In celebration of Black History Month, Snapchat launched an immersive lens that lets users explore a virtual art gallery filled with the work of black millennial artists. According to Mashable, the idea is that Snapchat users can enter the “gallery” wherever they are to see sharp and vibrant work that celebrates and reflects upon many themes, including being a young black artist in America. The lens and gallery experience is pretty amazing and will be available throughout February. To see it easily, open your camera in Snapchat and scan this Snapcode.
Instagram has launched a new #ShareBlackStories promotion for Black History Month, which aims to honor the black community on the platform and showcase relevant creators. The program also includes new creative tools for Stories, including camera effects, stickers and custom templates.
Alexa, ask Chucky to stop murdering me! As we’re tracking adoption and pushback to A.I.-assistants within culture (e.g., Pringles’ Super Bowl spot), we’re also starting to see that fear of consumer A.I. come to Hollywood. Now, instead of being possessed by the spirit of a serial killer, the Chucky doll in the remake of Child’s Play will be driven by defective programming A.I. that has made it not only murderous, but capable of learning beyond the limitations of other dolls. “We’re friends ’til the end, remember?”
Google Maps is rolling out an augmented reality (AR) feature that will hopefully keep us from running into light poles while using the app and walking. The new features use an arrow overlay the camera view of your phone so you can visually see which way to go. It’s still in limited availability to Google Local Guides for testing, so for now… be sure to look where you’re walking!
Move over photobooths, and meet Ai-Da, the robot artist that will be able to draw people from sight with a pencil in her bionic hand. Named after British mathematician and computer pioneer Ada Lovelace, the world’s first “AI ultra-realistic robot artist” will do more than draw. “She’s going to actually be drawing and we’re hoping to then build technology for her to paint,” said Ai-Da’s creators. “But also as a performance artist she’ll be able to engage with audiences and actually get messages across; asking those questions about technology today.”
This week Reddit announced it raised $300 million at a $3 billion valuation (up from a $1.8 billion valuation in 2017), with 330 million monthly active users heavily in the 18-24 demographic. Reddit is an important place for modern marketers to pay attention, and they are adding more performance tools each year. However, it can be hard to break into for the uninitiated. If you don’t know where to start, Digital Trends has a great high-level overview here worth skimming: What is Reddit? A beginner’s guide to the front page of the internet
Tell your Mom to check Snopes about that 48-Hour Challenge that’s sweeping local TV news stations this week. The hoax supposedly encourages teens to go missing for two days in hopes their picture will show up on social media. It’s a serious subject, and apparently NOT TRUE. Sorry Mom!
With all the snowy commutes this week I’ve been spending a lot of time with Malcom Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcast. I highly recommend Analysis, Parapraxis, Elvis, which is about “Freudian slips” through the lens of Elvis Presley’s “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” and Hallelujah, which tells the story of Leonard Cohen’s song of the same name. The latter episode delves into the “the role that time and iteration play in the production of genius, and how some of the most memorable works of art had modest and undistinguished births.”