This week’s headline is from Harvard psychologist Daniel Schacter quoted in a fascinating article from Nature exploring the ways that social networks may be changing how we form and perpetuate memories as individuals and as groups.
A quick note that there will not be a post next week as I will be out of the office. Expect a new post – with double the info, maybe – the week of March 27th.
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.
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 “Parking ticket chat bot now helps refugees claim asylum”
Chat bot lawyer, DoNotPay, will begin helping refugees find a home in a new country as creator Joshua Browder adapts the AI to offer aid to asylum seekers in the US and Canada and asylum support in the UK – DoNotPay will automatically delete information within 10 minutes of completing a transaction. See also The Guardian, Mashable, and Vocativ.
Cities and Government
Mic “Congress warns Donald Trump not to delete his tweets now that he's president”
In a letter to the White House counsel, U.S. Representatives Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) of the House Oversight Committee warned that tweets could count as government records, and when President Donald Trump deletes his, he might be in violation of federal record-keeping laws. See also The Huffington Post and Mashable.
ReCode “Uber says it won’t use its ‘Greyball’ tool to evade local authorities anymore”
Uber will no longer use its Greyball technology, which allowed the company to create phantom rides for specific users as a way to both track and evade law enforcement, to evade local regulators in markets where it was not yet legally operating – the technology will continue to be used as a means of testing new features. See also The Drum, Mashable, Quartz, The Verge, and Vocativ.
The Atlantic “The Trump administration's dramatic narrowing of its travel ban”
U.S. President Donald Trump replaced his controversial ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries with a scaled-back version which narrows its scope to only six countries—Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen—for 90 days for those who do not already hold a valid visa, effective one minute after midnight on March 16. See also GeekWire, Mic and again, The Verge, Vocativ, and The Washington Post.
Vocativ “Advocates, lawyers head back to airports in wake of new travel ban”
Even with changes and a more extended implementation schedule, the new immigration order has raised concerns for immigration advocates and activists, educational institutions, and technology companies. See also CNET, Inside Higher Education, The Verge, and Wired.
Mic “Hawaii is the first state to take Donald Trump to court over new Muslim ban”
States have also begun to challenge the immigration ban, with Hawaii’s, Washington’s, and Massachusetts’ attorneys general filing suits against the order. Vocativ and again.
Mashable "Facebook hosts 24-hour livestream event for International Women's Day"
In honor of International Women's Day, Facebook hosted a global livestream with women entrepreneurs, policy makers, and leaders and promoted the hashtag #SheMeansBusiness to collect and share other female-focused live videos.
Mashable "Why these news sites aren't publishing a single article for 24 hours"
Several magazines and news sites including The Cut, Bustle, and Jezebel, marked International Women's Day by either suspending publication or only publishing content from their male staff members.
Mic "IMDb's new F rating will flag woman-focused movies for users — and it has some flaws"
Movie database IMDb will adopt a new system called the F rating to identify and flag movies with focus on women – with either a female writer, director, or prominent character – a system first promoted by Holly Tarquini, director of the Bath Film Festival, to help moviegoers looking for women-focused pictures. See also Engadget and Mashable.
Pew Research Center "Led by Baby Boomers, divorce rates climb for America’s 50+ population"
“Gray divorce” is on the rise as U.S. adults ages 50 and older have experienced a near doubling in their divorce rates since the 1990s – in 2015, for every 1,000 married persons ages 50 and older, 10 divorced according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau.
Vocativ "Pollution kills millions of little kids a year, says World Health Org"
New reports from the World Health Organization point to the vulnerability of very young children to environmental pollution, with their developing organs and immune systems vulnerable to infections, parasites, and the effects of pollution.
Nature "How Facebook, fake news and friends are warping your memory"
A longer read focusing on the ways that the internet and social networks are changing the collective memory of society, blurring the line between individual and collective memories and leading individuals to conform to a majority recollection, even if it is wrong.
CNET “Amazon.com will now come in Spanish, too”
Amazon has started to roll out a new Spanish-language option on Amazon.com, allowing users to toggle between English and Spanish on the site. See also Consumerist, Engadget, and The Verge.
Journalism and News
Poynter "7 newsrooms closed their PolitiFact chapters since the presidential campaign"
Facing limited resources and an increased reporting demand since the election, seven statewide partners have ceased their PolitiFact operations.
The New York Times “WikiLeaks releases trove of alleged C.I.A. hacking documents”
In the largest leak of C.I.A documents in history, WikiLeaks released what it has called Valut 7, featuring thousands of highly technical pages describing sophisticated software tools and techniques used by the agency to break into smartphones, internet services, computers, and even Internet-connected devices. See also ArsTechnica, BBC, Bloomberg, Engadget, Mic and again, The New York Times, TechCrunch, Quartz, Reuters, Slate, and Wired.
Consumerist “Apple, Samsung say they’ve already fixed issues revealed in WikiLeaks documents”
The WikiLeaks release prompted many of the companies behind the products mentioned in the report, including Apple, Google, and Samsung, to come forward and clarify or resolve vulnerabilities. See also CNET, Consumerist, Engadget and again, Mashable, TechCrunch and again, The Verge and again, and Wired and again.
ArsTechnica “Did Alexa hear a murder? We may finally find out”
Amazon will provide prosecutors with cloud-stored data from its Alexa Voice Service for use as evidence in an Arkansas murder case after the defendant agreed to allow Amazon to forward his Echo's data – the decision leaves the legal standard for when data from an Echo or other Internet of Things devices can be used in a court of law unanswered. See also BBC, CNET, Consumerist, Engadget, GeekWire, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, and The Verge.
Science and Technology
Mashable "IBM fit an entire bit of data on a magnet made with a single atom"
IBM researchers have published findings from their creation of the world's smallest magnet using a solitary atom — the development could lead to new data storage systems that could store 1,000 times more information in the same amount of space.
Spaces, Retail, and Restaurants
Engadget “Amazon Prime is now available in Mexico”
Two years after it launched in Mexico, Amazon will expand its offerings by providing online shoppers with its Prime Service for unlimited free shipping and streaming video through Amazon Prime. See also GeekWire and TechCrunch.
Consumerist "Streaming subscription audience has surpassed pay-TV subscribers in U.S., claims survey"
"The Changing Landscape for Video and Content", a new report from the Consumer Technology Association, formerly the Consumer Electronics Association, shows that 68% of Americans are subscribed to some sort of streaming video service, putting it just ahead of the 67% of the country subscribed to a pay-TV package – additionally, Americans are now spending almost as much time watching video on non-TV devices (phones, computers, tablets) as they are on their television sets.
Vocativ "One day you might choose the ending to a Netflix show"
Netflix is experimenting with interactive storytelling technology that would allow users to decide how the story of selected original TV shows and movies unfolds – the interactive technology is already in use for the kid series Kong: King of the Apes, where viewers can collect power ups throughout the episode that unlock extra footage at the end. See also PSFK.
ArsTechnica “Facebook signs deal with MLS, Univision to stream live soccer games”
Facebook will partner with Major League Soccer and Univision to provide an English-language live stream of at least 22 regular-season games during the 2017 MLS season. See also CNET, The Drum, Engadget, Mashable, and TechCrunch.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
TechCrunch "Facebook debuts its first dedicated virtual reality app, Facebook 360"
Facebook launched its first dedicated VR app, Facebook 360, to serve as a hub for 360 degree video and photo content and featuring four main feeds – an “Explore” tab for 360 content popular across Facebook from a variety of media companies and creators; a “Following” tab for content produced by friends; a “Saved” tab to collect content for later viewing; and a “Timeline” to view photos and videos all in one place. See also CNET and The Drum.
The Verge "CNN launches global VR journalism unit and new 360-degree mobile content"
CNN announced a new unit dedicated to virtual reality, CNNVR, including correspondents in 12 cities around the world set to feature 360-degree video content for the network’s iOS and Android apps. See also Engadget.
Mashable "Vimeo is finally giving filmmakers the ability to upload (and sell) their 360 videos"
Streaming video platform Vimeo will allow filmmakers to upload 360-degree videos in up to 8K for high-res videos and offer "360 Video School" to help creators learn the basics and access in-depth tutorials on 360 cameras, pre-production, shooting, and editing. See also CNET and The Hollywood Reporter.
Mashable "Patagonia and Google look to defend public lands with stunning VR film series"
Outdoor clothing company Patagonia has partnered with Google to create This Is Bears Ears National Monument, an "interactive film experience" with 360-degree videos, immersive visuals, and Street View maps of the area in southeastern Utah that is the sacred home to five Native American tribes, a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts, and the location of tens of thousands of archaeological sites.
The Verge "Google and Levi’s Project Jacquard jacket has restored my faith in wearables"
Levi’s in partnership with Google’s Project Jacquard debuted a new jacket with conductive fibers that are woven directly into the cloth so that motions register as touch inputs that can be sent to a smartphone – the initial launch will provide basic utility like map updates or the ability change a song on Spotify as more functions are introduced later. See also Engadget and The Verge.