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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, which you might have missed, and try to include a bunch of resources & opportunities. I’d love to hear what you think of this newsletter.
Close to 100,000 Voter Registrations Were Challenged in Georgia — Almost All by Just Six Right-Wing Activists
MT @SawyerHackett Republicans in the Texas Senate just gave initial passage to a school voucher bill that will take ~half a billion dollars~ out of public schools in just two years. Funding would be siphoned to religious schools and private schools with no criteria whatsoever.
“Long Covid occurs in about a third of Covid survivors and is now the third leading neurologic disorder in the United States.”
HT @FOST At Disney Research, an interdisciplinary team of roboticists & animators collaborated to create new characters: emotive, expressive, social robots. The prototype exhibits sophisticated motion based on reinforcement learning.
Walmart’s virtual technology allows people to ‘try on’ more than 1,400 products from over 20 beauty brands.
HT @bensbitesdaily Google’s AI-powered search feature, SGE (Search Generative Experience), is gaining some new skills. The AI feature, which introduces a conversational mode in Search, is now going to be able to generate images using prompts directly in SGE similar to rival Bing’s support of OpenAI’s DALLE-E 3. In addition, SGE will now allow users to write drafts within SGE where you can customize the output to be longer or shorter or change the tone of the writing to be more serious or casual.
Adobe’s new Firefly generative AI models can create high-quality images, editable vector graphics, and customizable design templates.
MT @benedictevans At least half of surveyed news publishers are now blocking both OpenAI and the ‘Common Crawl’ sampling project that many LLM projects use for training data. Most major digital publishers are now on the list.
Kudurru, the new tool from the creator of Have I Been Trained?, can help artists block web scrapers and even “poison” the scraping by sending back the wrong image.
Microsoft, Google and others experiment with how to produce, market and charge for new tools
This week, we discuss the impact generative AI is having on the world of consumer tech, and the various futures that path could lead us to.
Amazon, Shopify & eBay are all rolling out generative AI tools to write product listings for third-party sellers: These platform-specific AIs and broad deployments such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT can “see” an image and write persuasive marketing copy to sell it.
Between ChatGPT’s surprisingly human voice and Meta’s AI characters, our feeds may be about to change forever
HT @neilperkin A couple of weeks ago Meta announced AI chatbots, which can have human-like conversations w users. They can answer queries and find content, w a range of personas including some celebs.
ChatGPT-style chatbots that pretend to be people are being used to help companies develop new product and marketing ideas.
MT @benedictevans China always required Apple to remove apps it doesn’t like from App Store, now it’s flipped the model, requiring all new apps to be explicitly licensed in China. Android app stores have done this for last 2 yrs & same applies to websites
Meta’s Oversight Board will review Facebook’s decision to not remove a manipulated video of President Biden, and the committee hopes to push Meta to clarify its policies on election deepfakes.
Social media apps are testing subscriptions. They say if you’re not the customer, you’re the product. Now you’re both. Meta plans to charge European users $17/month for an ad-free version of Instagram & Facebook. TikTok $4.99, X $8 blue checkmark (which also comes w fewer ads + other dubious features), YouTube $13.99, Snapchat $4, which earns you custom features and tools.
MT @benedictevans It’s hard to see what outcome DoJ wants. If it wins, then Google will keep its tens of billions of annual TAC payments, Apple will lose them, Mozilla will go bust & no-one will change their defaults anyway (+if given a choice they’ll pick Google)
Media & Publishing
HT @LWShanley Via @JaneFriedman. Over the summer, the USA Today bestseller list returned after being on hiatus for about six months. From June 21 through October 4, 2023, the number and variety of self-published titles hitting the list is a fraction of what it used to be. In 2022 and prior, it was common for multiple new releases from romance authors to hit the USA Today list during their first week on sale, but that is almost not happening at all in 2023.
Beginning in late September, several social media users came forward to allege that Scholastic was allowing schools to opt out of providing diverse books at their annual book fairs.
HT @LatinxinPub 5 Latina publishing professionals speak on the current state of the industry and what changes need to happen for better representation
Penguin Random House UK revealed since July it has committed to low-carbon paper for printing books #teamPRH
The UK industry body says the music giant’s move to make more than 150,000 titles available has not been discussed with authors and may compete with sales
MT @EDRLab_org Adopt a standard, and you will not regret it.
Banned Books Week may be over, but the fight for control of school library collections continues in districts across the country. In South Carolina, the state’s Department of Education (SCDOE) wants to step in. The SCDOE has drafted a proposal for a new regulation that would give the state, not local school boards, authority over school and classroom library materials.
MT @FLFreedomRead We hear quite often that the state of Florida does not ban books, yet titles reviewed by committee just last year and were retained for certain age groups are now removed from all grades due to HB 1069.
Why is it that the removal of a book — one that’s been an important work of literature for decades — can happen in an instant, but the preservation of a book takes an entire community spending seemingly endless hours in grueling advocacy?
MT @FLFreedomRead A Seminole parent, said the books seemed to be pulled “under the cover of darkness” & represented the outsized influence that conservative groups such as M4L — which pushed for new state laws making book challenges easier — now have on school library collections.
ICYMI An innocuous children’s book was flagged for “sexually explicit” material at an Alabama library — because the author’s name happened to be Marie-Louise Gay.
Thirty-one percent of educators surveyed said there have been book bans, challenges, or restrictions in their school/district. While only seven percent removed books as a direct result of a challenge, 30 percent said they have removed books because they were worried about a future challenge or that parents, colleagues, or administrators would “have issues with the titles.”
Republicans hope to use education wars to turn purple suburbia red. In one Pennsylvania district, that backfired
MT @FLFreedomRead Working alongside Bookshop.org & Electric Literature, Paul English & Joyce Linehan have launched BannedBooksUSA, which will provide restricted & challenged books to libraries, schools, & anyone living in Florida for just a $3.99 shipping charge.
MT @PENamerica In fact, there are several ways to track and guide your children’s education without pulling books off the shelves so that no other child can see them.
Resources & Opportunities
Literary 3-Course Afternoon Tea 10/22 2pm with authors Helen Ellis, Rosemary Wells, and Patty Lin! $60 includes the 3-course tea and one of the authors’ books of your choice. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the Women’s Media Group scholarship program. Sign up *ASAP* — Hope to see you there!!
What an awesome panel! Hear from experts Michele Cobb (Executive Director of the Audio Publishers Association), Ally Demeter (Associate Producer of Audiobooks at Macmillan), Ali Hammond (Head of Merchandising at Chirp Audiobooks), Larissa Helena (Head of Content, Americas, at Yoto), and Jennifer Perry (Director of Audiobooks at Barnes & Noble). 10/25 5:30–6:30pm ET virtual. FREE for WMG members; $15.00 for non-members
HT @marcelalandres Free online workshop lead by Rachel Colbert for Bronx Council on the Arts, 10/25
Looks like a lot of great events.
MT @LauraB7 Pssst. Wanna know more about how to write alt text? Of course you do — it’s a life skill at this point! BookNet Canada has a webinar just for you.
MT @marcelalandres AGNI Magazine call for submissions: “To Never Have Risked Our Lives: An AGNI Portfolio of Central American and Mexican Diaspora Writing” guest edited by Jennifer De Leon
RT @Tin_House Applications are now open for our 2024 Summer Residency program. In an effort to accommodate working writers, parents, & anyone with schedule limitations, we offer flexible dates and the ability to attend with partners/children.
Residency Program - Tin House
An Open (Tin) House: Residency Edition Executive Director Lance Cleland and Director of Online Programs A.L. Major…
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