This week's headline comes from a new report from the Data & Society Research Institute and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, “How Youth Navigate the News Landscape.” It's a fascinating read, reminding us that young people are so often at the front lines of change and that they are redefining traditional ideas of news, authority, and trust.
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
The Verge "Facebook leverages artificial intelligence for suicide prevention"
Facebook is partnering with organizations like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the National Eating Disorder Association, and the Crisis Text Line to put Facebook Live users directly in touch with a mental health expert in real-time if their live stream is reported or flagged for concerning content – using data from reported posts, Facebook will use AI technology to spot patterns between flagged items, identifying posts that suggest that the user may be suicidal. See also CNET, Consumerist, Engadget, TechCrunch, USA Today, and Vocativ.
Cities and Government
CNET "Trump signs laws to promote women in STEM"
U.S. President Donald Trump signed the Inspire Act (Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers Women Act), directing NASA to promote STEM fields to women and girls and encourage women to pursue careers in aerospace, and the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act, authorizing the National Science Foundation to support entrepreneurial programs aimed at women.
CNN "US suspends expedited processing of H-1B visas"
The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services will temporarily suspend expedited processing of H-1B visas effective April 3rd, eliminating the option of shorter wait times for the program that helps highly skilled foreigners work at US companies. See also Engadget, GeekWire, Mic, Quartz and again, and The Verge.
The Daily Dot "At least 16 Jewish Community Centers targeted with bomb threats"
In the fifth wave of threats this year, at least 16 Jewish Community Centers and day schools across the United States had to be evacuated due to bomb threats.
TechCrunch "As Supreme Court case nears, tech takes a stand for transgender rights"
Led by Apple, fifty-four tech companies signed an amicus brief in support of transgender student Gavin Grimm in anticipation of the first case on transgender rights to make its way to the Supreme Court – the case has since been sent back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit after the Trump administration revoked federal guidance issued by the Obama administration. See also Engadget.
Vocativ "Forget Legos, kids are getting smartphones for their eighth birthday"
Nielsen’s fourth-quarter 2016 Mobile Kids Report looked at the age that kids get their first smartphone with a full service plan (voice, messaging, data), finding that 45% of kids get their smartphone at age 10 while 31% of kids get their devices at even younger ages, with 16% at age 8 and 15% at age 9 – all younger from 2012 when the average age at which kids got their first smartphone was 12.
Gizmodo "Yelp will now help users find gender neutral bathrooms"
Yelp announced new features to search for and list businesses that have a gender neutral bathroom (a single-stall bathroom accessible by any gender). See also CNET, Mashable, and Mic.
Mashable "Japan is planning toilets for all genders at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics"
Tokyo will install universal-use toilets for all genders in Olympic and Paralympic venues ahead of the 2020 games.
ReCode "Virginia is the first state to pass a law allowing robots to deliver straight to your door"
Virginia is the first state to pass legislation allowing delivery robots to operate on sidewalks and crosswalks across the state – the law doesn’t require robots to stay within line of sight of a person in control, but a person is required to at least remotely monitor the robot and take over if it goes awry. See also ArsTechnica, Engadget, and Mashable.
The Verge "Bob’s Burgers is using fan art to make its eighth season premiere"
The animated series Bob’s Burgers will premiere its new season with an episode created with fan art – fans can submit fan art in three categories: title sequence animations, static background panels, and static character panels.
CNET "Trump's address to Congress sets Twitter activity record"
U.S. President Donald Trump's speech to congress set a record for tweets sent during a presidential address to Congress – 3 million tweets were recorded, surpassing the 2.6 million tweets sent during former President Barack Obama's State of the Union address in January 2015.
TechCrunch "Facebook adds a travel-planning feature called ‘City Guides’"
Facebook will add a City Guides feature to the “More” menu inside the Facebook app, providing a list of cities, notes about which of your friends have visited, and various recommendations of places to go and things to do extracted from users’ check-ins and Facebook posts.
Journalism and News
Knight Foundation "How youth navigate the news landscape"
A new report, “How Youth Navigate the News Landscape,” produced by the Data & Society Research Institute and supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, finds that teens and young adults express low levels of trust in the news media and use a variety of strategies to confirm, verify, and clarify the stories they care about. See also Nieman Lab.
Poynter "Press freedom organizations are teaming up to start a news site"
A coalition of organizations including the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, and the Index on Censorship will launch a news site to track press freedom violations in the United States.
Digiday "Huffington Post tries newsletter-only content to woo teens"
As Huffington Post reaches out to teenagers, it will launch The Tea, a weekly newsletter targeted at female Generation Z readers with exclusive interview content that will only live in an email available to subscribers.
TechCrunch "The Associated Press’ plan to put hyperlocal data in the hands of reporters"
The Associated Press will continue its efforts to make data available to local reporters, including a partnership with Data.world that will centralize public and private data for reporters to create better context and explore more granular, local, data for storytelling.
ReCode "Facebook has started to flag fake news stories"
Facebook has started pinning a “disputed” tag on fake news along with links to fact-checking sites explaining why it’s not true – “disputed” stories are established after users have reported the story as fake or Facebook’s software has to caught something odd about it; the story has been sent to some of the organizations that have signed on to provide free fact-checking, like Snopes and Politifact; and the fact checkers agree that the content is disputed. See also Gizmodo and Mashable.
Play and Toys
Engadget "Connected teddy bears leaked kids' voices online"
Security researchers have discovered that Spiral Toys' connected toys line, CloudPets, stored kids' voice messages to their parents along with other personal information in an insecure, misconfigured database and that the databases were compromised by hackers. See also Mashable, Motherboard, and The Verge
Spaces, Retail, and Restaurants
The Columbus Dispatch "Wendy’s to install ordering kiosks in 1,000 stores this year"
Restaurant chain Wendy's plans to install self-ordering kiosks in 1,000 locations by the end of the year – the kiosks have proven popular among younger customers and for franchise owners interested in reducing labor costs.
Chicago Tribune "McDonald's aims to win customers back with mobile ordering, curbside pickup"
McDonald’s will offer customers the option of ordering and paying by mobile phone via the McDonald's mobile app and picking food up curbside, services it will unveil at all U.S. restaurants by the end of the year in a push to rebuild customer loyalty through convenience. See also Consumerist.
USA Today "Retail chain Family Christian plans close after 85 years"
Retailer Family Christian will close its 240 stores selling Christian-themed books and merchandise, following declining sales since filing for bankruptcy protection in 2015.
TechCrunch "People now watch 1 billion hours of YouTube per day"
YouTube viewers in aggregate watch over a billion hours of video clips per day – around 8 minutes per day per human. See also The Daily Dot and The Drum.
Advertising Age "YouTube TV arrives to take on Hulu, Netflix and traditional pay television"
YouTube TV, a $35 a month service, will launch with 40 networks, including all the major broadcast networks and cable channels such as ESPN, Disney, and FXX, streaming live broadcasts and cable feeds to subscribers. See also Bloomberg, The Drum, GeekWire, Mashable, ReCode, TechCrunch, TubeFilter, The Verge, and Wired.
Reuters "Music service Spotify tweets it now has 50 million paid subscribers"
Spotify reported 50 million paid subscribers, a rise of 25% in the most recent six months and extending its lead over closest rival Apple Music. See also CNET, The Drum, Engadget, TechCrunch, and The Verge.
The Verge "Watch the first trailer for Netflix’s first German show, Dark"
Netflix continues its push for international content with new German, Italian, and Spanish productions announced as part of a $1.75 billion wave of new projects coming to the service from Europe.
Mashable "Twitter will live stream more than a dozen esports tournaments in 2017"
Twitter will partner with esports tournament organizations ESL and DreamHack to stream more than 15 ESL One, Intel Extreme Masters (IEM), and DreamHack tournaments throughout 2017 as well as an original 30-minute weekly esports highlights show. See also TechCrunch and The Verge.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
The New York Times "Popularity of Sony’s PlayStation VR surprises even the company"
Sony’s PlayStation VR headset has been scarce in many stores since it went on sale in October, due in no small part to its popularity – consumers have purchased 915,000 units as of mid-February, outpacing Sony’s original sales goal of one million in the first six months.
TechCrunch "Oculus slashes price of Rift headset + Touch controllers to $598"
Facebook and Oculus are looking to widen access to the Rift headset and Touch motion controllers, dropping their prices by $100 bringing the bundled price of the two VR products to $598. See also Engadget.
The Verge "Google has shipped over 10 million Cardboard VR headsets"
Google announced that it has shipped 10 million of its Cardboard virtual reality viewers since their debut in 2014. See also TechCrunch.
ReCode "Amazon plans to release new Alexa devices that can make phone calls and work as intercoms"
Amazon is reportedly working on Alexa-powered devices that will allow people to initiate phone calls by voice and allow users to talk with other users on another Alexa device. See also Engadget and GeekWire.
Time "Exclusive: Amazon developing advanced voice-recognition for Alexa"
Amazon is reportedly developing a feature that would allow the Alexa voice assistant to distinguish between individual users based on their voices, matching the person speaking to a voice sample, or “voice print,” to verify identity. See also The Drum, Engadget, Mashable, and The Verge.
GeekWire "Amazon establishes Alexa Fund Fellowship to support universities researching voice technology"
Amazon announced a partnership with four universities - Carnegie Mellon, Johns Hopkins, University of Southern California, and University of Waterloo – for an Alexa Fund Fellowship, providing funding, access to Alexa devices, and mentoring from an Alexa science team member to develop courses and research focusing on voice technologies like text-to-speech, natural language processing, automatic speech recognition, and conversational artificial intelligence.
The Washington Post "How millions of kids are being shaped by know-it-all voice assistants"
An interesting look at the social effects of voice recognition technology, as children turn to gadgets like Amazon’s Alexa to settle dinner table disputes, answer homework questions, and entertain friends at sleepover parties.