Sunnier Side Of The Home Office – June 17, 2020

"I found it a little overwhelming when I realized that I could be in the history books, but somebody’s gotta do it, and I’d be happy and satisfied to be that person."

- Aimee Stephens brought the first major transgender rights case to the Supreme Court. On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled in her favor that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - which prohibits sex discrimination in the workplace - includes LGBTQ+ employees. Sadly, Aimee didn't live to see the outcome of her case. She passed away last month. 

They’re All Good Dogs (and Plants)
By: Joe Cole

Like most people, I can recognize a handful of dog breeds on sight but I’m a little behind on the latest trendy mixed breeds. All I can tell you is that literally every dog I see is a good dog, from the absolute units to the smol puppers. 

Last week Snapchat added an integration with an app called Dog Scanner that enables the ability to identify any dog just by pointing and holding the camera at it. This has instantly upped my game in my quest to become best buds with every 4-legged friend on my street. They’ve also added an integration with PlantSnap to identify any plant in the same way — very welcome, as I know even less about plants. Although these apps already exist, app fatigue and unused apps taking up space have made the cost of downloading even a free app too high for most people.

Snapchat has been steadily adding new capabilities within the platform, like being able to identify songs through Shazam and identify and purchase items through Amazon. Facebook was an early example of an app that kept stapling in new capabilities as it grew, now Snapchat is seeking to push its edge in AR against its bigger rival by continually adding new features that can be accessed through the camera and microphone. They’ve also found a modern solve for finding the exact Lens or integration you’re looking for with the ability to voice search.

Chatbots See Rise in Usage During Quarantine
By: Sergio Saucedo 

At the height of the pandemic, many people were left feeling lonely as they self-isolated from the safety of their homes. In order to coup with this unsettling feeling, many of them looked for solace in all shapes and forms. For some, they found it in baking banana bread (lots of it), hosting Zoom happy hours, but others seemed to have found comfort speaking to an online chatbot.

Chatbot apps like Replika, which saw its user base double during the peak of the pandemic, allow users to not only correspond with chatbots via text messages but also to have a voice conversation. While the idea of humans utilizing chatbots for human companionship seems a bit sci-fi, some researchers on the topic have actually uncovered that the conversations had with these chatbots can actually be healing for an individual. 

While most of us can agree that technology may never be able to fully replace human interaction, the rise in popularity and adoption of online chatbots during the pandemic show that there could potentially be a place for this type of technology in the not so distant future.

Read more: here

A Credible Blurb on Credible Sources 
By: Natalie Chaney

Over the past few months, we’ve found ourselves in several, for the lack of a better word, unprecedented situations. With the majority of conversations happening digitally, specifically on Twitter, one of the hardest areas to navigate has been determining what is rooted in fact versus fiction. 

In an effort to curb misinformation and encourage meaningful discussions on the platform, Twitter has begun testing a new feature that prompts users who are RTing an unopened article to first read it. 

Social Media moves fast in general, but Twitter’s 0-60 is easily the most impressive. This is likely due, in part, to just how easy it is to share information and how users behave on the platform. People often tweet before they think,  and links/articles can go viral on Twitter in a matter of minutes. 

However, this ease at which articles can be shared can become dangerous and boost the reach of misinformation of harmful conspiracy theories. Social media is where news picks up steam, where people find resources, and where opinions are shared. This new feature will hopefully cause users to think twice before retweeting, and take a deeper look into the content they are putting out. 

The rainbow flag, the symbol for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) pride was created in 1978 by artist Gilbert Baker. Baker has said he designed the rainbow flag after Harvey Milk urged him to create a symbol of pride for the gay community. There have been many iterations of the flag since it was first created. Today, the most commonly used flag, has six stripes, and each stripe has a different meaning: red represents life; orange is for healing; yellow is for sunlight; green is for nature; blue is for harmony; and purple is for spirit.