Read for Later – “Willing to intentionally chart a different course…and develop a more concerted and, perhaps, radical strategy"

This week’s headline is excerpted from Women’s Media Center president Julie Burton's introduction to the new "Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2017" report showing that the majority of news coverage in the United States is still written or produced by men. Burton's clarity and determination is applicable to many futures, whether libraries or the power structures of journalism.

Two news items of particular interest:

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

ReCode "The U.S. will be hit worse by job automation than other major economies"
A new study from PwC finds that nearly 40% of jobs in the U.S. may be vulnerable to replacement by robots in the next fifteen years, while other advanced economies have fewer jobs at risk because more workers in the U.S. are employed in positions that require routinized tasks.

Bloomberg “Uber to suspend autonomous tests after Arizona accident”
Uber is suspending its self-driving car program after one of its autonomous vehicles was involved in a high-impact crash when another car failed to yield for the Uber car, causing the autonomous vehicle to flip on its side, according to the police report. See also CNET, Engadget, Mashable, The New York Times, Quartz, ReCode, TechCrunch and again, The Verge, The Washington Post, and Wired.

Cities and Government

TechCrunch "Facebook’s new ‘Town Hall’ feature helps you find and contact your government reps"
Recently added to the Facebook mobile app’s ‘More’ menu, Town Hall allows users to enter their address and see a list of government representatives, including U.S. House and Senate representatives, state legislators, governor, local council members and mayor, as well as those in other federal positions, with Facebook Pages and other contact information.

The Verge "Airbnb, Lyft, and 56 other tech companies file brief opposing Trumpís revised travel ban"
A group of 58 companies, including Lyft, Airbnb, and Dropbox, are protesting the Trump administration’s revised travel ban on majority-Muslim countries, submitting an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit filed by the state of Hawaii. See also ReCode.


Vocativ "Fewer babies are dying in US, but gains aren’t equal"
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a 15% decline in the infant mortality rate in the United States between 2005 and 2014, though African Americans still have the highest rates in the nation and Native Americans saw the smallest decrease over the last decade.

Vulture “Sesame Street introducing a Muppet with autism”
Transitioning a character from an online-only Digital Storybook, Sesame Street will introduce its newest Muppet, Julia, who has autism, developed in consultation with autism organizations, educators, and families to accurately portray a child with autism and explain the condition to young children. See also CNET, Fast Company, Mashable and again, Mic, Scientific American, and The Verge.

1843 Magazine “Escape to another world”
Video games and other leisure activities have become an important part of young people’s lives, especially for those who may be struggling to find full-time or steady employment since the recession. 


Motherboard "Why American farmers are hacking their tractors with Ukrainian firmware"
Working around a John Deere license agreement that forbids nearly all repair and modification to their farming equipment, U.S. farmers have started hacking their equipment with firmware that's cracked in Eastern Europe and traded on invite-only online forums. See also CNET.


Inside Higher Ed "'The library has never been more important'"
Arizona State University will spend over $100 million over the next few years to renovate and rethink its libraries – expanding the library resources and services available to its roughly 26,000 degree-seeking online students, embedding staff at innovation centers and in support of instructional design, and focusing space on smaller thematic exhibits and events.

Governing "Can a small college save its small town?"
A growing number of liberal arts colleges are investing in the downtowns of their communities, renovating buildings and relocating services to bridge the physical gap between campuses and downtowns and becoming more involved in initiatives ranging from economic development to educating local residents.

Vocativ "40% of American universities report drop in international applicants"
A survey released by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) shows 40% of U.S. colleges and universities experiencing a decline in international applicants for the fall of 2017, with the highest rates of decline in applications from the Middle East. See also The Atlantic.

The Atlantic “A striking number of college students are hungry and homeless”
A new report from the Wisconsin HOPE Lab surveyed 33,000 students across 70 community colleges in 24 U.S. states, finding that two-thirds are “food insecure,” meaning they have limited or uncertain access to nutritionally adequate and safe foods, and half of those students are also “housing insecure,” meaning they are forced to move often or cannot afford rent or utilities.

TechCrunch " grants $50 million to nonprofits striving for equal access in education", the philanthropic arm of Google, is donating $50 million to education tech nonprofits – the money and in-kind services will support organizations working to bring quality educational materials and teacher training to students in developing nations. See also CNET.

EdSurge News "A new architecture for the university campus of the future"
An interesting interview with representatives from Bryant University, where a new innovation center allows students to break into groups and brainstorm concepts with integrated technology and moveable furniture and faculty to present material in nontraditional formats beyond the strict lecture.

Campus Technology "Wearables, Netflix streaming hit campus bandwidth hard"
The Association for College and University Technology Advancement (ACUTA) and Association of College and University Housing Officers-International (ACUHO-I) annual "State of ResNet" report finds that wearable devices and streaming video are among the top issues for bandwidth consumption – academic applications including online learning tools and digital textbooks placed far lower on the list.

Quartz "That 12-year-old screaming at you while playing ‘Call of Duty’ might actually be gaming for school"
An interesting look at how mainstream games are being used in university and high school classes to teach history and other subjects.


Vice "How libraries are making comic conventions accessible"
Comic cons can be popular but expensive experiences – so a number of public libraries are stepping in with conventions, services, and programs centered on comic books and graphic novels that are accessible to a wider segment of the community.

The Internet

The Verge "Google built a new app so your kids can have a Google account, too"
Google’s Family Link app lets parents create a Google account for children that can be managed and monitored, including setting a bedtime for use and remotely locking the device. See also Mashable and again.

Vocativ "Up to 15 percent of Twitter users are bots, study says"
A new study from Indiana University and the University of Southern California analyzed active English-speaking Twitter accounts for features and behaviors typically associated with bots, finding that up to 15% of users are bot accounts.

Engadget "Instagram will start blurring 'sensitive' photos in your feed"
As it works to reduce abuse on its platform, Instagram will begin blurring images deemed "sensitive" based on reports from users of images that don't technically violate the service's guidelines – tapping the screen will allow users to see the full image. See also Consumerist.

Mashable “LGBTQ+ YouTubers demand answers after videos hidden in 'restricted mode’”
YouTube’s "restricted mode" hid some popular LGBTQ+ vloggers’ content, leading to accusations that YouTube was implicitly categorizing their material as not "family-friendly." See also CNET, Mashable, Mic, TubeFilter, and The Verge.

Journalism and News

Poynter "The majority of U.S. news is still produced by men, new report finds"
A new report from the Women's Media Center finds that the majority of news coverage in the United States is still written or produced by men – at 20 of the U.S's top media outlets, men produce about 62.3% of news coverage.

Spaces, Retail, and Restaurants

The Guardian “All under one roof: how malls and cities are becoming indistinguishable”
A new breed of urban shopping mall is integrating itself seamlessly into urban surroundings, sidewalks and trees leading directly into shops and restaurants around open plazas – desirable public spaces that serve commercial interests.

Bloomberg "U.S. stores are too big, boring and expensive"
Large retail stores are facing declining traffic and sales, suffering from the combined effects of too much retail space in many markets, rapidly changing trends that cannot be accommodated by fixed construction and store arrangements, and growing consumer interest in experiences over just stuff.

PSFK "Convenience store works entirely without employees"
A new convenience store concept in Sweden and Shanghai, Wheelys 247 uses an artificial intelligence to greet customers and grant them access – users must first download the company’s app and have a credit card saved to their account before entering the store and can then scan the bar code of the items they wish to purchase and leave.

The Verge "Hit hard by digital sales, GameStop is looking to close up to 150 stores this year"
Facing declining sales in games and hardware and a growth in digital sales, retail chain GameStop announced that it could potentially close at least 150 of its 7,500 stores.

Streaming Media

Quartz “The average young American binge-watches TV for five hours straight”
A new survey from Deloitte finds that 73% of Americans binge-watch videos, either on a TV or another device – with over 90% of millennials reporting binge-watching and 38% of those millennials reporting binge-watching every week.

CNET "Twitter, Turner and CBS Sports launch NCAA pregame show"
Twitter will stream a 30-minute pregame show focusing on fans of the NCAA Tournament, part of a partnership with Turner Sports and CBS Sports.

The Drum "Turner and Snapchat create ‘Live Stories’ for March Madness"
Snapchat will partner with Turner Sports to create ‘Live Stories’ around college basketball’s March Madness, sharing live content from games and allowing users to contribute their unique perspectives through video and photo Snaps to one collective Story.

TechCrunch "VICE is the latest to produce original shows for Snapchat, starting with a dating series"
Vice will produce original shows for Snapchat, starting with a reality show about dating, ‘Hungry Hearts with Action Bronson.’

Fader "Chance The Rapper detailed his Apple relationship to defend his independence"
In a series of tweets, Chance The Rapper detailed his relationship with Apple Music, stating that Apple paid him $500,000 for two weeks of exclusivity for his mixtape Coloring Book on Apple Music before the content was available on other platforms for free. See also The Drum, Engadget, and The Verge.

Pitchfork "Spotify announces first ever weather-triggered song release"
In a partnership with The North Face, Spotify is making White Denim’s new, rain-themed song ‘No Nee Ta Slode Aln’ available only in U.S. regions receiving rainfall, using the platform’s geotargeting technology to determine which markets to push the song to.

The Verge "Netflix is testing a button for skipping the opening credits"
Netflix is testing a button to allow users to skip the opening credits on some television shows, including credits at the beginning of a show and those after an intro.

The Verge "Netflix will explore mobile-specific cuts of its original series"
Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt said that the company plans to explore streaming mobile-specific cuts of its original movies and TV shows, taking a master copy and making a different cut for mobile with scenes or shots that are more easily visible or immersive on a mobile phone.

The Verge “Netflix is ditching five-star ratings in favor of a thumbs-up”
In an attempt to increase participation among reviewers - and help gather more user data - Netflix will change its ratings system from a traditional five-star rating to a thumbs-up / thumbs-down system. See also Consumerist, The Drum, Engadget, Fast Company, Gizmodo, Inc., Mashable, TechCrunch, Variety, and Vocativ.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Bloomberg "Apple’s next big thing: augmented reality"
Apple is reportedly investing in augmented reality, with a new team of hardware and software veterans and talented outsiders, including individuals who worked on the Oculus and HoloLens virtual reality headsets sold by Facebook and Microsoft – resulting products could include digital spectacles that could connect wirelessly to an iPhone as well as AR features built into future iPhones.

Glossy "Sephora is betting big on augmented reality for beauty"
Beauty retailer Sephora is working with augmented reality platform ModiFace to break down virtual makeup application into step-by-step layering process tutorials, matching the user’s face shape and skin tone to instructions overlayed on the image. See also The Verge.

Digiday "The Washington Post preps its augmented reality push"
The Washington Post will expand its use of augmented reality, building AR into its two apps and launching its first AR story in the spring, with subsequent articles released once per quarter.

Engadget "Lowe's is using AR and VR to make how-to easier"
Home improvement store Lowe’s will continue to expand virtual and augmented reality in its stores, utilizing Lenovo Phab 2 Pro – an AR-enabled smartphone – to allow customers to navigate around stores and introducing a "Holoroom How-To" virtual reality series to teach customers various home improvement projects using an HTC Vive.