This week’s headline quotes Elisabeth Goodridge, the New York Times’ editorial director of email and messaging, about the paper’s push for temporary “pop-up” newsletters that keep readers informed about a variety of topics, from Game of Thrones to summer in the city (Digiday “Why The New York Times likes short-run newsletters”).
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.
What have you read lately to help you think about the future? Consider dropping me a line to let me know what articles and reports you're reading that others might find of interest.
The Atlantic “The future of AI depends on high-school girls”
A look at several recruitment and immersion programs working to bring young women into the field of artificial intelligence, the technology that is driving what’s considered the fourth industrial revolution but which has exhibited signs of bias from the humans who have built it.
Wired “Trump can't block critics on Twitter. What does this mean for free speech?”
A federal judge ruled that President Donald Trump’s practice of blocking his critics on Twitter violates the First Amendment because the account serves as a public forum operated by the government, meaning viewpoint discrimination is strictly prohibited – legal scholars have noted the far-reaching implications, protecting all Americans' rights to communicate with elected leaders and government entities online. See also CNET, Engadget, Motherboard, TechCrunch, and The Verge.
Bloomberg “Why do Americans stay when their town has no future?”
In recent years, Americans have grown less likely to migrate for opportunity – 3% of Americans moved across state lines each year as recently as the early 1990s, but today the rate is half that, with fewer Americans moving in 2017 than in any year in at least a half-century.
CNN “Almost half of US families can't afford basics like rent and food”
A new study from the United Way’s ALICE Project finds that nearly 51 million households don't earn enough to afford a monthly budget that includes housing, food, child care, health care, transportation, and a cell phone – the figure includes the 16.1 million households living in poverty, as well as the 34.7 million families that the United Way has dubbed ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed).
Digiday “Why The New York Times likes short-run newsletters”
The New York Times’ latest newsletter, Summer in the City, will be delivered every week through Labor Day and offer ideas on things to do in the city each weekend – it is one of several temporary “pop-up” newsletters the paper has launched since its wildly popular Game of Thrones newsletter last year.
Cities and Governments
Government Technology “Startup in Residence aims to expand to 100 cities, announces newest local government projects”
The Startup in Residence (STiR) program, which matches tech companies with local government workers to help them solve public-sector problems, has expanded to 11 local governments since starting in San Francisco in 2014, with plans to grow to 100 local governments within five years.
Communities and Demographics
Curbed “The changing face of retirement: Apartment living, active lifestyles, and rural homes”
The growing population of older adults and their changing expectations around retirement will bring new challenges and opportunities for real estate, with urbanized developments offering seniors a greater sense of independence and more of the intergenerational connectedness they crave.
Pew Research Center “What unites and divides urban, suburban and rural communities” and “Key findings about American life in urban, suburban and rural areas”
A new Pew Research Center report explores changes between rural, suburban, and urban communities, including population growth, racial and ethnic composition, political outlook, financial optimism, and more. See also CityLab.
Economics and the Workplace
Fast Company “More U.S. businesses are becoming worker co-ops: Here’s why”
A growing portion (as many as 40%) of cooperative, employee-owned businesses are born out of traditional workplaces whose owners decide to sell the business to their employees – the trend is especially important as baby boomers, who own around 12 million businesses across the U.S., prepare to retire.
ReCode “Starbucks’s mobile payments system is so popular in the U.S., it has more users than Apple’s or Google’s”
By the end of 2018, a quarter of U.S. smartphone users (55 million people) over the age of 14 will make an in-store mobile payment, with Starbucks’s mobile payments app continuing to be the most popular. See also CNET and Quartz.
News and Publishing
The Verge “Elon Musk thinks you can crowdsource truth, but that’s not how the internet works”
Beginning with a tweet that took issue with a negative article about Tesla, Elon Musk launched a series of tweets proposing a crowdsourced site called Pravda, which would, in Musk’s words, let “the public [...] rate the core truth of any article & track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor & publication” – for many, the proposal fed into the current narrative of media skepticism that has divided communities. See also CNET, The Daily Dot, GeekWire, Mashable, and TechCrunch.
The New York Times “What the G.D.P.R., Europe’s tough new data law, means for you”
Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, also known as the G.D.P.R., has brought a range of changes to give internet users more control over what’s collected and shared about them, strengthening individual privacy rights and placing the threat of fines for companies that defy the regulation. See also BBC, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
The New York Times “Amazon pushes facial recognition to police. Critics see surveillance risk.”
The American Civil Liberties Union led a group of more than two dozen civil rights organizations asking Amazon to stop selling its image recognition system, called Rekognition, to law enforcement, concerned that police could use it to track protesters or others whom authorities deem suspicious, rather than limiting it to people committing crimes as it had originally been proposed for law enforcement agencies. See also ArsTechnica, Engadget, Fast Company, GeekWire, Gizmodo, Mashable, Motherboard, ReCode, TechCrunch, and The Verge.
The Verge “Barack and Michelle Obama will produce films and TV shows for Netflix”
President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama will begin producing content for Netflix under their company Higher Ground Productions, focusing on creating “a diverse mix of content, including the potential for scripted series, unscripted series, docuseries, documentaries, and features.” See also CNET, Engadget, Fast Company, GeekWire, Gizmodo, Mashable, ReCode, TechCrunch, and The Daily Dot.
Bloomberg “Spotify plans to change XXXTentacion policy after outcry”
Facing criticism from artists, music executives, and even some employees, Spotify announced plans to partially walk back a move to punish musicians for their personal misconduct – specific concerns arose around decisions related to XXXTentacion, a rapper charged with battering a pregnant woman. See also TechCrunch and The Verge.
The Guardian “Amazon's Alexa recorded private conversation and sent it to random contact”
An Alexa user from Portland, Oregon, reported having her device record conversations and deliver a recording to a random contact – while Amazon noted that it had “determined this was an extremely rare occurrence” they explained the incident stating, “Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like ‘Alexa’. Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a ‘send message’ request. At which point, Alexa said out loud ‘To whom?’ At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customer’s contact list. Alexa then asked out loud, ‘[contact name], right?’ Alexa then interpreted background conversation as ‘right’.” See also Advertising Age, ArsTechnica, CNET, Engadget and again, Mashable, TechCrunch, ReCode, and The Verge.