This week’s headline comes from Mark Zuckerberg’s “Building Global Community” open letter, redefining the mission of the largest social network. In The Atlantic’s analysis of the manifesto’s implications for journalism, it pays special attention to Facebook’s future ambitions “for keeping us safe, for informing us, for civic engagement, and for inclusion of all” – all of which will likely pique the interest of those interested in the future of libraries.
You can always check out the Center's trend collection to see how this scanning comes together to identify trends relevant to our future work. Our latest entries look at Short Reading and Basic Income.
And as you scan through these articles, consider dropping me a line to let me know what you've read this week to help prepare for the future.
Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Learning Machines
Engadget "Watson-based cancer project paused after running aground"
The University of Texas' MD Anderson Cancer Center will suspend its Watson-powered Oncology Expert Advisor after an audit discovered both spending issues and an unfocused strategy that didn't meet goals. See also Forbes.
Cities and Government
CityLab "Berkeley to consider tiny houses for the homeless"
Berkeley’s city council voted to explore the feasibility of a “rapid and cost-effective” deployment of 160-square-foot “microunits” for seniors, disabled people, and the extremely poor.
Vogue "Emmanuelle Alt publishes a groundbreaking cover of transgender model Valentina Sampaio on French Vogue’s March 2017 issue"
French Vogue editor Emmanuelle Alt cast Valentina Sampaio, a young Brazilian model who just happens to be transgender, for the march cover, noting that it was important to celebrate those who are transgender and help move toward a time when gender identity was less of a factor in defining beauty.
New York Post "Millennials are ditching the first date for the bedroom"
Match.com’s always interesting annual Singles in America study finds that nearly half of millennials are likely to sleep with someone before a first date and that 57% of millennials feel lonely.
Quartz "The robot that takes your job should pay taxes, says Bill Gates"
Bill Gates suggested that a robot tax could help the government finance jobs in elder care or education, for which needs are unmet and to which humans are particularly well suited, expanding on an idea that those companies that introduce robots to replace workers would have to find ways to support the economically displaced population. See also CNET, The Drum, Engadget, MarketWatch, and Mashable.
Fast Company "The world's 50 most innovative companies of 2017"
The 10th edition of the magazine’s World's Most Innovative Companies features businesses using the “engine of commerce to make a difference in the world.”
BBC "No CEO: The Swedish company where nobody is in charge"
Swedish software consultancy Crisp, which has about 40 staff, operates without a CEO after trialing various organizational structures, including changing its chief executive annually – they instead use semi-annual four-day meetings for all staff to make decisions on issues that affect everyone and encourage workers to make decisions for themselves at other times.
BBC “Dubai announces passenger drone plans”
Dubai’s Roads and Transportation Agency announced "regular operations" for a drone that can carry people, beginning in July - the drone can carry one person (up to 220 pounds) for a 30 minute flight time and is "auto-piloted" from a command center. See also Consumerist, Engadget, ReCode, and TechCrunch.
The New York Times "Trump drops defense of Obama guidelines on transgender students"
The Trump administration will not challenge a nationwide injunction that has kept transgender students from using school bathrooms and other facilities that correspond with their gender identity, ending an effort mounted by the Obama administration that would have limited the reach of that order. See also Education Week and Teen Vogue.
NPR "These top schools are offering big savings on master's degrees, but there's a catch"
MIT, Columbia University, the University of Michigan, and the Rochester Institute of Technology are among a dozen universities offering MicroMasters certification, a series of online coursework that is not equivalent to a full degree, but that moves students closer to a degree at a fraction of the cost – and that can make students more appealing to employers.
MIT News "MIT and 16 others file amicus brief concerning executive order restricting travel to US"
MIT joined 16 other higher education institutions in an amicus brief expressing concerns over the impact of U.S. President Trump’s executive order restricting citizens of seven Middle Eastern countries from entering the U.S., including inflicting significant burdens on their students, faculty, and scholars; impeding the universities’ ability to fulfill their educational missions; and threatening harm to the U.S. economy if American universities cannot attract the best talent to their campuses to study and work. See also Independent.
GeekWire "In push for open access to research, Gates Foundation partners with ‘Science’ journals"
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a new partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), publishers of high-profile scientific journals like Science and Science Translational Medicine, to make research published in any AAAS journal and conducted by Gates-funded scientists available for free to access, read, and download as soon as it is published.
Engadget “Pixar opens a free Khan Academy course on storytelling”
Pixar’s "Art of Storytelling,” a free course through Khan Academy, is the latest installment in a series of free courses from the studio called "Pixar in a Box" and discusses ways to build worlds and characters and how to make sure stories reflect unique perspective. See also TechCrunch.
CNET “The Zuckerberg Manifesto: Facebook will save the world”
In a 5,700-word open letter published on his Facebook account, Mark Zuckerberg outlined a five-part mission for Facebook building communities that are supportive, safe, informed, civically engaged, and inclusive and citing global opportunities – spreading prosperity and freedom, promoting peace and understanding, lifting people out of poverty, and accelerating science – and great challenges – ending terrorism, fighting climate change, and preventing pandemics. See also The Atlantic, Engadget, GeekWire, Gizmodo, Inc., Mashable, Poynter, ReCode and again and again, Slate, TechCrunch and again, The Verge, and Wired.
ReCode “Facebook is rolling out job postings and applications”
A new Facebook feature will let employers post jobs directly to their Page, with users able to apply for those jobs through Facebook and sent to the employer via Messenger. See also Engadget, GeekWire, and Inc..
Advertising Age “Facebook videos will now play with the sound on by default”
Likely responding to pressure from marketers and advertisers, Facebook will adjust NewsFeed videos to automatically play with sound on, provided the device’s volume is turned up. See also Advertising Age, BBC, Engadget, GeekWire, ReCode, TechCrunch, and The Verge.
TechCrunch "Google Maps lets you save and share favorite places with launch of Lists"
New features in Google Maps allow users to make lists of places that can be starred, saved, and shared with friends as public or private or shared with a link. See also The Daily Dot, Engadget, and Mashable.
The Verge "YouTube will kill unskippable 30-second ads next year"
Google plans to end non-skippable 30-second ads that appear before a YouTube video in 2018, shifting its advertising strategy to more engaging formats. See also Mashable.
TechCrunch "Google expands fact-checked news to Brazil, Mexico & Argentina"
Google News’ fact-checked resources feature will expand to Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina allowing readers to more easily find links to reputable sources of factual information related to major new stories. See also CNET.
ArsTechnica "Google and Microsoft agree to demote piracy search results in the UK"
The UK’s Intellectual Property Office announced a landmark agreement on online pirated content wherein Google and Microsoft will reduce "the visibility of infringing content in search results by 1 June 2017." See also Mashable.
Play and Toys
The Daily Dot “American Girl just added a boy doll to its lineup”
Doll company American Girl will release its first ever boy doll, a drummer from Nashville named Logan Everett, part of the company’s effort to respond to customers asking for characters with, "more experiences, more diversity, more interests.” See also Mic.
Engadget “Barbie Hello Hologram is a tiny virtual friend for girls”
Barbie continues to innovate – Mattel’s latest version of the iconic doll is Barbie Hello Hologram, displaying Barbie into her own tiny holographic world and letting children talk to her directly, listen to jokes, dance, answer simple questions, keep a calendar, and even change her looks, though she can’t control anything or order from online. See also CNET, Mashable, and TechCrunch.
BBC “German parents told to destroy Cayla dolls over hacking fears”
Germany’s Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur), which oversees telecommunications, has told parents to destroy a talking doll called Cayla because its smart technology can reveal personal data - other international groups have received complaints, but have not taken such action. See also CNET, Inc., and Mashable.
Spaces, Retail, and Restaurants
Miami Herald "Robots and a magic school bus? Welcome to the library of the future."
Theme park designers Landmark Entertainment Group partnered with the city of Homestead to create the world’s first “Cybrary,” or cyber library – a vision of the future that includes librarians in unique costumes, a robot welcoming patrons to the building, augmented reality experiences, and a virtual reality cube.
1843 "Inside job"
The rise of autonomous cars shifts focus to vehicle interiors, where designers are considering screens that fold out from the doors, seats that recline flat, projected visuals, more transparency and glass, and the possibility for the car to become a new “third space.”
TechCrunch "Boston’s new hub, MassRobotics, is like a WeWork for robotics startups"
Boston’s Mass Technology Leadership Council will introduce MassRobotics, a facility for robotics startups featuring labs and equipment like industrial-grade oscilloscopes, 3D printers, aeroelectronics, and an enclosure for indoor drone testing.
PSFK "NYC announces a massive $136 million creative hub in Brooklyn"
The ‘Made in New York’ project will form a garment manufacturing hub and mixed-use campus for professional creatives at Brooklyn’s historic Bush Terminal, creating more than 1,500 permanent garment manufacturing jobs, which comprises 30 percent of the city’s manufacturing jobs and 5 percent of the city’s overall workforce.
The Verge “Amazon lowered its free shipping minimum to $35”
After raising its free two-day shipping minimum to $49 for non-Prime members, the online retailer has decided to drop the price back down to $35 as it works to compete with traditional retailers moving into the online retail space. See also Engadget.
Advertising Age "How the subscription economy will change the price we pay"
The popularity of personal, monthly subscription models – for video, music, or even food and home goods – could embolden companies to experiment with charging customers different prices and using alternate pricing plans, based on data and analytics that can maximize revenues and customer satisfaction.
Digiday "Spotify is looking for original podcasts"
Spotify is reportedly in talks to produce original podcasts focused on music, part of a longer-term play to become hubs for both music and spoken-word audio content.
Engadget "Chance the Rapper wins the first Grammy for a streaming-only album"
In the first year of Grammy eligibility for streaming-only albums, Chance the Rapper won Best Rap Album for Coloring Book, a collection of songs that weren't released as a physical album or sold digitally.
The Drum "Facebook to live-stream football in deal with Univision"
Facebook and Univision will livestream 46 football matches from Mexico’s Liga MX division, one of the most popular leagues for U.S. viewers.
The Drum "YouTube Kids to air original programming from creators like tween popstars L2M"
YouTube will introduce original programming for its YouTube kids app, developed by YouTube Red, the platform's streaming subscriber service, with four new series being hosted for children within the app's walls.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
The Drum "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia brought to life in VR episode Project Badass by FX and Jaunt"
Television network FX has partnered with virtual reality firm Jaunt on a four minute mini-episode of dark comedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia that plays in 360-degree video.