Read for Later - "It's literally a learning environment where there's full wraparound support."

This week’s headline quotes Guillermo Martinez, Austin Community College's associate vice president for student engagement and analytics, about that system’s investment in ACCelerator labs. (Education Dive "In a former shopping mall, Austin Community College sees a new way to learn")

You can always check out the Center's trend collection – including our Coronavirus page – to see how this scanning comes together to identify trends relevant to our futures.

What new information has sparked your interest? Drop me a line to let me know what you're reading or discovering that helps you consider the future of libraries.

Five Highlights

TechCrunch "In effort to fight COVID-19, MIT robot gets to work disinfecting The Greater Boston Food Bank"
A robotic system from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) will help provide disinfection services for The Greater Boston Food Bank – the robotic cleaning system employs UV light for a fully automated cleaning that can be done free of any human oversight, with cameras and sensors to map and navigate an indoor space, keeping track of the areas it has to disinfect.

The Guardian "Hong Kong: books by pro-democracy activists disappear from library shelves"
Books written by prominent Hong Kong democracy activists have been removed from the city’s libraries, days after China imposed a new national security law designed to restore stability after a year of pro-democracy protests – searches on the public library’s website returned several titles as no longer available for lending as the city’s cultural services department works to determine whether they violate the national security law.

Education Dive "In a former shopping mall, Austin Community College sees a new way to learn"
Austin Community College’s ACCelerator open learning lab equips a re-purposed department store at Highland Mall in Austin, Texas, with shared workstations and more than 600 desktop computers where students can take college classes, book study rooms, consult with tutors and advisors, and access a suite of services.

GeekWire "Microsoft unveils sweeping job training initiative to teach digital skills to 25M impacted by pandemic"
Microsoft is launching a global initiative to provide digital skills training for 25 million people, working to create a “system of learning” that allows workers to evolve as technology evolves throughout their careers – Microsoft will use data from LinkedIn to determine jobs and skills in high demand with “learning paths” to provide online training for free through March 2021 and low-cost certifications for tech roles.

Nieman Lab "The Trans Journalists Association launches, with workplace advice and a style guide"
A group of fifty journalists launched the Trans Journalists Association, offering professional support to trans journalists around the world; a style guide designed to improve trans coverage, terms and phrases to avoid, and a glossary of terms; and a page for employer resources on how to create trans-friendly workplaces and support employees who come out as transgender.

Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Learning Machines

Wired "Amazon shakes up the race for self-driving—and ride-hailing"
Amazon has acquired autonomous vehicle company Zoox, a company focused on designing a robotaxi from the ground up that can operate as a ride-hail service – Amazon signaled that it will not stray from Zoox’s formidable self-driving goals, providing a significant boost in the race to design an autonomous ride-hailing experience. See also TechCrunch "Lyft’s self-driving test vehicles are back on public roads in California" and TechCrunch "Lyft is using data from its rideshare drivers to develop self-driving cars"

Economics and the Workplace

The Verge "Google employees demand the company end police contracts"
Over 1,650 Google employees have signed an open letter to CEO Sundar Pichai demanding the company stop selling its technology to police forces across the U.S. – employees are specifically calling out Google’s ongoing Cloud contract with the Clarkstown Police Department in New York and indirect support of a sheriff’s department in Arizona tracking people who cross the U.S.-Mexico border. See also Inside Higher Ed "Mathematicians urge ending work with police"


Chalkbeat Chicago "Chicago launches ‘groundbreaking’ initiative to connect up to 100,000 students to the internet"
Under a new plan, the city of Chicago will use federal emergency coronavirus response funding and philanthropic gifts to offer free high-speed internet to an estimated 100,000 children in low-income households – the announcement follows similar public-private partnerships in cities like Los Angeles and Portland and comes as Chicago prepares for all-virtual summer school and a possible return to remote learning or a hybrid approach in the fall.


The Hollywood Reporter "Tribeca partners with Walmart to expand drive-in series"
Tribeca Enterprises announced a partnership with Walmart to expand the number and reach of its summer drive-in series, transforming 160 store parking lots into contact-free drive-in movie theaters and allowing viewers to have a socially distanced big-screen experience amid the coronavirus pandemic. See also Wired "America’s great—if small—return to drive-in theaters"

Facial Recognition

WBUR Boston "Boston bans use of facial recognition technology. It's the second-largest city to do so"
Boston’s City Council voted unanimously to ban the use of facial recognition technology and prohibit any city official from obtaining facial surveillance by asking for it through third parties – the measure will go to Mayor Marty Walsh with a veto-proof majority. See also Engadget "Members of Congress push to ban federal use of face recognition"

The Internet

Gizmodo "Google is adding fact-checking labels to Image Search"
Google will add information to its Image Search results to help users fact-check images – the “fact check” label includes a summary of whatever claims may be associated with the image itself or the article it accompanies and will appear on results from “independent, authoritative sources on the web” that meet the same criteria used for fact-checking in Search and Google News.

NPR "In reversal, Facebook to label politicians' harmful posts as ad boycott grows"
In the face of a growing boycott from advertisers, Facebook will put warning labels on posts that break its rules but are considered newsworthy, a reversal from CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s previous hands-off approach – Zuckerberg also announced a number of new policies aimed at cracking down on voter suppression and curbing hate speech, banning a wider category of hateful content in ads, and taking additional steps to ban posts that make false claims about voting. See also Advertising Age "Facebook's open letter to the ad world: We don't profit from hate"  and Mashable "Facebook bans far right ‘Boogaloo’ accounts from its platform" and TechCrunch "Facebook says it will prioritize original reporting and ‘transparent authorship’ in the News Feed" and The Verge "Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Starbucks, Target, Unilever, Verizon: all the companies pulling ads from Facebook"

The Verge "Facebook to warn users before they share old news articles"
Facebook is rolling out a new feature that will warn users if they’re about to share an article that’s over 90 days old – the feature is designed to give people more context about articles before they share them in the hope that the content on the platform becomes more “timely and credible.”

Streaming Media

TechCrunch "YouTube TV hikes price to $64.99 per month following new channel additions"
Live television streaming service YouTube TV will increase prices to $64.99 per month, as it keeps up with rising costs of programming for streaming services – YouTube TV had announced in May that it would gain more ViacomCBS channels as part of an expanded distribution deal, bringing its base plan to over 85 channels.

TechCrunch "Amazon Prime Video introduces ‘Watch Party,’ a social co-viewing experience included with Prime"
Amazon Prime Video is beginning to roll out a co-viewing “Watch Party” feature to Amazon Prime members in the U.S. – the feature allows participants to watch video content together at the same time with the playback synchronized to the host’s account and a built-in chat feature.


TechCrunch "E-scooter firms get the green light to start trials of up to one year on UK streets"
The United Kingdom’s Department for Transportation announced that it would start allowing e-scooter rental companies to legally operate across the country in a trial phase starting no later than August – the announcement is timed as the country emerges from stay at home orders and seeks to promote convenient, clean, and cost-effective transportation options that may also help ease the burden on transportation networks. See also TechCrunch "New York City could have an e-scooter pilot program by March"

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

The Verge "Facebook’s newest proof-of-concept VR headset looks like a pair of sunglasses"
Facebook revealed a new proof-of-concept virtual reality headset that looks like a pair of large sunglasses with a field of view that’s “comparable to today’s consumer VR products” – the device beams images in a way that’s different from standard VR headsets, using holographic optics that allow for a dramatic reduction in the thickness and weight of the headset. See also Engadget "Facebook discontinues Oculus Go headset to focus on the Quest"

The Globe and Mail "A vision fades: Alphabet buying Canadian smart glasses pioneer North after years of struggle, sources say"
Canadian smart glasses maker North is to be acquired by Google parent company Alphabet – the company spent the past eight years amassing engineering talent and patents, but struggled to sell its Focals smart glasses with direct retinal projection and prescription compatibility.