This week's headline quotes Lindsay Ellis, whose YouTube channel features her video essays about popular films. While Ellis has always made longer videos that work for her style, a growing number of YouTube creators are now shifting to longer videos, seeking to increase their opportunities for advertising revenues and playing into YouTube’s algorithms that favor longer videos that keep viewers on the platform. (The Verge “YouTube videos keep getting longer”).
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 new information has sparked your interest? Drop me a line to let me know what you're reading or discovering that helps you consider the future of libraries.
The Wall Street Journal "Library e-book lending poses rising problem for publishing industry"
Macmillan plans to change the way it sells e-books to libraries, limiting each library system’s access to only one digital copy of each new book it publishes in the first eight weeks of the book’s release – the delay, known in publishing circles as “windowing,” is intended to boost the sale of new books by pushing readers to buy the books they want to read at retailers instead of dealing with long waiting periods that are likely to develop if libraries have only one digital copy. See also ALA's e-books landing page for more information about these developments and sample messages for an #eBooksForAll campaign on social media
Al Jazeera “All hail the algorithm”
A five-part video series exploring the impact of algorithms on society – how they work, their implications for trust and power, and how they change the relationships between people. See also The Wall Street Journal “Facebook and Google algorithms are secret—but Australia plans to change that”
Time “Oregon students can now take 'mental health days' home from school”
Oregon will allow students to take mental health days just as they would sick days, expanding the reasons for excused school absences to include mental or behavioral health under a new law.
The Verge “YouTube videos keep getting longer”
YouTube, where videos used to hover around seven or eight minutes, is now inundated with videos that are running longer and longer, a change that is partially due to what viewers are interested in, but also represents creators’ latest attempt to earn as much revenue as they can from their videos – not only are longer videos more valuable, but they’re favored by YouTube’s algorithm which prefers content that keeps people engaged, encouraging them to spend even more time on the site. See also Pew Research Center "A week in the life of popular YouTube channels”
MIT Technology Review “The New York Times thinks a blockchain could help stamp out fake news”
The New York Times has launched The News Provenance Project, which will experiment with ways to combat misinformation in the news media with a first project that will focus on using a blockchain to prove that photos are authentic.
Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Learning Machines
GeekWire “Microsoft invests $1 billion in OpenAI, vows to build AI tech platform of ‘unprecedented scale’”
Microsoft will invest $1 billion in OpenAI and work with the San Francisco-based artificial intelligence powerhouse to create a computational platform of “unprecedented scale” to accelerate the development of advanced forms of AI – formed in 2016 as a non-profit institution, OpenAI has announced plans to reinvent itself as a for-profit (or “capped profit”) company.
Government Technology “New York commission to study artificial intelligence, robots”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the creation of the New York State Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Automation Commission responsible for looking at current state laws relative to the new technologies, while also studying policies in other states, as it seeks to create a regulatory framework to deal with them.
Wired “UPS wants to go full-scale with its drone deliveries”
UPS is working to become the first commercial entity authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration to use autonomous delivery drones without any of the current restrictions that have governed the aerial testing it has done to date.
GeekWire “University of Washington lands $5 million to study fake news and misinformation”
The University of Washington announced a $5 million investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation that will fund a new Center for an Informed Public to study “how and why fake news, misinformation, and disinformation are created” – the Center will live at the UW Information School and is scheduled to open in the fall of 2019.
The Atlantic “No climate event in 2,000 years compares to what’s happening now”
A new study published in Nature [$] asserts that nothing resembling modern-day global warming has happened on Earth for at least the past 2,000 years – while the climate has sometimes naturally changed in some parts of the world, never did the temperature surge in the same direction everywhere at the same time.
Engadget “Alphabet's internet balloons have spent a million hours in the stratosphere”
Alphabet's Loon has recorded over 1 million hours of stratospheric flight for its internet-delivering balloons, covering about 24.9 million miles – the balloons use AI to change their altitude and ride currents to their destination, leading to routes that can be long and winding, but don't require massive amounts of energy. See also Wired “How Loon's balloons find their way to deliver the internet”
Internet of Things
“Google will give 100,000 Home Minis to people with paralysis”
Google will partner with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation to give away 100,000 Home Minis to people living with paralysis and their caregivers – the program seeks to expand the benefits of smart speakers to individuals for whom they might provide greater independence.
The Guardian “'Anonymised' data can never be totally anonymous, says study”
Anonymized datasets are supposed to have had all personally identifiable information removed from them, while retaining a core of useful information for researchers to operate on without fear of invading privacy, but in a new paper published in Nature Communications, researchers provide a model to estimate how easy it would be to deanonymize any arbitrary dataset – the researchers argue their results show that anonymization is not enough for companies to get around laws such as GDPR (general data protection regulation) and emphasize the need to move beyond the deidentification release-and-forget model.
The Guardian “Apple contractors 'regularly hear confidential details' on Siri recordings”
Although Apple does not explicitly disclose it in its consumer-facing privacy documentation, a small proportion of Siri recordings are passed on to contractors providing quality control for the company’s Siri voice assistant.
The Verge “Facebook design flaw let thousands of kids join chats with unauthorized users”
A design flaw in Facebook’s Messenger Kids app allowed children to enter group chats with unapproved strangers, violating the fundamental premise of the service that children shouldn’t be able to talk to users who haven’t been approved by their parents.
TechCrunch “Netflix launches Rs 199 ($2.8) mobile-only monthly plan in India”
Netflix introduced a lower-priced mobile tier in India that costs Rs 199 ($2.8) per month for usage of the service on one mobile device (and one concurrent stream) and only the standard definition viewing (~480p), but with several features such as the ability to cast (or mirror) the content to the TV restricted.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
CNET “Apple files for patent for mixed-reality headset”
Apple has filed a patent application for a mixed-reality system, featuring a head-mounted display and a controller that combine augmented reality and virtual reality, providing "3D virtual views of a user's environment augmented with virtual content." See also Variety "Apple patents gesture, expression tracking for mixed reality headset"
Restaurants, Retail, and Spaces
GeekWire “The Riveter launches 2020 presidential speaker series, hosting Buttigieg, Harris, and Gillibrand”
Female-focused co-working space The Riveter will launch The Riveter 2020: We Decide to host “every presidential candidate who supports women and equity” at one of The Riveter’s locations across the nation.
TechCrunch “Uber tests monthly subscription that combines Eats, rides, bikes and scooters”
Uber is actively testing a monthly subscription pass that combines its ride hailing, food delivery, and e-bike and electric scooter programs – the pass costs $24.99 per month and is being tested in different iterations in San Francisco and Chicago, including a fixed discount on every ride, free Uber Eats delivery, and free JUMP (bikes and scooters) rides.