Augmented

On the media, social media, and Brexit; how Pokemon Go could dip into the civic arena; and more.


  • The New York Times editorial board says the time to discuss killer robots is now, before another police department has the opportunity or need to use one.

  • Elmo Keep reports for Fusion that it was not the first time an armed robot had been deployed in a stand-off in police, citing a incident in Albuquerque in 2014, although in that case the suspect surrendered.

  • Fusion has also posted an interactive documentary about hunting down the people behind the mugshots.com, a site that posts mugshots and then forces people to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to get them taken down.

  • The rise of social media and the decline of the truth: Writing in The Guardian, Katharine Viner argues that the Brexit vote can be in part blamed on a media environment that no longer seems to care whether a story or a set of facts are true or not, citing Eli Pariser’s filter bubble and Civicist contributor Tom Steinberg’s thoughts on Brexit and the echo chamber of social media. Familiar ground for many Civicist readers, but it’s always good to have a refresher course on the relationship between technology and media. (h/t Adam Bard)

  • Here is a list of all the things that have gone wrong (mostly injuries) while people play Pokemon Go, compiled by Fusion’s Ethan Chiel. Meanwhile, Twitter is split over whether Pokemon Go will keep people too busy to vote in November, or whether Nintendo could be pressured into putting Pokemon at polling places this November, thereby catching the millennial vote.

  • For her Poynter column, Melody Kramer lists the possibilities of Pokemon Go for journalists, which spills over into the civic arena as well. “There also may be ways to augment this data collection with more information that might be potentially very helpful in the aggregate,” Kramer writes. “For instance, could Pokémon Go players track and report potholes in a city? Could they track air quality? Could an augmented reality program say: “You’re in this spot where X thing happened. Would you like to do Y? Would you like to sign up for Z?” (And then how might those actions be facilitated?) Or: “You’ve looked for X creature at 7 p.m. at City Hall. Did you know there’s a City Council meeting taking place here tomorrow night?””

  • Opportunity a’knockin: San Francisco is building out a digital services program and need a Chief Digital Services Officer to help redesign city services. Could that be you? Learn more here.