Stories build emotional intelligence. Adult coloring (and other activities) helps build community. Subject experts have the answers. Library professionals facilitate group learning.
Some things aren’t news. But it’s nice to see them in the news, presented in new and different ways.
In addition to the above, some interesting pieces about high schoolers’ preparedness for college and careers, the evolution (and sometimes exclusion) of streaming services, and trust and diversity in the sharing economy.
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 let us know what you're reading this week to help think about later.
Artificial Intelligence and Learning Machines
The Povi doll uses machine learning and an ‘emotional intelligence content platform’ to deliver an evolving collection of stories and conversational recordings to help children express their emotions, face challenges, and problem solve (PSFK “This artificially intelligent toy helps children with their emotional development”).
Sometimes, there’s nothing like a subject expert. The Brooklyn Museum’s ASK Brooklyn Museum app lets visitors ask questions about pieces in the museums while members of the Audience Engagement team work to find the right answer (PSFK “Museum guide feels like AI but is powered by humans”).
Books, Publishing, and Media
Add another movie streaming service to the mix. FilmStruck is a partnership between Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Collection that will offer “a comprehensive and constantly refreshed library of films comprised of an eclectic mix of contemporary and classic arthouse, indie, foreign and cult films” (The Daily Dot “TCM and Criterion will offer classic films with new streaming service”). See also Engadget, Gizmodo, The New York Times, Slate, TechCrunch, and Vocativ.
A number of black TV shows - “Living Single,” “Girlfriends,” “Sanford and Son,” “Everybody Hates Chris,” “The Steve Harvey Show,” “Sister, Sister,” “What’s Happening!!,” “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper,” “Roc,” and more – are missing from streaming services, whether because rights to these shows haven’t been included in the package deals signed by studios and streaming services or because streaming services have decided that black shows aren’t part of their audience growth strategy (The Washington Post “Why are so many great black TV shows missing from streaming services?”).
Snapchat will partner with NBC to share highlights from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio inside the app’s Discover section (Re/Code “Snapchat will show you Olympics highlights. What about Facebook and Twitter?”). See also CNET.
Twitter had previously announced deal with the NFL to stream 10 Thursday Night Football games and followed up this week with news that they were contacted by almost every other sports league in the world about similar partnerships – offering content producers a very unique opportunity to reach a young, mobile, and global audience and integrate streaming content with live tweets, commentary, and conversations (Geekwire “Twitter CEO says ‘almost every sports league in the world contacted us’ after inking NFL deal”).
According to the “Affordable Space: How Rising Commercial Rents Are Threatening Independent Businesses and What Cities Are Doing About It” report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), commercial rents have skyrocketed by double-digit percentages over the last year, leaving many independent retailers concerned and many cities working to protect local business (NextCity “How cities are protecting small neighborhood shops”).
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s “NYC Millennials in Recession and Recovery” report shows that the city’s 1.6 million millennials contend with real wages that are lower than they were for the previous generation even as entry-level positions increasingly require college education that is more expensive than ever before, meaning that young people need to go to college in order to compete for jobs they’re overqualified for and that don’t pay well enough to settle their debts (NextCity “New York City has a millennials problem”).
A BBC World Service poll finds a greater number of people identifying as global rather than national citizens, particularly among those in emerging economies who see themselves as outward looking and internationally minded – by contrast citizens of industrialized nations seem to be heading in the opposite direction since the 2008 economic downturn (BBC “Identity 2016: 'Global citizenship' rising, poll suggests”).
“Nones,” the religiously unaffiliated, are the second largest religious group in North America and most of Europe and are growing significantly, potentially affecting how people think about death, how they teach their kids, and even how they vote (National Geographic “The world's newest major religion: no religion”).
In 2015, high school seniors’ average scores in reading and math dropped one point from 2013, according to results from the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress, but less than 40% of students scored at what the NAEP determines as college and career ready, meaning that a large group of high school graduates may not be ready to succeed in college and beyond (NPR “Most high school seniors aren't college or career ready, says 'Nation's Report Card’”).
A great look at the partnership between Chicago Public Library and Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) to provide Learning Circles, designed to bring learners together in person to take an online course together over six to eight weeks with the help of a facilitator librarian who promotes discussion and helps learners less familiar with research tools (Mind/Shift “Online Learning: Why libraries could be the key to MOOCs’ success”).
Two years in, the president’s My Brother's Keeper initiative has spread to over 250 communities across country to help corporations, foundations, and government agencies create “pathways from cradle to college and career,” aimed around six key readiness milestones: ensuring all students enter school ready to learn; helping them to read on grade level by third grade; focusing on graduating students from high school ready for college and career; pushing the completion of some sort of postsecondary education or training; ensuring they successfully enter the workforce; and reducing violence and providing a second chance (Education Dive “Two years after founding, 'My Brother's Keeper' shows signs of success”).
Wired’s Next List 2016 offers a quick and easy look at people, projects, and issues (encryption, diversity, augmented reality, drones, etc.) that point o possible futures (Wired “25 Geniuses who are creating the future of business”).
Take Back the Tech! (TBTT) is a growing movement of women in 16 countries working with technology companies (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to reclaim online space, make the internet safer and more representative, and help women thrive and change the world (TechCrunch “Pushing back against sexism, this is a new era for women online”). Because there are 200 million fewer women online than men, meaning men have more chance to present their own perspective online and hold even more power over women, the group is particularly interested in getting more women online and trained in new technologies so they can have a louder voice.
In Chinese immigrant communities across the country, especially among affluent students with mobile phones and lower English language proficiency, a parallel system of Chinese-language apps and websites (Chihuo a Chinese food-centric Yelp or Zagat; 2RedBeans a Chinese dating site; ETAcar, a Chinese version of Uber; and ToGo626.com, a food delivery app) help address language and cultural barriers that immigrants experience in life and on the internet (The Los Angeles Times “A parallel Chinese-language internet helps immigrants navigate life in America”).
The Sharing Economy
Among the most significant societal changes brought about by the growing sharing economy is the growing premium on trust, necessitating that participants build and demonstrate trust as the currency for sharing (TechCrunch “The future is the trust economy”).
But within this trust economy, there are still problems, like those experienced by Quirtina Crittenden, who experienced numerous declined booking requests on Airbnb and started to wonder if it had something to do with her race. Crittenden’s hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack elicited responses from other African Americans with similar experiences and fit within Harvard Business School researchers’ findings that Airbnb requests with African American sounding names were roughly 16% less likely to be accepted than the exact same rental requests submitted with white-sounding names (NPR “#AirbnbWhileBlack: How hidden bias shapes the sharing economy”).
Something many libraries already know – the rise of adult coloring may be rooted in a need for community and connection, allowing participants to learn more about who their neighbors are, what they do, and what brought them together in the first place (PSFK “What’s behind the adult coloring book movement?”).
Samsung is currently testing Bedtime VR Stories, designed to let parents and children read bedtime stories and interact in a virtual reality environment even when the child and storyteller are miles apart (Gizmodo “Virtual reality bedtime lets you ditch the kids at home”). See also Engadget and TechCrunch.
Following a similar distribution in October 2015, The New York Times will send Google Cardboard viewers to 300,000 digital-only subscribers chosen "based on the duration of their subscriptions" in advance of the release of a new VR feature "Seeking Pluto’s Frigid Heart" (Poynter “The New York Times will send Google Cardboard to 300,000 subscribers”). See also CNET, Engadget, TechCrunch, and The Verge.