Five Reads: CompSci Gets Way Cool
The Forrest Four-Cast: Jan. 25, 2019
Here’s our roundup of five compelling stories from around the internet in the last few days. Look for this column every week in this space.
Revenge of the Nerds
The most challenging part of computer science these days might be finding a class to take. As Natasha Singer writes in the New York Times, “’lured by the prospect of high-salary, high-status jobs, college students are rushing in record numbers to study computer science.” She reports that across the country student demand is way ahead of professor supply, in large part because schools can’t compete with the salaries offered by the tech industry. “The number of undergraduates majoring in the subject more than doubled from 2013 to 2017, to over 106,000, while tenure-track faculty ranks rose about 17 percent, according to the Computing Research Association, a nonprofit that gathers data from about 200 universities.”
Learn more about what’s on the horizon for tech job seekers at the SXSW 2019 Future Workplace track.
O Captain! My Captain is Not on Board!
Suddenly, autonomous vehicles are everywhere. They’re flying through the air. They’re trundling along the sidewalk. And soon they will be sailing the high and stormy seas. The world’s first fully autonomous container ship is due to be launched next year, posing a radical challenge to an industry shaped for centuries by sailors and explorers whose split-second instincts meant the difference between life and death.
The Razor’s Edge
Ads aimed at men tend to follow a familiar script focusing on strength, humor or sex appeal. So Gillette’s dramatic reboot of its classic line “The Best A Man Can Get” is particularly striking, writes Marlene Towns, a professor of marketing at Georgetown University. With the new campaign, Gillette has rebranded itself as something more than a manufacturer of shaving cream and razor blades — and invites men to rethink their brand, too.
Understanding the Kuleshov Effect
As you most certainly know, the video of white high school students in red MAGA caps confronting a tribal elder at the Lincoln Memorial went viral, setting off a wave of outrage on social media — until more video emerged, confusing the narrative, and a predictable backlash set in. What’s clear is that videos do not reveal the narrative, argues Ian Bogost in The Atlantic — they actually construct the narrative. Meanwhile, Farhad Manjoo says that the episode shows why reporters should disengage from twitter.
The Media and Journalism track at SXSW 2019 includes panels on Preparing for the Next Wave: Video Fake News, Fighting Misinformation and Defending the Open Web and Media Literacy Today: The Real Impact of Fake News.
Pushing Human Potential
We’re reaching that point in January when the energy of the New Year bloom has started to fade, but this story in Esquire about Colin O’Brady’s incredible one-man, unaided, 921-mile journey across Antarctica may offer a jolt of inspiration. He reveals how he trained, what got him through, his daily mantra, how he used technology to keep his spirits up, and the nitty-gritty about what everyone really wants to know. “It’s not decomposing out there in Antarctica,” he explains. “If I didn’t take it, it’d literally be there for a million years in the sea ice or in the ice pack.”
Five Reads Archive
January 18: Spying on Crime
January 10: Taming Toxic Trolls
January 4: Big Tech = Big Trouble
December 28: Austin is Weird and Wired
December 22: The End of Traffic
December 15: Guarding the Truth
December 5: Becoming an Obama
November 30: The Trouble for Juul
November 21: Life Is Good
November 16: Whither Facebook
November 9: Why Does the US Love Guns?
November 2: Esther Perel Knows Love
Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW, the world’s most unique gathering of creative professionals. He also tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often cover tech-related trends; other times they focus on books, pop culture, sports and other current events.