This week’s headline quotes Vinoth Chandar, the CEO of ChuChu TV, responsible for some of the most widely viewed toddler content on YouTube with more than 19 billion views for children’s videos that are simple, sunny, and consistent (The Atlantic “Raised by YouTube”).
The Washington Post “What happens to police departments that collect more fines? They solve fewer crimes.”
Researchers at Harvard, University of Memphis, and NYU find ($) that police departments in cities that collect a greater share of their revenue from fees, fines, and civilly forfeited assets have significantly lower rates of solving violent and property crimes – the dynamic of simultaneous overpolicing and underpolicing reduces the community’s trust in policing and in government more generally.
MIT Technology Review “New autonomous farm wants to produce food without human workers”
A profile of Iron Ox, an urban farm start-up that uses robots to help tend produce – the 8,000-square-foot indoor hydroponic facility will produce leafy greens at a rate of roughly 26,000 heads a year, the production level of a typical outdoor farm that might be five times bigger.
The Atlantic “Raised by YouTube”
A profile of ChuChu TV, the company responsible for some of the most widely viewed toddler content on YouTube, which, along with international children’s-media brands like Little Baby Bum, Animaccord, Videogyan, Billion Surprise Toys, TuTiTu TV, and LooLoo Kids, are challenging traditional competitors like Sesame Street, Disney, and Nickelodeon and America’s grip on children’s entertainment.
MIT Technology Review “The secret data collected by dockless bikes is helping cities map your movement”
Lime, the Silicon Valley startup that enables residents to rent electric bikes and scooters via a mobile app, provides city planning directors with a steady stream of data about bike activity that can be used to improve transit planning in those communities – vehicles transmit their location every few seconds using built-in GPS chips, 3G wireless connections, and solar power, along with user’s Lime app.
The New York Times “National Theater in London offers glasses with live subtitles”
The National Theater in London introduced “smart caption glasses” that display dialogue on the lenses as actors speak, available for all of the theater’s 2019 season – the glasses took two years to develop, use Wi-Fi to transmit subtitles, and use software that follows live speech and recognizes certain stage directions, like lighting changes, to ensure the subtitles appear in the right place.
Cities and Government
Venture Beat “LinkNYC’s 5 million users make 500,000 phone calls each month”
Two years after their deployment, New York’s network of 1,600 LinkNYC kiosks have hit a milestone with 1 billion Wi-Fi sessions, 5 million registered users, and 500,000 phone calls made each month.
Economics and the Workforce
Wired “These tech companies will need more women on their boards”
A new California law requires all publicly traded companies based in California to have at least one woman on their board by the end of 2019, and at least two women by the end of 2021, with boards of six or more members required to have three women – Annalisa Barrett, of Board Governance Research, says only 62 of the 439 California companies in the Russell 3000 stock index comply with the 2021 requirement.
NPR “The robots are coming to Las Vegas”
A profile of robots in Las Vegas, where properties like the Vdara Hotel and Spa are deploying delivery robots to transport items from the hotel's cafe to guestrooms – a recent study by the Institute for Spatial Economic Analysis (ISEA) found that two-thirds of all jobs in Las Vegas will most likely be automated by 2035.
Inside Higher Ed “New international graduate enrollments fall again”
First-time international graduate enrollments in U.S. institutions fell 3.7% from fall 2016 to fall 2017, according to a new report from the Council of Graduate Schools – institutions with the highest research productivity, by Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, saw no such decline, with their enrollments increasing by 3% year over year. See also Brookings.
The Atlantic “Google’s new tool to fight climate change”
Google’s new Environmental Insights Explorer helps city leaders focus and improve local climate programs by estimating greenhouse-gas emissions for individual cities and integrating proprietary estimates of a city’s annual driving, biking, and transit ridership, generated from information collected by Google Maps and Waze.
CNET “Democrats push for an Internet Bill of Rights to protect consumer privacy”
An Internet Bill of Rights that's been introduced by Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democrat who represents Silicon Valley, puts together a list of 10 principles, including protecting net neutrality, consumer choice for internet service providers, greater transparency in how data is collected online, timely notification when personal data has been accessed via hacks, and a provision requiring consumers to opt-in before online companies can collect data about them.
Restaurants, Retail, and Spaces
Motherboard “These screen-blocking glasses are ad-blockers for real life”
IRL Glasses use horizontal polarization to block LCD/LED screens to combat “isolation and disconnection” in screen-filled public spaces – the glasses are the creation of IRL, a global group of artists, designers, and technologists who want to bridge the gap between art objects that can also function as practical tools for controlling technology.
The Verge “Amazon raises minimum wage to $15 for all 350,000 US workers following criticism” and “Amazon eliminates monthly bonuses and stock grants after minimum wage increase” and “Amazon’s triumphant pay raise is also a political play”
Starting on November 1st, Amazon will pay all of its US employees a minimum wage of $15 an hour, including 250,000 full- and part-time employees and 100,000 seasonal workers. The company also said that it will be lobbying for an increase in the federal minimum wage, which is currently set at $7.25 an hour. The widely-publicized move comes at the expense of monthly bonuses and stock options, which several Amazon warehouse employees noted would actually result in the loss of thousands in incentive pay. The wage increase comes amid unprecedented political scrutiny of tech giants and responds to former employees and labor advocates who have spent years calling out Amazon for poor wages and inhumane working conditions.
Science and Technology
NextGov “White House unveils plan to dominate quantum technology”
The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy introduced a plan for strengthening U.S. leadership in quantum information science, the field of research that will support the next generation of supercomputing technology, with plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in quantum basic research.
Engadget “Spotify opens up its podcasts section to all”
Spotify announced plans to pilot a Spotify for Podcasters program that will offer podcasters the opportunity to make new episodes of their podcast available as soon as they are uploaded to an aggregator or host, allowing them to reach an audience on a platform with more than 180 million users.
Bloomberg “Netflix is planning a choose-your-own-adventure ‘Black Mirror’”
Netflix will continue to explore interactive TV by developing a slate of specials that will let viewers choose the next storyline in a TV episode or movie, including one episode of the upcoming season of Black Mirror.