This week’s headline comes from a long read about the Norwegian teen drama Skam, an innovative approach to storytelling that weaves together real-time clips, social media, and very human experiences to help teenagers better understand their changing world.
A quick note promoting a call for review of IFLA’s Guidelines for Library Services to People Experiencing Homelessness, an issue that many of us continue to be concerned for.
And a quick apology for the late delivery for this week’s post – I’ve been traveling all week and have fallen behind in getting this onto our website and into the newsletter program.
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 “New robots are hitting the streets of San Francisco to deliver food to your doorstep”
Robot delivery startup Marble will partner with Yelp’s Eat24 to deliver food in San Francisco’s Mission and Potrero Hill districts, the robots driven autonomously but accompanied by a person walking alongside for safety. See also CNET, Consumerist, Engadget, and Mashable.
Fast Company “Mattel’s new AI will help raise your kids”
Mattel’s Aristotle, a $349 voice-activated speaker launching in May that functions like Google Home or Amazon Echo devices but for a child’s room, could take on roles as a nanny, friend, tutor, or even playmate.
Government Technology “California DMV gives Apple permission to test driverless cars”
Confirming speculation that the company plans to build an autonomous vehicle (AV), Apple became the 30th company permitted to test self-driving cars, joining Google and Tesla, and more traditional automakers like Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, GM, BMW, Honda, Ford and Subaru. See also CNET, Consumerist, Engadget, Gizmodo, Mashable, ReCode, and TechCrunch.
Cities and Government
Fast Company “Announcing The United States Of Innovation 2017”
A state-by-state look at some of the most promising projects, initiatives, and companies that reflect innovators’ concerns, responses, and their enduring capacity for progress.
MarketWatch “Trump to lift federal hiring freeze Wednesday”
The federal government will lift a hiring freeze but will require agencies to submit plans for making themselves leaner, especially in light of restricted budgets.
CityLab “‘Yelp for social services' now available on hundreds of New York City wi-fi kiosks”
New York City’s LinkNYC kiosks will now feature services from Aunt Bertha, a Yelp-like app for social safety-net services like food pantries, emergency housing, childcare, healthcare, transportation assistance, and financial aid programs.
CityLab “The limits of the Open Data movement”
The open data movement has led many governments to offer access to taxpayer funded digital assets for NGOs, the press, or the civic hacktivist, but should it be made available for free to companies looking to exploit a free—but valuable—resource like data for a profit?
Motherboard “Chicago says it will make all city buildings 100 percent renewable by 2025”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the city would transition all of its city-owned buildings and operations to clean energy by 2025, the largest city-specific commitment to renewable energy in the United States so far.
The Drum “President Trump's tweets to be archived by White House”
The National Archives and Records Administration has said the White House is definitely saving President Trump's tweets – even those he delete or corrects.
The Verge “Google image search will now give you style tips” and “Google begins showing Pinterest-like shoppable photos in image search”
Google announced changes to its image search tool providing a shoppable list of products featured inside photos and a gallery of “inspirational lifestyle images and outfits” for selected products including handbags, sunglasses, and shoes. See also TechCrunch.
CNET “Internet giants roar back against net neutrality teardown”
The Internet Association, a lobbying group representing Facebook, Google, Twitter, Netflix, and Microsoft, among others, met with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai over concerns for proposals to dismantle current rules which ensure all online traffic is treated equally. See also Consumerist, ReCode, and The Verge.
Mashable “Facebook wants Group admins to get together IRL”
Facebook will hold its first-ever Facebook Communities Summit June 22 and 23 in Chicago, inviting hundreds of Group administrators from across the U.S., who, as Facebook described, have a "passion and dedication" in leading these communities. See also CNET and TechCrunch.
ReCode “Facebook is deleting a bunch of spam accounts in its effort to fight fake news”
Facebook said that it had deleted 30,000 fake accounts in France and bot accounts that automated Facebook “Likes” and comments. See also CNET and Engadget.
Journalism and News
Digiday “Facebook faces increased publisher resistance to Instant Articles”
Many publishers, including the New York Times, may be moving away from Facebook’s Instant Articles features, unhappy with the monetization on these pages, even as Facebook introduces new engagement tools to help build connections between users and the publishers they read.
Engadget “Facebook buys newspaper space to combat fake news”
As the German government debates a new law that would fine social networks which fail to act on the fake news problem, Facebook launched a series of full-page newspaper ads promoting 10 tips for readers to better identify fake news. See also ArsTechnica and TechCrunch.
Consumerist “Your kids’ school-owned devices are spying on them, report finds”
Electronic Frontier Foundation’s new “Spying on Students” report pulls together two years’ worth of research and data on educational technology (ed tech) companies’ efforts to protect students’ privacy, finding that one third of all K-12 students are using school-issued ed tech devices but that 57% of parents surveyed said they were sure they had not received written disclosure of schools’ practices and policies about tech and another 23% of parents said they didn’t know if they had or not.
The Verge “Roku TVs can now detect what you’re watching on cable to see if it’s available on Netflix”
Televisions with Roku’s software preinstalled will offer an opt-in feature to automatically detect what viewers are watching via cable, satellite, or an antenna and display when the content can also be streamed using popular services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video. See also CNET and TechCrunch.
The Sharing Economy
TechCrunch “Uber reportedly tracked Lyft drivers using a secret software program named ‘Hell’”
Still more tension in what was once considered the sharing economy, as Uber’s secret tracking program “Hell” was revealed, a program to let Uber see how many Lyft drivers were available for rides, what their prices were, and to incentivize drivers working for both Lyft and Uber to only use Uber. See also Consumerist, The Daily Dot, Engadget, GeekWire, Gizmodo, and Mashable and again.
TechCrunch “Netflix reaches 75% of US streaming service viewers, but YouTube is catching up”
New data from comScore finds that 53% of Wi-Fi households in the U.S. are using at least one streaming service, with Netflix being the primary choice for 75% of those homes. See also GeekWire and Mashable.
The Fader “Why the whole planet is obsessed with this Norwegian teen drama”
A fascinating look at the Norwegian series Skam, a teen drama released in real-time synched with the events relayed in the story, blurring the lines between drama and reality with characters that have their own Instagram accounts, updated in time with the events of the show, and their own fictional text message exchanges posted to the series' site.
Engadget “Netflix will premiere movies at Cannes for the first time”
Netflix and Amazon will debut films at the Cannes Film Festival, a first for Netflix and the second year for Amazon.
Spaces, Retail, and Restaurants
Consumerist “To compete with your living room, AMC will offer full meals at 400 theaters”
AMC will revamp 400 theaters into Feature Fare locations with full menus that include cheeseburger sliders, curly fries, and other fare in an attempt to bring in a younger crowd and drum up sales.
The New York Times “Imagining the retail store of the future”
Farfetch, the global online marketplace for independent luxury boutiques, held a daylong event at the Design Museum in London highlighting their vision for “The Store of the Future" built on augmented retail that blends digital and physical including robots, facial recognition technology, voice-activated personal assistants, 3-D printing stations, and more.
The Verge “A Las Vegas nightclub is getting turned into an e-sports arena”
The Luxor Hotel will be home to the very first e-sports arena on the Las Vegas Strip, equipped with all the staples of a standard sports arena plus an LED video wall, professional streaming video production studios, and daily gaming stations for attendees. See also Engadget.
GeekWire “Video-game arcades are back – this time, with virtual reality for the masses”
Bay area arcades like Portal are introducing new virtual reality options for users, including room-sized VR booths for individual and team players and viewing stations to watch what other users are experiencing in their virtual worlds.
Mashable “Expedia wants you to step into your hotel rooms with virtual reality”
Expedia is working on offering virtual reality versions of its listings where users will be able to interact with the room including sliding open doors and stepping out onto the balcony.
Consumerist “This Burger King ad forces your Google Home device to tell you about Whoppers”
A 15-second TV commercial from Burger King attempts to wake up any Google Home devices that may be in the room and thus, continue the ad after it’s technically over - the first time a major advertiser has actively tried to hijack a connected device without the viewer’s approval. See also Advertising Age and again, CNET, The Daily Dot, Digiday, Engadget, Fortune, Gizmodo, Inc., Slate, The Verge and again, and Vocativ.
The New York Times “Burger King ‘O.K. Google’ ad doesn’t seem O.K. with Google”
Google worked quickly to limit the effect of the Burger King ad, which Google says it had not been consulted on, making changes that stopped the commercial from waking Google Home devices. See also ArsTechnica, Consumerist, Inc., Mashable, and The Verge.
GeekWire “Amazon opens up Alexa’s microphone and voice processing technology to hardware makers”
Amazon will make it easier and less expensive for hardware makers to build Alexa into their products by opening up the 7-Mic Voice Processing Technology and proprietary software for wake word recognition, beamforming, noise reduction, and echo cancellation. See also Engadget and The Verge.