Sparkwith Nora Young

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Is the dream of an 'open' internet dead?

Walled in by the gardens of Facebook and Google and stifled by authoritarian governments. Are we headed toward a world of 'splinternets'?

Social media can be 'toxic' and 'violent' — so people are trading it for private chats: journalist

Tech journalist Takara Small says people are building private social networks, through group messages with friends and family and interest-based communities, to create a safe space online.

In 300 metres, turn left: a digital history of maps

In honour of the 15th anniversary of Google Maps, we explore all the ways we have learned to navigate the world by sight, smell and sound.

Truth decay: How digital technologies are helping shatter our shared sense of reality

Polarization and filter bubbles are destroying our shared sense of reality. Does this mean society is headed toward a state of psychosis?

Suggestions, subscriptions and no sense of community: Streaming is changing the way we watch TV

Who will be the winners and losers in the competitive streaming video market? And what can we, the consumers, make of all this dizzying choice?

How streaming sites like Netflix are taking design cues from the porn industry to keep people watching

Recommended videos and animated thumbnails are all designed to offer viewers "satisfaction through abundance." But before they appeared on sites like Netflix or Amazon Prime, they were already common on porn sites.

How urban design can help make winters less miserable

Season-conscious mindset and urban design can help us embrace winter instead of avoiding it.
PERSONAL ESSAY

It's dark when I wake up. It's dark when I leave work. In winter, there is no sun here

Social media is a flurry of #wintermagic photos this time of year, but Spark senior producer Michelle Parise isn't having it.
PERSONAL ESSAY

Winter is a fact of Canadian life. So I make the most of it

Winter is part of our natural environment. Spark producer Adam Killick says we should get out and enjoy it.

Apps make it easier for couples to separate, but family law experts say communication is still key

Online tools for divorce and co-parenting aim to keep the process amicable and inexpensive. These digital resources are part of a broader move to open up divorce to less adversarial conflict resolution methods like mediation, coaching and collaborative law.

'This century is crucial': Why the U.K.'s astronomer royal says humanity is at a critical crossroads

This week on Spark, we speak with Martin Rees, the U.K.’s astronomer royal and author of On The Future: Prospects for Humanity, about the challenges humanity will face in the future, and how we might harness technology to tackle them.

CRTC head talks wireless plans, phishing scams and the future of streaming in Canada

With phone scams on the rise and a plethora of streaming services flooding the market, how well are we prepared for the 2020s? Spark host Nora Young talks to CRTC Chairperson and CEO Ian Scott.

How making AI do goofy things exposes its limitations

In her book, "You Look Like a Thing and I Love You," Janelle Shane poses the pitfalls of AI dependence

Musician-turned-researcher David Usher is exploring the human side of artificial intelligence

An AI project from a Montreal-based creative studio is aiming to connect with humans beyond simple information retrieval.

The Spark guide to rest and relaxation

Put some cozy socks on, set your phone notifications on silent, and kick back, as we revisit conversations with people who've dedicated their research to helping us rest, recharge and return to nature.

From racial profiling to #BlackLivesMatter: Technology, oppression and expression

One of the original uses of networking tech were attempts at racial profiling and predictive policing, author Charlton McIlwain says.

Move over, Silicon Valley — the new centres of innovation are in Africa, says author

The innovators creating the technologies of the future aren’t coming out of the wealthy campuses of Silicon Valley, but instead from the developing nations of Africa, Latin America and Asia, says author Ramesh Srinivasan.

Walden, revisited

How can we find solitude in a world that runs at the speed of a smartphone?

Why this woman's family abstains from technology 1 day a week

In an effort to disconnect from the digital world and reconnect more meaningfully, Tiffany Shlain's family adopted a technology Shabbat: one day of the week, they turn off their screens to spend face-to-face time with one another, to cook, or to simply do nothing at all.

3 experts on failure explain what we can learn from our mistakes

Failure is having a moment in the tech industry. What can that teach us about our limitations and how we measure success?

Technology and unintended consequences

We're not very good at predicting the potential side effects of our tech

When information is freely available online, learning institutions are forced to change

The internet offers a huge amount of information, usually for free. So how has that affected the institutions we have traditionally learned from: our schools, colleges, and universities?

Disabled people want disability design—not disability dongles

People with disabilities want to be participants in design, not recipients of design

The case against predictability

Everything we do is analyzed, measured, and quantified to create a model of us online, which then tries to influence our behavour. But how accurate is our quantified self?

People rely on devices to store information, but that's not a bad thing, researchers say

With smartphones and automated technologies taking care of our information for us, the means to store information outside of our brains is endless. But does this “information offloading” have an impact on the brain’s memory function?
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