Read for Later – “One piece of a bigger puzzle that we have to put together”

This week’s headline quotes Carrie Budoff Brown, editor of Politico, from a New York Times article about media coverage for US President-elect Donald Trump’s tweets. The article provides an interesting look at information access and coverage in a complex political environment, while the quote serves as a sort of tag line for the trend scanning we try to do here.

Two pieces of news from the Center:

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 if you have a chance, 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. 

Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Learning Machines

Reuters "Apple shows ambition to get into self-driving car race"

Apple's director of product integrity Steve Kenner posted a five-page letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration expressing the company’s interest in self-driving vehicle technology and the machine learning and automation that would support its development. See also ArsTechnica, The Daily Dot, Gizmodo, ReCode, TechCrunch, The Verge, and The Wall Street Journal.

CNET "Facebook: Don't freak out about artificial intelligence"

Facebook has launched a campaign to educate people on the basics of artificial intelligence, focusing on the technology behind photo recognition, self-driving cars, and language translation. See also Engadget and Mashable.

Reuters "Facebook developing artificial intelligence to flag offensive live videos"

Facebook is developing artificial intelligence to automatically flag offensive material in live video streams, part of a growing effort to use artificial intelligence to monitor content. See also Engadget and Motherboard.

Books and Publishing

Quartz "American teens are getting hooked on fiction by text message"

Hooked is the top grossing book app for iOS in the US with 1.8 million downloads since it launched a year ago, targeting 13-24-year-olds with stories told in four or five episodes, each about 1,000 words delivered across a text message format. See also The Washington Post.

Business Insider "Facebook working on a plan to pick news from favored media partners like Snapchat"

A potential new Facebook feature will showcase lists of curated content from publishers directly in the News Feed, functioning similarly to Snapchat's Discover section. See also The Daily Dot, Engadget, and Mashable.

Advertising Age "Warner Bros. trying to put new films in homes sooner"

Warner Bros. will join the push to make new films available for home viewing sooner, shortening the typical 90 days of exclusivity that theater owners have for new releases and making home-video available for customers that pay a premium for earlier access.

Variety "Universal Cable Productions wants to turn Wattpad fan-fiction into TV shows"

NBCUniversal’s Universal Cable Productions has partnered with Wattpad, the user-generated fiction community, on a first-look deal to produce TV projects derived from Wattpad content across six categories: mystery, thriller, teen/young adult, sci-fi, action, and general fiction.

The New York Times "If Trump tweets it, is it news? A quandary for the news media"

Political editors and reporters are struggling with their approach to US President-elect Trump’s tweets, some applying the premise that the thoughts of a president-elect are inherently newsworthy while others argue that coverage elevates unsubstantiated assertions and murky policy suggestions. See also Vocativ and The Washington Post.

The Financial Post "Trudeau government assessing a future without Canada’s two largest newspaper companies"

The Department of Canadian Heritage, as part of its regular industry scanning, is considering Canada’s possible future media landscape if the country’s two largest newspaper companies were to cease operations. See also Nieman Lab.

The Guardian "Index on Censorship: journalists now under 'unprecedented' attack"

A new report from the Index on Censorship finds that journalists are facing an “unprecedented” wave of attacks around the world with increased hostility to the media leading to assaults on individuals as well as press freedom, including 406 verified reports of violence, threats, or violations throughout European Union member states and neighboring countries including Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine.

Cities and Government

Campus Technology "MIT leads collaborative effort to provide free WiFi in local neighborhoods"

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has partnered with the City of Cambridge, the Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA), and others to provide free outdoor WiFi for two local neighborhoods, helping to provide coverage for CHA residents, 30% of whom did not have access to the Internet.

New Geography "The emergence of Texas urbanism; The triangle takes off"

The Center for Opportunity Urbanism's Texas Way of Urbanism report highlights the dramatic and steady economic growth of the Texas Triangle, formed by the Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Austin-San Antonio, leveraging industry, higher education, and transportation to drive development.

BuzzFeedNews "Nobel Prize winners are asking Donald Trump to respect science"

The Union of Concerned Scientists, a group of more than 2,300 scientists including 22 Nobel Prize winners, published an open letter to US President-elect Donald Trump and the 115th Congress calling on the administration and legislators to respect and include scientific evidence in policy decisions. See also Motherboard and Vocativ.


The Seattle Times "For-profit colleges expect fortunes to improve under Trump"

For-profit colleges could see many of the regulations enforced by the Obama administration rolled back during the Trump administration, as for-profits rebrand as a key to the new president’s plan for economic growth.

The Daily Dot "Texas governor threatens to defund 'sanctuary campuses' that protect immigrants"

Texas Governor Greg Abbott warned in a series of tweets that he would cut funding to any state college campus that establishes sanctuary status to protect students and staff who are undocumented immigrants.

Mashable "NYU's plan to make college cheaper: Get students to live with senior citizens"

NYU will pilot a program to pair students with older New York City residents who may be struggling financially, but have extra room in their apartments available for renters – a proposal introduced by the university's affordability steering committee and working group.

The Hechinger Report "Universities cut services for a big group of their students: those over 25"

40% of U.S. undergraduate and graduate students are 25 or older and over 4.8 million are parents, but as college and university budgets tighten, services for adult learners, including day care services, are being reduced.

The Environment

Scientific American "Mayors worldwide will act on climate, whatever Trump does"

The sixth C40 Mayors Summit will feature leaders from the world’s “megacities” with a plan to act on climate change regardless of the policies of national leaders – 80% of world emissions emanate from urban areas, so city action can have a significant impact. See also Motherboard and Next City.

The Internet

Gizmodo "EU to Facebook and Twitter: Crack down on hate speech, or else"

After asking Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, and Microsoft to disable or remove content from their platforms and, if necessary, to promote “‘counter-narratives’ to hate speech, the European Commission has now warned the companies that if they do not address their hate speech problems, the EU will enact legislation that will force them to do so. See also Reuters.  

The Daily Dot "The Internet Archive is headed to Canada to escape Trump"

The Internet Archive announced plans to create Internet Archive Canada as a backup copy of the internet in case a new US Presidential administration and Republican-controlled Congress pursue radical change. See also CNET, Engadget, Gizmodo, Mashable, Motherboard, and The Verge.


Motherboard "The UK is about to legalize mass surveillance"

The United Kingdom is expected to pass a controversial new surveillance law, the Investigatory Powers Act, which would formally legalize a number of mass surveillance programs including forcing internet service providers to store browsing data on all customers for 12 months. See also CNET, Fast Company, and Slate.

Spaces, Retail, and Restaurants

Mashable "This ramen joint is an introverted foodie's paradise"

Japan-based restaurant chain Ichiran Ramen, which recently opened a new location in Brooklyn, has become famous for a unique dining style – customers eat alone, separated into individual sections (study carrels!) from other diners and even staff, and order via a form, all to limit human interaction.

Streaming Content

Wired "Rejoice! You can download Netflix shows now for an offline binge fix"

Netflixed announced a new feature to allow users to download shows and movies for offline viewing, an effort that required revisiting and securing new rights from the contents’ creators but that will also help the company expand globally into markets where consumers don’t have the kind of internet access that facilitates uninterrupted video streaming. See also Advertising Age, CNET, Consumerist, Engadget and again, Geekwire, Gizmodo and again, Mashable and again, ReCode, TechCrunch, The Verge, and Vocativ.

CNET "Twitter to live-stream clips from 'Rogue One'"

Twitter will once again live stream a sneak peek at much-anticipated content, this time content from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, including unreleased footage of the movie and a Q&A with the film's director and cast members – all available at, in Twitter Moments, and via @StarWars and @people accounts. See also ReCode, TechCrunch, and The Verge.

Mashable "AT&T launches long-awaited online TV streaming service"

AT&T officially launched its new DirecTV Now streaming service, which starts at $35 per month and offers subscribers more than 100 live channels through a digital set-top box or mobile device. See also ArsTechnica

Mashable "Taylor Swift partners up with AT&T for streaming 'video experience'"

As part of DirecTV Now, AT&T has partnered with Taylor Swift on an exclusive series called Taylor Swift NOW, featuring videos, concert performances, and behind-the-scenes footage.

The Verge "AT&T just declared war on an open internet (and us)"

AT&T’s DirectTV Now service received criticism for inclusion of a zero-rating feature - AT&T owns DirecTV and has decided that its use won’t count against AT&T wireless internet customers’ data caps, therefore favoring a company it owns over competitors and opening the door to negotiate “sponsored data” to other companies that want the same kind of access to AT&T customers. See also CNET.

Mashable "Spotify adds weekly in-house recordings with 'Singles'"

Spotify will partner with featured artists to create original, in-house recordings, available on the service every Wednesday – it is also working on another series called "Live," which will feature exclusive live performances. See also CNET and The Daily Dot.

The Verge "CBS All Access will start streaming NFL games this Sunday"

CBS’s $6-per-month All Access service will now feature live NFL games, provided the local CBS station airs the game and viewers are watching on a device other than a smartphone – Verizon has the rights to stream NFL content to smartphones. See also The Daily Dot, Engadget, and TechCrunch.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Engadget "The White House goes augmented reality with new '1600' app"

The White House released a new app, 1600, that provides a 3D-interactive version of the White House when users point their smartphone camera at a dollar bill. See also Gizmodo, Mashable, TechCrunch, and Vocativ.