Our headline is from an article about future co-location of Chicago Public Library branches in three new Chicago Housing Authority residences for senior and mixed-income residents. It’s an exciting vision for how libraries will be an important part of the future of cities by integrating themselves into a host of new directions.
Please note, I’m trying a slightly new format with the articles below – see, I’m reading that survey feedback – to help improve this newsletter over the next few weeks. Thanks for your patience and understanding as we test things out.
Two quick items for your consideration:
- If you haven’t had a chance to check out the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services’ new blog, Intersections, I would encourage you to add it to your reading list. It’s a great look at the diverse perspectives that come together to shape our future work. And if you’d like to contribute your story to the blog, there’s an option for that, too.
- And if you have a chance, could you drop me a line to let me know if any of the articles we’ve featured in this newsletter have really grabbed your attention, made you think, or inspired a great conversation at work. We’d like to start sharing some more information about how we are all thinking about the future.
And 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.
Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Learning Machines
The Wall Street Journal "Washington Post to cover every major race on election day with help of artificial intelligence"
The Washington Post will use its Heliograf artificial intelligence program to cover every House, Senate and gubernatorial race in the country on election day, updating templates and pre-written previews as new data comes in and allowing reporters to focus on high-profile contests and add reporting, analysis, and color to stories that are deemed to be of particular note.
Nieman Lab "The New York Times is using a Facebook Messenger bot to send out election updates"
The New York Times released a Facebook Messenger bot that will cover the US presidential election with automated updates, dispatches from political reporter Nicholas Confessore, and the option for users to ask the bot for the Times’ projections for each state and a survey of recent national polls.
The Verge “All new Tesla cars now have hardware for ‘full self-driving capabilities’”
Tesla announced that all of its new cars will include the hardware for “full self-driving capabilities,” including 8 cameras with 360-degree viewing and 12 ultrasonic sensors – the company will need to “further calibrate the system using millions of miles of real-world driving” before it activates the technology for drivers. See also CNET, Fusion, GeekWire, Quartz, TechCrunch, and The Verge.
CNET “Tesla to buyers: No autonomous ridesharing for 'revenue purposes’”
All of that said, the self-driving capabilities come with an interesting disclaimer – "Please note also that using a self-driving Tesla for car sharing and ride hailing for friends and family is fine, but doing so for revenue purposes will only be permissible on the Tesla Network, details of which will be released next year" – prohibiting the technology from being used for profit and likely shielding the company from potentially complicated legal issues and liabilities from collisions involving self-driving cars. See also ArsTechnica, Engadget, Fusion, and Slate.
Books and Publishing
Digiday "Facebook-thirsty publishers turn to celebrities to worm into the news feed"
As Facebook limits the reach of its news feed to prioritize social connections, many publishers are turning to celebrities to influence clicks and views – a pay to post strategy that attracts emerging and established publishers.
Politico "Media vulnerable to election night cyber attack"
U.S. media organizations’ websites, communications systems, and even editing platforms could be vulnerable to cyberattacks, especially in the lead up to the election, and many outlets are turning to paper and pens for prep work.
Cities and Government
Chicago Tribune "Mayor wants to build architectural library gems in CHA housing"
Chicago Public Library and the Chicago Housing Authority will make a push for co-location, placing libraries in eye-catching works of architecture that will also house senior or mixed-income residents, helping to bring diverse citizens together and lessen the isolation of public housing residents.
The Chronicle of Higher Education "If colleges are dismantled, consider the impact on their cities"
The disruption in higher education has made it seem that the university’s services could be unbundled and replaced with virtual and distance technologies, but these ideas forget the important economic and cultural role that colleges and universities provide to their surrounding communities and cities.
The Verge “Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs aims to transform 16 cities into tech-friendly laboratories”
Google’s Sidewalk Labs and national advocacy group Transportation For America (T4A) will help 16 cities – Austin, Denver, Boston, Centennial (Colo.), Chattanooga, Lone Tree (Colo.), Los Angeles, Miami-Dade County, Madison (Wis.), Minneapolis / St. Paul, Nashville, Portland (Ore.), Sacramento, San Jose, Seattle, and Washington, DC – prepare for innovations like self-driving cars and ride-sharing apps.
Vocativ “Smithsonian launches $300,000 ‘Wizard Of Oz’ Kickstarter”
The Smithsonian has launched a new Kickstarter campaign to help guide the restoration and preservation of the 80-year-old ruby slippers possibly worn by Judy Garland as Dorothy in the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz,” seeking to fund the research and study needed to determine the prime conditions under which to display the shoes and how best to repair them. See also The Daily Dot.
Variety “‘Jessica Jones’ hires all women directors for season 2, showrunner says”
A reminder that who creates can be as important as what is created - all 13 episodes of the second season of Marvel’s Jessica Jones will be directed by women, following a lead set earlier this year when Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar, announced that it would have only female directors during its debut season. See also The Daily Dot, Gizmodo, Mashable, and The Verge.
Bloomberg "Pro sports leagues fly the rainbow flag"
More and more professional sports leagues are promoting themselves to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, seeking to grow their market, reflect social attitudes, and likely tap in to the LGBT community’s purchasing power and influence.
Engadget "Doctors relax rules on letting babies watch screens"
The American Academy of Pediatrics revised its guidelines for children's use of tablets, advising that children 18 months and older can watch "high-quality programming" so long as parents or caregivers are around to interact with them and children between 2 and 5 years can use screens for no more than an hour per day and only for carefully-screened programming. See also ArsTechnica and Motherboard.
TechCrunch “PBS debuts its own tablet for kids, the Playtime Pad”
With near perfect timing, PBS will promote its own branded tablet, called the Playtime Pad, to help bring its children’s television programming to a growing audience of children who spend more time with tablets than sitting in front of TV sets. See also CNET.
Time "The 30 most influential teens of 2016"
Yes, there are celebrities, but Time’s annual list of the most influential teens also includes artists, innovators, entrepreneurs, and athletes making a global impact and pushing the future.
Quartz "Sweden gives its “fixer” citizens tax breaks for repairing, not replacing, what’s broken"
A “fixer” movement, that seeks to repair and extend the lives of things rather than buying new things, is evident in “repair cafes” and websites like iFixit and may soon be supported by legislation in Sweden that would provide tax incentives for those who spend money to repair goods rather than buy something new.
The Atlantic "There is no excuse for how universities treat adjuncts"
The “contingent workforce”—defined as temporary and part-time workers and independent contractors—has grown steadily from 35.3% of the employed population in 2006 to 40.4% in 2010, and the practice is moving into the professional classes, including college teachers where nearly two-thirds of faculty are now non-tenure and half of those working only part-time.
eSchool News "Google’s computer science education study reveals ethnic, gender gaps"
A new report from Google and Gallup finds that female, African-American, and Hispanic students lag behind in computer science education, in pursuing computer science degrees, and in attaining computer science careers due to limited access to or awareness of computer science education programs.
Wired "What We Know About Friday’s Massive East Coast Internet Outage"
One of the big stories of the week – a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) disrupted internet service for much of the United States’ East Coast on Friday. The attack was aimed at Dyn, a provider of Domain Name System (DNS) services that resolves web addresses into the IP addresses needed to find and connect with the servers that deliver requested content, which, overwhelmed with lookup requests, rendered it incapable of completing any. Reports indicate that the attack was part of a genre of DDoS that infects Internet of Things devices that, once infected, become part of a botnet army delivering malicious traffic toward the target. See also ArsTechnica, The Atlantic, CNET, Consumerist, The Daily Dot, Engadget, Fast Company, Fusion, GeekWire, Gizmodo, Mashable and again and again and again, Motherboard and again, ReCode, Slate and again, TechCrunch, USA Today, The Verge and again, and Vocativ and again.
Mashable “How Facebook plans on helping you make plans this weekend”
Facebook introduced new features to let users more easily solicit friends' restaurant recommendations, buy tickets to Facebook-hosted events, and make appointments at local businesses, part of an effort to make the social network essential to people’s active lives. See also CNET, Consumerist, The Daily Dot, Engadget, Fast Company, GeekWire, Quartz, ReCode, TechCrunch, The Verge, and Wired.
The Daily Dot “You can now endorse Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on Facebook”
Facebook also introduced a new endorsement feature that allows users to officially support a political candidate, share the post with selected followers, and see which friends have publicly endorsed the same candidate. See also Engadget, TechCrunch, The Verge, and Vocativ.
Vocativ “Instagram now offers mental health support”
Instagram, in partnership with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the National Eating Disorder Association, has introduced a new feature that allows followers to flag the posts of users that may be showing signs of self-harm, sending the user a message that says “Someone saw one of your posts and thinks you might be going through a difficult time. If you need support, we’d like to help” and offering various options for getting help, including the option to talk to a friend, numbers for support hotlines, and advice for seeking mental health counseling. See also Engadget and Mashable.
Vox "Cities spent millions on fast gigabit networks. No one is sure what they're good for."
Several cities in the US invested in next-generation broadband networks that offer speeds of 1 gigabit per second — enough to support complex virtual reality environments or good-as-life teleconferencing – but after years of availability and significant investment, “killer” gigabit applications have not emerged and there are growing questions about its value over more incremental investment in broadband infrastructure.
Fusion "Twitter has failed at controlling horrifying anti-Semitism"
A report from the Anti-Defamation League notes a growing number of anti-Semitic tweets targeted at journalists over the course of this election year – and just 21% of the over 1,600 violating accounts have been suspended by Twitter. See also Poynter.
ArsTechnica "The perpetual lineup: Half of US adults in a face-recognition database"
A study by Georgetown University's Center on Privacy & Technology shows that almost half of American adults (117 million people) are in a face-recognition database used by one-fourth of the nation's law enforcement agencies, and use by those agencies is virtually unregulated. See also The Atlantic, Fast Company, Fusion, Reuters, Wired.
The Sharing Economy
ArsTechnica “NY governor approves fines for some rental ads—hours later, Airbnb sues”
New York will try to regulate home sharing services, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that will fine individuals who advertise short-term rentals that violate New York City's short-term rental laws – no surprise, Airbnb has filed a lawsuit challenging the law on the grounds that it violates Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects online platforms from liability for their users' statements, and that it is an "unjustifiable content-based restriction on speech" that violates the First Amendment. See also Engadget, Mashable, Skift and again and again, TechCrunch, The Verge, and Vocativ.
Wired "Uber, but for millennials who want orchestras in their living rooms"
Groupmuse pairs professional musicians and those studying in conservatories with hosts who volunteer to host strangers and the musicians in their home for two 25-minute sets of instrumental music, providing musicians with a new way to make money from private home concerts.
Variety “Half of millennials drop shows they think aren’t easy enough to watch”
Millennials' viewing habits are significantly influenced by on-demand access, with 54% of the millennials surveyed by TiVo reporting having stopped watching a show because it was too burdensome to access because not enough episodes were available to catch up on, episodes were behind a paywall or moved platforms, or the viewer encountered some other impediment. See also Vocativ.
The Wall Street Journal “Google signs up CBS for planned web TV service”
Google will carry CBS programming on its forthcoming web TV service, part of an aggressive plan to bring content from major networks to a new low-cost television option for those who have resisted subscribing to traditional pay-TV or cut the cord due to rising subscription costs. See also Consumerist, Reuters, TechCrunch, Variety, and The Verge.
ReCode “Now Amazon has a music exclusive, too: It’s the only place to stream Garth Brooks”
Amazon’s subscription Music Unlimited service will have the exclusive streaming rights for select music by Garth Brooks, one of the last big music acts who didn’t stream their work – Amazon will also be the exclusive seller of digital downloads for Brooks' music. See also CNET and GeekWire.
MIT Technology Review "If you’re searching for a house online, you might start seeing an option to view it in virtual reality"
San Francisco company Matterport has converted more than 250,000 3-D scans from its room scanner camera to allow 360-degree virtual-reality views of real estate listings and other locations.
Digiday "REI uses Facebook 360 video for multicultural campaign"
REI’s “Access Outdoors” campaign features three two-minute long Facebook 360-degree videos to target urban, multicultural millennials in Austin, Chicago and Los Angeles, following eight artists working on installations in the three cities with the goal of making the outdoors more accessible to young urbanites.
Fast Company “The NBA will broadcast live games in VR all season long”
The NBA will build on last year’s first-ever live VR broadcast of an NBA game by live-streaming a game a week for the 2016-2017 season, featuring each of its 30 teams at least once. See also The Daily Dot, Engadget, GeekWire, ReCode, and The Verge.
Engadget "Watch Samsung VR's first scripted series this weekend"
Samsung’s Virtual Reality platform has launched its first scripted series, Invisible.
TechCrunch “360 photos and videos are coming to Facebook’s Instant Articles”
Facebook’s Instant Articles will now support 360 videos and photos, allowing publishers to include 360 content in-line, which users can then navigate by turning their mobile device, or tapping and dragging.