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“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”  ― Alvin Toffler

It's remarkable to consider that in a such a short time, the underlying mechanics that shape our media habits have been completely rebuilt. 
 
These new systems are so deeply ingrained in our world, and have come on so quickly, it’s hard to get a handle on them.  
 
Our experience is not simply driven by what we see on TV, in print or on the web. It's being shaped by something much deeper and out of view, embedded in digital networks. 

For those working in marketing and PR circles, it’s critical to understand what’s happening beneath the surface, discuss implications and develop new media practices for what is valuable ― and moral.

That is what this newsletter is about.
 
Below you’ll find more insight on our point of view, changes we’ve made to help clients solve new problems and the first collection of links that captured our attention. 

Solve for X, or Else - Jarring, technology-induced headlines suggest that too much change is happening way too fast. These headlines signal deep changes in how society, warfare, markets and culture work. Are agencies and clients they serve ready for it?
 
Chris Perry
Chief Digital Officer, Weber Shandwick
What We're Reading
SYNTHETIC CONTENT
Digital Celebrities and How They're Changing the World
By Michael Dempsey, Medium
CGI is quickly entering into social newsfeeds in the form of fabricated influencers. But hold fast on judging them as fake. “As soon as you start to retouch a photo, it becomes fantasy, it’s not real. We need to get it out of our heads that just because something is labeled as a photo makes it any more real than a digital creation. In some ways, digital creations can be more accurate to real life…”
 
MEDIA FORENSICS
The Complexity of Simply Searching for Medical Advice
By Renee Diresta, Wired
New parents who turn to search engines to understand the practice of giving newborns a vitamin K shot will find an aberrant — and dangerous — strain of thinking. Google the practice and the first result advises “Skip that Newborn Vitamin K Shot.” It isn’t until below the fold — the fourth result — that the CDC website appears. This represents a "data void," or search void: a situation where searching for answers about a keyword returns content produced by a niche group with a particular agenda.
 
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
What Happens When China's State-run Media Embraces AI
By Kelsey Ables, Columbia Journalism Review
Xinhua recently announced an update to Media Brain (its AI-based news production system) called "MAGIC," which will use machine-generated content (MGC) for "fast-speed news production" and can automatically generate a news video in as fast as 10 seconds. The technology could allow propaganda to spread faster and farther.
 
MEDIA FORENSICS
Solving the Disinformation Puzzle
By Kelly Born, Project Syndicate
The modern information ecosystem is like a Rubik’s Cube, where a different move is required to “solve” each individual square. When it comes to digital disinformation, at least four dimensions must be considered. 
 
LEADERSHIP INSTINCTS
Disruption, Consolidation, Uncertainty: Welcome to Hollywood's Age of Anxiety
By Stephen Galloway, The Hollywood Reporter
In the age of buyouts and mass layoffs, Hollywood professionals are facing significantly high stress levels. Unpredictability in a rapidly changing industry has created anxiety for both stars and executives looking to find peace among the turbulence. 
 
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
A New Hope: AI For News Media
By Jarno Koponen, Tech Crunch
Algorithms have allowed social media platforms to dominate the control of news content flow. If news media want a larger hand in how content is created and delivered, they need to develop their own AI technology. This could help journalists improve things like personalization, news diversity, fact-checking, and trustworthiness.
 
LEADERSHIP INSTINCTS
The Jeff Bezos Way: How to Design Your Ideal Future
By Zat Rana, Medium
If there is one skill that separates Jeff Bezos from other effective CEOs  —  and really most people in general  —  it’s the ability to make optimal decisions in the face of a future he doesn’t fully understand.
 
MEDIA FORENSICS
When a Link to a News Story Shows the Source of the Story, Some People End up Trusting it Less
By Shan Wang, Nieman Lab
A recent study found that people trust a news article less when the story is labeled with the outlet that published it. Trustworthiness dropped especially low when the readers saw publications like Vox, Fox News or Breitbart as the source versus when the same content was viewed without a label. Partisanship is clearly at play when it comes to how readers measure trustworthiness. 
 
Emerging Technology
Pong 2.0 in AR
Tweet by Andrew Chen via Reddit
Mixed Reality will gain acceptance in society through fun experiences like this one. Expect to see more AR games as the hardware gets smaller, and the software gets better. Bonus: no more running around to pick up the ball afterward.
 
Deep Take
Lessons from the Messy Middle of a Startup’s Journey
By Scott Belsky, 99U
Everyone loves talking about the moment of conception, and everyone loves talking about what happens at the end. The press especially loves starts and finishes. They’re so pithy and easy to summarize and tie up with a bow. They make great headlines because what can be so easily summed up is celebrated. Whether it’s someone leaving and starting a new company, or launching a business, or going IPO, or going bankrupt ― It’s just so easy to put it together. What is too dynamic to summarize is more easily overlooked, especially by the press:

"So, this kind of elusive middle, what I’ve come to call the messy middle, gets very little coverage. No one really talks much about it, because again it’s just a series of bumps, and frankly we’re not necessarily as proud of ourselves in the messy middle, because we’re never our best selves throughout. And we learn a lot the hard way."
Copyright © 2018 Weber Shandwick



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