In this week’s issue, we look at Ofcom’s study into news consumption habits in the UK, the iPhone app that is using AI to democratise basketball as well as the significance of Google’s arrival on the WeChat platform.

Happy reading,

Hi Mum! Said Dad


Linda, a part-time cleaner from London was one of the participants in Ofcom’s study. Image source: Ofcom

Ofcom releases report looking into news consumption in the UK

Ofcom has released a highly pertinent report looking at news consumption habits in the UK. As part of this study, 22 individuals were questioned extensively on their behaviours and attitudes.

It’s a fairly long report but we’ve picked out the insights that caught our attention:

  • People consume more news than they actually believe they do with social media consumption on smartphones blurring the boundaries between news and other content — i.e. passive consumption leads to underreporting
  • Many participants were aware of the need to think critically about what they are reading but this was only lip service with few putting this into practice — many adopt heuristics such as believing that articles shared by close friends or articles with a lot of likes/shares or even something as simple as an article having an image/logo are indicators of reliableness
  • The ‘newsfeed’ interface has become ubiquitous — it’s seen as a way of keeping people “in-app” with its infinite scrolling and ‘pull to refresh’ design elements
  • People prioritised quantity over depth in their news intake — they would rather make sure that they are “keeping up” with the news than develop a key understanding of certain stories

Certain elements of this report emphasise the fact that there is still much work to be done by tech companies and policymakers in particular, to minimise the risks posed by misinformation.

By Oliver Iyer, Strategist


Image source: HomeCourt.ai

HomeCourt — your next basketball coach?

Almost anything you read today talks about how AI is set to revolutionise the world as we know it and it is certainly doing so in fields such as healthcare and mobility. These are the most obvious examples but it can sometimes be a struggle to fully grasp the full extent of possibilities that AI presents.

HomeCourt, an iPhone app leveraging the latest in computer vision, is a powerful demonstration of how AI can be put to work to address important but less talked about issues such as the democratisation of sport.

HomeCourt makes learning how to play basketball easier than ever before with no need for expensive coaches — all you need is an iPhone. Using your phone’s camera and computer vision, HomeCourt helps a player improve their form by measuring variables such as shot trajectory, jump height, and body position. The user is able to receive feedback on misses and video analysis helps to correct their form and improve their shooting percentage over time.

Now, it’s not designed to turn you into LeBron or Steph Curry. The beauty of this product lies in its mission to separate the ability to improve your basketball game from personal circumstance. The importance of this mission has even caught the eye of former players such as two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, who believes HomeCourt “truly democratises the sport and brings advanced training insights to any player that wants to improve their game, anytime, anywhere.”

The company itself plans to use basketball as a starting point and hopes to branch out to even more exclusive sports such as golf (where tracking the ball would also be a much more difficult feat). Potential future features include the ability to track 5-on-5 games and the use of facial recognition.

With a recent $4 million investment round, we are excited to see where HomeCourt goes and here’s hoping it inspires even more novel applications of AI!

By Anastasia McLain, Strategist


Google’s mini-game is called 猜画小歌 — which roughly translates to ‘Guess My Sketch’. Image source: TechCrunch

Google’s implicit acceptance of WeChat dominance

The WeChat phenomenon is something that continues to intrigue the West because there exists nothing like it in the region. The dominance of WeChat has now reached a stage where the Asian giant is now taking the attack to the likes of Google and Apple via a feature called ‘mini-programs’, which are effectively apps within WeChat.

In other words, WeChat are now beginning to encourage users to completely bypass the App Store and the Play Store as they perpetuate the vision of WeChat being the one-stop shop for everything in a user’s life.

In a rather telling move, Google has acquiesced by creating its own mini-program for WeChat. Google’s effort is a game in which users pair up with an AI and go up against their friends as they attempt to guess each other’s sketches. So, nothing mindblowing but considering its simplicity, this could represent an experiment by Google to test the waters and further understand behaviour in Asian markets or it could be part of a wider strategy to go all in and introduce a wave of mini-programs on the platform.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ‘em.

By Anastasia McLain, Strategist


Image source: Medium

Cool thing of the week!

An insightful read from the FT with examples of how VR is being used to tackle mental health issues — from recreating social anxiety-inducing situations to strengthening a patient’s resolve when it comes to drink and drugs.

Researchers at the likes of Stanford, Harvard and John Hopkins are currently working with Limbix (a startup that is at the forefront of applying VR in the mental health space) to gauge the effectiveness of such VR treatments relative to traditional methods.

VR isn’t just all fun and games…

By Jeevan Jayaprakash, Strategist


Originally written as part of Hi Mum! Said Dad’s weekly newsletter, H! Lites.

H! Lites hits you with a short, sharp, weekly dose of the latest and greatest across tech, business, design and other contemporary issues that we think would be of value to our readers.

If you would like H! Lites sent your inbox every week, click here to sign up.