This week’s headline quotes the motto for Pop Gym, a Brooklyn-based martial arts collective that brings self-defense classes to unexpected venues, including libraries, and to populations that may be marginalized in a traditional, hyper-masculine gym (Pacific Standard “In Brooklyn, a roving gym is building muscle and community”).
An overlooked note that I meant to share as we observed Veteran’s Day last week. New search features in Google allow service members to search 'jobs for veterans' and then enter their specific military job codes (MOS, AFSC, NEC, etc.) to see relevant civilian jobs that require similar skills to those used in their military roles (Grow with Google).
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 have you read lately to help you think about the future? Drop me a line to let me know what articles and reports you're reading that others might find of interest.
Bloomberg “Waymo to start first driverless car service next month”
Waymo, the secretive subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., is planning to launch the world’s first commercial driverless car service in early December, starting small with dozens or hundreds of authorized riders in the suburbs around Phoenix.
The Washington Post “Hate crimes rose 17 percent last year, according to new FBI data”
Reported hate crimes in America rose 17% last year, the third consecutive year that such crimes increased (7,175 hate crimes occurred in 2017, up from 6,121 in 2016), according to newly released FBI data that showed an even larger increase in anti-Semitic attacks.
Wired “Rural kids face an internet 'homework gap.' The FCC could help”
The “homework gap,” the disparity in at-home broadband that hinders millions of students’ access to the array of online learning, collaboration, and research tools enjoyed by their better-connected peers, has led many district leaders and student advocates to focus on statewide broadband initiatives that require federal approval for access to the electromagnetic spectrum that carries every wireless signal, from radio broadcasts to satellite communications. See also The New York Times “Why San Jose kids do homework in parking lots”.
Grub Street “More restaurants and cafés refuse to accept cash — that’s not a good thing”
Cash-free businesses create a gulf between those who can pay with credit and those who can’t – children, people who are paid in cash, or others who, for whatever reason, can’t or won’t open a bank account – and raise concerns that some establishments refuse to accept cash not just as a way to simplify operations, but as a way to shape the types of customers they serve.
Pacific Standard “In Brooklyn, a roving gym is building muscle and community”
Pop Gym, a Brooklyn-based collective of martial arts instructors who want to share their skills with the wider community, has hosted events in unexpected locations, including the Williamsburg branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, in its effort to reach people who might not step foot into a martial arts studio—and especially those who may be affected by violence.
Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Learning Machines
Engadget “Most Americans believe algorithms will always be biased”
A new Pew Research Center survey finds that 58% of American adults believe algorithms and other programming will always contain some kind of human bias – 63% of those over 50 didn't believe algorithms could be completely neutral and 48% of 18-29 year olds believed there would still be some bias.
TechCrunch “Ford partners with Walmart and Postmates to test autonomous grocery delivery”
Ford will partner with Walmart and Postmates to test the delivery of groceries and other goods using self-driving vehicles – the partnership will help Ford develop and test their self-driving vehicle system while also testing the business of a dedicated fleet of autonomous delivery vehicles.
Books and Reading
Engadget “Amazon adds kid-friendly audiobooks to FreeTime Unlimited”
Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited service, which gives parents control over their kids' screen time experience, will now include more than 1,000 kid-friendly stories from Audible – the service starts at $2.99 per month for Amazon Prime subscribers and offers a selection of books, videos, apps, and games that are appropriate for children from age three up to the tween years.
Communities and Demographics
The Washington Post “No longer just male or female: D.C. schools to give families a third option with ‘nonbinary’”
Washington, DC’s public school system will become among the first in the nation to let families select “nonbinary,” rather than just male or female, when indicating the gender of their child on enrollment forms – the enrollment forms will allow teachers to know which students in their classroom identify as nonbinary without families having to inform them.
ChalkBeat “They started as an experiment in rural areas. Now, mobile preschools are rolling into metro Denver.”
Having explored pilots in more rural areas of Colorado, preschools in specially equipped mobile classrooms, which travel to apartment complexes or mobile home parks a couple times per week, will expand into the northern Denver suburbs.
Journalism and News
Nieman Lab “Consumers love smart speakers. They don’t love news on smart speakers. (At least not yet.)”
A new report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism finds that smart speakers are frequently used for music and weather, but less for news and journalism – in the U.S., 38% of smart speaker users use the device for news at least monthly and 18% at least daily. See also VentureBeat “Here’s what people are really doing with their Alexa and Google Home assistants”.
Reuters “A new Venezuelan ID, created with China's ZTE, tracks citizen behavior”
In 2008, former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez dispatched Justice Ministry officials to China to learn the workings of that nation’s national identity card program – now, Venezuela’s new, smart-card ID known as the “carnet de la patria,” or “fatherland card,” transmits data about cardholders to computer servers, including family information, employment and income, medical history, presence on social media, and more.
BBC “Google accused of 'trust demolition' over health app”
DeepMind’s Streams health app, first used to provide alerts to nurses and doctors in a London hospital, will join Google’s Google Health division in a move many see as a violation of promises to never connect people's health data to Google.
Restaurants, Retail, and Spaces
CityLab “After the retail apocalypse, prepare for the property tax meltdown”
Big-box retailers are increasingly scrutinizing the local property tax assessment process, compelling small-town assessors and high-court judges to accept the novel argument that their stores should be valued like vacant “dark” stores – the side effects could include higher taxes for residents, fewer tax-funded public services, and possible public debt.
Advertising Age “YouTube is now showing ad-supported Hollywood movies”
YouTube has begun promoting ad-supported feature-length films available for free in the movie section where it has sold movies and shows for years – eventually, there could be a way for advertisers to pay to sponsor individual movies, giving users complimentary views and exclusive screenings.
Variety “Netflix confirms tests of cheaper, mobile-only streaming plans in multiple markets”
Netflix has launched trials of a lower-cost, mobile-only streaming plan, priced at around $4 per month in select countries, including Malaysia, as the company tries to appeal to smartphone-centric users in Asia.