Technology * Innovation * Publishing Newsletter #261

Kathy Sandler
13 min readSep 6, 2023

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While I focus on Technology, Innovation, and Publishing, because I have a platform, I also flag items that I think are important and try to include a bunch of resources & opportunities. I’d love to hear what you think of this newsletter.

Important Items

Canada, citing potential dangers, warns LGBTQ travelers of US risks

Canada, citing the risk of potential dangers, is advising LGBTQ travelers planning trips to the United States to check how they might be affected by recently passed laws in some states. Anti-LGBTQ demonstrations in the United States last year rocketed 30-fold compared with 2017 and legal moves to restrict LGBTQ rights are on the rise.

New Poll Shows Massive Backlash To Anti-LGBTQ School Policies

RT @ErinInTheMorn A new poll shows massive backlash to Republican anti-LGBTQ+ school policies. Huge majorities oppose book bans, sex inspections for sports, and sanctioning teachers for supporting trans kids or teaching LGBTQ+ topics. Subscribe to support my work.

Women are always the wrong age

A new study makes it official: Women are always the wrong age for employers

COVID hospitalizations on the rise as U.S. enters Labor Day weekend

MT @MeetJess COVID hospitalizations on the rise as U.S. enters Labor Day weekend That marked an 18.8% jump from the week before, and a staggering 86.9% increase over the past month.

Study estimates 1.4 million deaths shortly after ‘zero COVID’ ended in China

HT @MeetJess By December 2022, China had ended its strict zero-COVID policy, which resulted in a wave of infections. A new analysis published in Emerging Infectious Diseases estimates that 1.41 million COVID-19 deaths occurred in the 35 days following the relaxation of China’s policy.


Ogilvy’s 2030 Forecast

HT @faris

How to Use AI to Talk to Whales — and Save Life on Earth

With ecosystems in crisis, engineers and scientists are teaming up to decipher what animals are saying. Their hope: By truly listening to nature, humans will decide to protect it.

Not Just for Kids: Norway’s Ludenso and AR

Oslo’s Ludenso and Boulder’s Books of Discovery are bringing augmented reality to trainers and other therapy professionals.

Apple researching a Smart Ring for notifications and controlling other devices


Generative AI and intellectual property

MT @benedictevans If you put all the world’s knowledge into an AI model and use it to make something new, who owns that and who gets paid? This is a completely new problem that we’ve been arguing about for 500 years.

US Copyright Office wants to hear what people think about AI and copyright

The US Copyright Office is opening a public comment period around AI and copyright issues. The agency wants to answer three main questions: how AI models should use copyrighted data in training; whether AI-generated material can be copyrighted even without a human involved; and how copyright liability would work with AI. It also wants comments around AI possibly violating publicity rights but noted these are not technically copyright issues. The Copyright Office said if AI does mimic voices, likenesses, or art styles, it may impact state-mandated rules around publicity and unfair competition laws. Written comments are due on October 18th

Canada: A Nationwide Coalition Demands a Copyright Fix

Italy’s Publishers and Artificial Intelligence in Europe

Cryptography may offer a solution to the massive AI-labeling problem

An internet protocol called C2PA adds a “nutrition label” to images, video, and audio, showing their provenance. The project, part of the nonprofit Joint Development Foundation, was started by Adobe, Arm, Intel, Microsoft, and Truepic, which formed the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (from which C2PA gets its name). Over 1,500 companies are now involved in the project through the closely affiliated open-source community, Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI), including ones as varied and prominent as Nikon, the BBC, Shutterstock, and Sony.

OpenAI releases enterprise-grade version of ChatGPT

Companies using ChatGPT Enterprise have access to fast ChatGPT, more security, and unlimited GPT-4 queries.

OpenAI Passes $1 Billion Revenue Pace as Big Companies Boost AI Spending

OpenAI is making 35 times more today ($80M/month) than last yr. It generated $28 million in revenue last year before it started charging for ChatGPT. It lost around $540 million last year as it developed GPT-4 and ChatGPT.

Generative AI allows fans to “talk” to their favorite characters, drawing comparisons to everything from roleplaying to fan fiction

Disney, The New York Times and CNN are among a dozen major media companies blocking access to ChatGPT as they wage a cold war on A.I.

A multitude of leading newsrooms have recently injected code into their websites that blocks OpenAI’s web crawler, GPTBot, from scanning their platforms for content. These include CNN, The New York Times, Reuters, Disney, Bloomberg, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Axios, Insider, ABC News, ESPN, the Gothamist, Condé Nast, Hearst, and Vox Media.

UK News publishers divided over whether to block ChatGPT

Publishers pushing back against AI companies are not doing so because they are an “archaic industry that just doesn’t want any change” but because they want a level playing field.

Fiction writers fear the rise of AI, but also see it as a story to tell

Stephen King: My Books Were Used to Train AI

ICYMI One prominent author responds to the revelation that his writing is being used to coach artificial intelligence.

“I Am the Only One Who Should Recite Them”: When Werner Herzog Narrates Your AI Poetry Collection


AI Can’t Read Books. It’s Reviewing Them Anyway

ChatGPT-powered avatars recently gushed over a new book — unconvincingly. But if AI develops actual opinions, authors might be in for a shock.

Research suggests business as usual with AI and the media

A new report digs into the reality of how AI is — and has been — used by media companies, how AI’s limits necessarily constrain its use, and where new media models may be able to put this technology to profitable use.

How publishers like The Marshall Project and The Markup are testing generative AI in their newsrooms

Gannet paper pauses AI sports writing program

The Columbus Dispatch paused use of an artificial intelligence sports writing tool after a Westerville football recap faced criticism on social media that went viral last week.

The Inventor Behind a Rush of AI Copyright Suits Is Trying to Show His Bot Is Sentient

Stephen Thaler’s series of high-profile copyright cases has made headlines worldwide. He’s done it to demonstrate his AI is capable of independent thought.

The latest Gartner Hype Cycle places GenAI at the top of the peak of inflated expectations

MT @neilperkin

TikTok now lets brands buy ads that appear in the app’s search results

TikTok is adding a new place for advertisers to reach its audience: within the search results page. The new ad buying type dubbed the “Search Ads Toggle” will allow advertisers to target the platform’s users who are specifically seeking to learn more about new products or brands by typing queries into the app’s search box. This is TikTok’s first ad placement that lets brands target users engaged with searches related to the brand’s business. However, the Search Ads Toggle is an extension of an advertiser’s TikTok video ad buy — and is not a standalone ad product. The company also promises brand safety as a part of this offering, noting that the advertisers have the option to add “Negative Keywords” to each ad group which allows them to avoid having their ad served against queries that don’t align with their brand.

Following Elon Musk’s lead, Big Tech is surrendering to disinformation

Facebook and YouTube are receding from their role as watchdogs against conspiracy theories ahead of the 2024 presidential election

Publishing & Media Expands Its Reach

HT @JulieBlattberg Bookshop planning ebook sales for Apple, Android, + web-based platforms + in discussions about producing an ink e-reader. They are also looking to fill the void left by Amazon Smile,which shared affiliate revenue w charities + nonprofits

New podcast studies showing growth in ad spend, listeners suggest the bubble hasn’t burst

60% of agencies and advertisers currently advertise in podcasts, up from 34% in 2020, 62% of brands and agencies will consider advertising in podcasts in the next 6 mos (a 9-year high),and 58% said they definitely will. Ad revenue for business podcasts grew 30% year over year.

How Yahoo sparked a renaissance under new owners

MT @sarafischer Yahoo is on a buying spree — It’s getting a rare chance to reinvent itself under new ownership — Its biz is very resilient, especially assets long forgotten by tech elite. For example AOL still drives hundreds of millions of $ of free cash flow.

TechCrunch acquires StrictlyVC, appoints its founder GM & EIC

The Truth Tellers

RT @FLFreedomRead “To see PEOPLE like me in the BOOKS I READ might have ALLEVIATED some of that feeling — or at least TAUGHT ME that PEOPLE like me could embrace ADVENTURE, could thrive.”

Requests to ban books hit a 21-year high

HT @ALALibrary “What we are seeing now is organized political advocacy groups go to school boards with an agenda with a long list of books they want banned because those books don’t fit their political, moral or religious agenda.”

There have been several bomb threats at public libraries this week

Via @veronikellymars Stochastic terrorism continues this week, following the numerous bomb threats made in Chicago over the past month. Now in Iowa, Illinois, California, and Oklahoma, these threats are, no doubt, connected to the right-wing rhetoric around libraries and librarians. The rise of stochastic terrorism creates terror for library workers and users alike. If this is about protecting the children, then why target two of the places that are among the safest for children to be? It’s time to write to your representatives and to your local media and demand protections for these people being targeted by a well-connected, wealthy vocal minority.

For John Green, the Battle Over Access to Books Has Gotten Personal

“This is an escalation on the part of those far right groups that want to control what kind of information teenagers have access to,” Green said.

Judge Blocks Texas Book Ban Law

Publishers & booksellers won’t be forced to rate their books for use in Texas public schools, marking the latest legal victory for freedom to read advocates fighting a nationwide rise in book bans, although an appeal is all but certain.

Resources & Opportunities

A Journey in Podcast Producing

Earlier this year, Golda Arthur was among the first winners of WMG’s inaugural Rise Fund grants, which provide financial support to WMG members for professional development. She used her award to create a pilot episode of a podcast series called, “Overlooked: A Story about Ovarian Cancer.” In this program exclusive to WMG, Golda will share how the Rise Fund positively impacted her project. She will focus on the ‘story-behind-the-story’ about why she chose this topic for a podcast and how she got it made. She’ll touch on practical tips (storyboarding, narration, sound design, marketing, distribution, etc.) and will also speak to the challenges and opportunities behind the common podcast approach of translating a personal story into a public platform. This is a great chance to see behind the curtain of how podcast production works. 9/20 12–1 via Zoom. Free for members, $15 for non-members.

A Lapse in Literacy: How We Fight Back

Free @nybookforum event.

Margins Literary Conference

Atria First Novel Contest

MT @JennyyXu Calling all disabled, queer, BIPOC unagented debut novelists! So excited to help read for this contest — $50k advance for the winning author & we will help top 3 finalists find an agent.

Unagented Book Submissions

MT @Tin_House No agent? No published book? Our editors can’t wait to hear from you! Our next 📚book submissions period for nonfiction nature writing will take place Sept 2–3! 🌿 Learn more about what we are looking for and how to submit your work:

Writing Competitions, Submissions, and Opportunities

MT @adreamingskin It’s here! Over 160 submission calls for poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, art, photography, and more — competitions, literary journals, residencies, bursaries etc — open or with deadlines in September 2023. Best of luck & please share!

High School Writing Program

MT @diversebooks Know a high schooler working on their personal statement or Penguin Random House Creative Writing Awards submission? Tell them about our “Making You the Main Character” workshop with Cosmic Writers! Students finish the free class with a polished piece.

WNDB: Author Chats in the Classroom

MT @diversebooks Win a virtual author visit — and books! Educators, don’t miss your chance to apply for Author Chats in the Classroom! Authors will be available for a 40-minute virtual classroom visit, and WNDB will provide books for up to 40 students per visit.

The UK’s IPG Announces AI Training for Independent Publishers

Fierce Founders Bootcamp

MT⁦ @jkhoey Are you a woman or non-binary founder trying to start a company? Fierce Founders Bootcamp helps women and non-binary founders build the next Canadian unicorns. September 10 deadline to apply!

The Institute of American Indian Arts Artist-in-Residence Program

MT @IAIASantaFe Applications for the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Artist-in-Residence (A-i-R) Program are now open for 2024. The application deadline is Friday, September 22, at midnight (MDT). Learn more and apply today at

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Kathy Sandler

Sr Mgr, Content Applications, Penguin Random House * Innovation * Technology * Publishing * Opinions expressed are my own