“Many of the evolutionary advantages in the future will be to people who don’t necessarily have lots of facts in their head but have a lot of capacity to do critical thinking and are discerning searchers. They can figure out relatively quickly and well the difference between highly credible information and highly suspect information.”—Our director Lee Rainie, on Brains, Automation, and the Internet.
“By 2025, we should have around 8.1 billion people online. Just imagine all those billions of people and ideas sharing and collaborating. Please don’t let me get hit by a bus. I want to live to experience this period which people will later call the Age of Collaboration.”—
On Tuesday, NASA made an exciting announcement: Its Voyager 1 spacecraft, which was first launched in 1977, is cruising interstellar space, which the agency describes as “a region between the stars filled with a thin soup of charged particles, also known as plasma.” While Voyager 1 still technically remains within the solar system, this is the furthest that a human spacecraft has ever traveled — and the first time that one has ever entered a new cosmic realm.
The Pew Research Center recently released a library user quiz sorting Americans into different types based on how they use and view libraries. Here are results.
How did our online quiz-takers compare with the results of our nationally representative telephone survey? One unsurprising finding: If you take a quiz called “What kind of library user are you?”, you probably know the answer.
“To realize its full potential, the Internet, as a medium and infrastructure (cables, etc.), has to be redefined, legislated, and maintained as a public domain where freedom of speech operates fully. Access to the Internet should be guaranteed globally in the same way as education, healthcare, food, and housing are guaranteed now in some countries.”—An associate professor at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, on future threats to the Net by 2025
The controversy over what the Facebook researchers did may be overshadowing other important discussions, specifically conversations about what they really found—not much, actually—and the right and wrong way to think about and report findings based on statistical analyses of Big Data.
New on the Fact Tank blog: Rich Morin discusses Facebook’s “emotional content” newsfeed experiment — what did they actually find? Was it ethical?
Compare the library engagement of your library or group with the rest of the country using our new “community quiz” tool.
Calling all librarians, educators, civic leaders, or members of the public who are interested in your local public library’s role in your community:
We have new quiz tool that allows you to create your own version of our library user quiz and invite members of your community to take it. You can learn how your community’s members use their local public library, how they think about their library’s impact on the community, and how they view the importance of libraries in the digital age.
Why talk when we can text? For many, our phones are a habit — a bad one — and only a small number of us realize it. Our voices are a way to express and define ourselves; a text message can’t do that.
People aren’t walling themselves off behind their cellphone or computer screen in an effort to avoid face-to-face interaction.
But is that always the case?
According to our 2012 survey, 67% of cellphone owners found themselves checking their phone for messages, alerts or calls — even when they didn’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating; and 29% of cell owners described their phone as “something they can’t imagine living without.”
More than 400 large U.S. military drones have crashed in major accidents around the world since 2001, showing the potential dangers of throwing open U.S. skies to drone traffic, according to a year-long Washington Post investigation.
“I’m hopeful that the first people could be taken to Mars in 10 to 12 years, I think it’s certainly possible for that to occur. But the thing that really matters long term is to have a self-sustaining city on Mars. To make life multi-planetary.”—Elon Musk, who runs Tesla Motors and rocket builder SpaceX, in a CNBC interview this week (via latimes)
From driverless cars to delivery drones, a new generation of robots is about to revolutionize the way people work, drive and shop. But there is one area where robots are already entrenched and spreading fast: the industrial sector, especially manufacturing and storage.
Robots have long toiled alongside workers in factories and warehouses, where they load boxes with items ordered online, drill and weld car parts, or move food from one conveyor belt to the next.
Now many experts worry about the dangers that robots pose to the humans who work alongside them.
Companies like Facebook are grappling who should have access to a deceased person’s profile. “Memorialized accounts” freeze the profile in time, but still allow friends to view the profile and post messages to the wall. Should family members be allowed more access? Have you thought about making a plan for your social media life after you die?
Researcher Maeve Duggan discusses digital life after death at minute 7 …
In November 2010, 8% of online adults used the platform. As of January 2014, 19% of online adults were using Twitter.
Judging whether Twitter can survive in a Facebook-dominated world might not be the right predictor of its staying power in the market because of the niche it occupies. Put simply: Twitter is different; not only in who it attracts, but also in how it is used and how messages spread on the platform.
Personal Technology Columnist Geoffrey Fowler speaks with Pew Research Center’s Amanda Lenhart about why teens use phones and laptops the way they do, and what adults can learn from them. (Photo: Getty Images)