Read for Later - "In this day and age, representation is extremely important… People want to be acknowledged and recognized"

I’m quoting an insightful young woman in this week’s subject line who sent a proposal to the Unicode Consortium for the inclusion of a headscarf emoji that would be reflective of her group of friends. That drive for acknowledgement and recognition can be seen in several trends this week, including the introduction of Snapchat’s new Spectacles product, or the broadening of election information via streaming platforms, or even the growing niche segments in ride hailing services.  

Three reminders:

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.

Books, Media, and Publishing

Netflix executives indicated large-scale plans for original program, stating that the company is on a “multiyear transition and evolution toward more of our own content,” building from 450 hours of original content in 2015 to 600 hours in 2016 (Vocativ "Netflix wants half its library to be original programming"). See also ArsTechnica, CNET, Consumerist, Engadget, TechCrunch, The Verge.

Spectacles, the first hardware product from Snap Inc. (formerly Snapchat), allow users to tap a button near the glasses’ hinge to record up to 10 seconds of video from a first-person vantage (The Wall Street Journal "Snapchat releases first hardware product, Spectacles"). See also ArsTechnica, CNET, The Daily Dot, Engadget, Gizmodo, Mashable, ReCode, TechCrunch, The Verge.

Serial Box publishes stories like a TV network releases series, one “episode” a week, each penned by a different writer, requiring a little under an hour to be read, with options to buy installments individually or by subscription (Wired "This ebook publisher doesn’t have authors. it has writers’ rooms").  

First Draft, an initiative supported by Google, will work with a partner network of over 30 news organizations and technology companies to share best practices on how to verify true news stories and stop the spread of fake ones, improving the sourcing and verification of stories from social media (Nieman Lab "Facebook, Twitter, and 30 other orgs join First Draft’s partner network to help stop the spread of fake news"). 

Time Inc. will launch its first streaming video network based on content from its popular entertainment magazines, People and Entertainment Weekly (CNET "Time Inc. readies streaming TV network").  

“Spoken Editions,” a new content category in iTunes, are short-form podcasts that offer an audio version of a publisher’s written or print content (TechCrunch "Apple’s iTunes soon to serve up “Spoken Editions” of publishers’ content"). 

iHeartRadio will venture into subscription content with two new subscription options – the first providing existing online radio offering with elements of on-demand listening and the second a full music subscription service similar to Spotify, Apple Music, or Tidal (Mashable "iHeartRadio is jumping into the subscription music business"). See also CNET

Researchers have used text analysis of 5,000 fiction titles published over the last 30 years and machine classification algorithms to isolate the features most common in bestsellers, part of a larger movement in the publishing industry to replace editorial instinct with data-driven decisions (Wired "Algorithms could save book publishing—but ruin novels"). 

Cities and Government

Several tech enhancements in the run-up to this year’s US presidential elections.

The presidential debates will be livestreamed across several platforms - Facebook working with ABC News and Twitter with Bloomberg Politics (Nieman Lab "Facebook and Twitter are both livestreaming the presidential and vice presidential debates"). For Facebook streaming, see also Engadget, Mashable, TechCrunch, and The Verge. For Twitter streaming, see also Engadget, ReCode, and TechCrunch.

YouTube will livestream the presidential debates from PBS, NBCUniversal’s Telemundo, and The Washington Post (Variety "YouTube to livestream 2016 presidential debates from PBS, Telemundo, Washington Post").

NBC will work with AltspaceVR on a series of election-themed virtual reality events, including debate watch parties, Q&A’s with political experts, political comedy shows, and more (TechCrunch "NBC will stream the debates and other election coverage in VR, starting tonight").

Facebook and Google will provide data to this year’s US presidential debate moderators, including what people are searching and saying about the election, the candidates, and the issues (ComputerWorld "Facebook, Google gather questions for presidential debates"). See also Gizmodo.

LinkNYC, the public kiosks that have replaced telephone booths across New York City, will remove web browsing functionality from their built-in tablets after complaints that people were monopolizing them for extended periods and watching inappropriate content on them – other kiosk and tablet features including phone calls, maps, device charging, and access to 311 and 911 will remain available (CityLab "LinkNYC internet pulled from free wi-fi kiosks due to porn").  See also Bloomberg, The Daily Dot, Motherboard, Mashable, The New York Post, and TechCrunch.

The president of the European Union’s executive branch announced a plan to install wireless internet in the public spaces of “every European village and every city” by 2020 with fully deployed 5G across the European Union by 2025 (Slate "The crazy-ambitious, maybe-impossible plan to install free wi-fi across the European Union"). See also CNET


The diversity of emojis continues to expand, this time via a 15 year-old’s proposal to the Unicode Consortium to include a headscarf emoji – Rayouf Alhumedhi believes that “representation is extremely important” and people want to be “recognized, especially in the tech world” (BBC "Headscarf emoji proposed by 15-year-old Saudi girl").  See also CNET, The Daily Dot, Fusion, Motherboard, and The Verge


UPS worked with drone maker CyPhy Works to complete a test delivery of medical supplies via unmanned aircraft, delivering an inhaler from Beverly, Mass., to a child attending summer camp on Children’s Island, located about three miles off the Atlantic coast and unreachable by car (ReCode "UPS successfully delivered medical supplies by drone to an island off the Atlantic coast").  See also CNET, Engadget, TechCrunch, and Vocativ.

The Economy

Entrepreneurship, as measured by the rate of new-business formation, has declined in each decade since the 1970s and today’s adults under 35 are on track to be the least entrepreneurial generation on record, coinciding with a rise of several large and profitable superstar companies that dominate their industries (The Atlantic "America’s monopoly problem"). 


Our colleagues at the New Media Consortium and the Consortium for School Networking have released the NMC/CoSN Horizon Report > 2016 K-12 Edition.

The image of young, educated twenty-something languishing in unpaid internships or underemployed in jobs that don’t require a college degree may be changing as more young college graduates are now finding good jobs in their twenties, but there are noticeable differences in the prospects for STEM graduates versus those with liberal arts degrees (The Atlantic "Fear of a college-educated barista"). 

The XQ Institute will fund ten schools with $10 million grants to rethink the American high school – innovating everything from standard class periods, to grade levels, to integration with social service providers, and extended school days (The New York Times "$100 Million awarded in contest to rethink U.S. high schools").  

Many HBCUs have seen enrollment increase – freshman enrollment is up 49% at Shaw University, 39% at South Carolina State, 32% at Tuskegee University, 30% at Virginia State University, 22% at Dillard University, 22% at Central State University, 20% at Florida Memorial University, and 19% at Delaware State University – as African American students seek safe and inclusive learning spaces (The Washington Post "Enrollments surge at historically black colleges amid rise in racial tensions").

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights will require schools to report the number of incidents involving religious-based bullying and harassment as part of a broader initiative to address religious discrimination in public schools (The Huffington Post "The U.S. has started tracking religious discrimination in schools"). 

Sharing Economy

Lyft co-founder and President John Zimmer announced in a Medium post that “autonomous vehicle fleets will quickly become widespread and will account for the majority of Lyft rides within 5 years” as private car ownership in cities declines and future generations bypass car ownership (Vocativ "Lyft co-founder: Most rides will soon be driverless"). See also Consumerist, Geekwire, and Mashable.

See Jane Go, part of a growing niche of the sharing and ride hailing services aimed at women drivers and passengers, has officially launched (TechCrunch "See Jane Go live today"). See also The Daily Dot

Virtual Reality

Google has expanded its Cardboard Camera application, which allows you to create 3D 360-degree photos using your mobile device’s camera, to the iOS platform along with a new social sharing feature that allows users to send photos in messages, emails, or post to the web (TechCrunch "Google’s new iOS app Cardboard Camera lets you snap VR photos to share with friends").