service clockwise around the table, regardless of guests’ gender.
Mashable “Google Assistant is bilingual at last”
At the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, Google announced Google Assistant’s new bilingual abilities, allowing users to adjust settings so that the assistant can seamlessly switch between two different languages in the same household or setting.
Books and Publishing
TechCrunch “Amazon’s children’s book subscription ‘Prime Book Box’ opens to all in the U.S.”
Amazon expanded its subscription-based Prime Book Box service to all Prime members in the U.S. – the $22.99 per box service offers a curated selection of kids’ books every 1, 2 or 3 months, at up to 35% off the list price.
Communities and Demographics
Fast Company “This app lets seniors book ‘grandkids on demand’”
The “grandkids on demand” app Papa pairs carefully vetted college students with seniors to help drive them to the grocery store and help shop, help with chores, or give them a simple training in technology – the app’s creator sees the service as a tool to combat loneliness in the older adult population.
The New York Times “Trump accuses Google of burying conservative news in search results” and Bloomberg “Trump says Google, Facebook, Amazon may be ‘antitrust situation’”
U.S. President Donald Trump, in a series of Twitter posts, attacked Google for what he claimed was an effort to intentionally suppress conservative news outlets supportive of his administration, escalating a conservative campaign against the internet industry that has become more pointed since Apple, Google, and Facebook removed content from Alex Jones and his InfoWars site. Continuing his criticism of technology firms, in an interview with Bloomberg News, the President said they may be in a “very antitrust situation” but repeatedly said he can’t comment publicly on whether they should be broken up. See also The Washington Post and Wired.
Journalism and News
The Atlantic “Trump has changed how teens view the news”
Younger generations of Americans may believe that news is biased and could be skeptical of its accuracy, increasingly questioning the credibility and value of traditional media organizations.
Restaurants, Retail, and Spaces
Mashable “Uber Eats wants to deliver your food with drones”
At the Uber Elevate Asia Pacific Expo in Japan, Uber unveiled new plans to explore Uber Eats delivery by drone, seeking new options to provide faster, cheaper, and more reliable food deliveries.
The Verge “A second Amazon Go cashier-less store has opened in downtown Seattle”
Amazon opened a second, smaller Amazon Go store in Seattle — the new location does not feature a working kitchen or a liquor section, but is designed to cater to office workers with products like baked goods, ready-to-eat meals, and Amazon’s own line of meal kits.
Transportation and Mobility
ArsTechnica “This city has a vision for mass transit that doesn’t involve city buses”
Arlington, Texas, often considered the largest American city without a conventional bus system, recently announced a new partnership with the self-driving car startup Drive.ai to provide shuttles that will circulate on public streets in Arlington's Entertainment District and a new on-demand service operated by Via, a competitor to Uber and Lyft, that will let residents use an app to request $3 rides anywhere in the city's service area, which includes Arlington's major stadiums, the University of Texas at Arlington, city hall, and at least three high schools.
The Financial Times “Uber plans shift from cars to bikes for shorter trips”
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi emphasized a shift from cars to electric bicycles and scooters for shorter journeys as part of the company’s long-term strategy for transforming inner-city travel – while this would mean fewer short rides for drivers, it could leave them to more long, higher-cost pick-ups on less congested roads.
CNET “Amazon making good on promise to put Alexa everywhere”
Daniel Rausch, Amazon's Vice President of Smart Home, revealed that Alexa was integrated into over 20,000 smart home devices produced by over 3,500 brand partners – Amazon continues to seek placement for the voice assistant in cars, office spaces, and hotels.