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The Spark Guide To Life, Episode Four: Groceries!

Tech at the Food Retail Lab, the impact of self checkout, grocery delivery services, and reducing food waste.

A grocery store 'lab' points to future trends in how you buy food

At the University of Guelph, there's a laboratory made to look like a grocery store. The Food Retail Lab is run by Mike von Massow, a food economist and professor at the University of Guelph. He explains some of the tech being used in grocery stores, and how we can expect that tech to affect us.

Self checkout shows how much human work goes into 'automation'

Self-checkout machines are often a last resort for shoppers, but stores keep pushing them. Researchers Madeleine Clare Elish and Alexandra Mateescu tell us about their report, AI in Context: The Labor of Integrating New Technologies, and how self checkout machines affect grocery workers.

Food delivery services are growing, but customers still want to squeeze the produce

Once upon a time, you'd drive to a sprawling grocery store and fill up your car with food for a few weeks. But in dense urban centres with few cars, grocery delivery is becoming more popular. Retail marketing expert Patricia Vekich Waldron explains what's at stake (steak?) when it comes to getting foodstuffs to your doorstep.

Zero-waste stores battle plastic packaging

From Brooklyn, Sicily and Malaysia to South Africa, Vancouver and Toronto, a growing number of supermarkets are selling food without packaging in an effort to curb the toll of plastic on the environment.
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The Spark Guide To Life, Episode Three: Health

How data-driven personalization is changing how people manage their own health.

Should your DNA determine what you eat?

Nutrition advice is often one-size-fits-all, but the emerging science of nutrigenomics promises a more customized nutrition plan. Is it effective?

Wearables go beyond fitness tracking to help people with chronic health conditions

After the fitness band: the future of continuous body tracking for health

New tech provides early warning for depression

'Affective computing' measures subtle changes in stress and mental health

The Spark Guide to Life, Episode Two: Work Productivity

Decluttering our tech, understanding your workplace 'personality', the idea of a boss as a service, and reducing our focus on 'productivity' as a means to an end.

Stop worrying and learn to love your overflowing email inbox

A new movement known as "inbox infinity" is taking off

How to 'Marie Kondo' your tech life

Just because it's digital, doesn't mean it's not clutter, says tech reporter Brian X. Chen.

Which of these office spaces fits your 'workplace personality'?

Pop-up workspace can be reconfigured according to your style.

Time management tools can mask being overworked

Author says productivity is counterproductive.

'Boss as a Service' aims to help people avoid procrastination

Freelancers can hire a boss to keep them on track.

The Spark Guide to Life, Episode One: Transportation

The impact of Uber, airport design, and matching idle cars with people who need a ride.

Ride-sharing was supposed to make traffic better. It's making it worse

Uber, Lyft and similar ride-hailing services are taking riders away from public transit, says one transportation consultant.

How airports are designed to distract us from long walks, lengthy waits

The terminal challenge of airport terminal design.

Is car ownership losing its allure? How technology is driving people toward alternatives

From on-demand chauffeurs to vehicle subscriptions to renting your neighbour’s car, the options for getting from point A to point B are more plentiful than ever before. So what does this mean for the traditional travel methods?

Self-driving, robotic boats turn Amsterdam's canals into markets and concert stages

MIT professor Daniela Rus explains how she's helped devise a group of self-driving boats, called "roboats," for Amsterdam's canals.

Spark 444

Autonomous cars are still a ways off⁠—but autonomous boats are in Amerstdam's canals. In his new book, The Creativity Code, Marcus du Sautoy looks at the state of the art in AI creativity. Introducing GLITCH, the world's first AI fashion brand.

An algorithm for style: How AI is reimagining fashion design

Emily Salvador and Pinar Yanardag are MIT computer scientists and the creators of Glitch, a new clothing line whose designs are created by machine-learning algorithms.

New book explores AI and the secrets of human creativity

Marcus du Sautoy is a mathematician, trumpeter and actor. In his new book, The Creativity Code, he looks at the state of the art in AI creativity.

Smart home security could have real impacts on privacy, racial profiling

Amazon and Google have made a hard push into the home security market, but civilian surveillance could have real impacts on privacy and racial profiling.

Spark 443

How smart home security could have real impacts on privacy, racial profiling. Empowering trans people with technical and digital skills. The evolution of the syntheszier. The cognitive cost of communications bloat.

A grocery store 'lab' points to future trends in how you buy food

At the University of Guelph, there's a laboratory made to look like a grocery store. The Food Retail Lab is run by Mike von Massow, a food economist and professor at the University of Guelph. He explains some of the tech being used in grocery stores, and how we can expect that tech to affect us.

The Spark Guide To Life, Episode Four: Groceries!

Tech at the Food Retail Lab, the impact of self checkout, grocery delivery services, and reducing food waste.

Self checkout shows how much human work goes into 'automation'

Self-checkout machines are often a last resort for shoppers, but stores keep pushing them. Researchers Madeleine Clare Elish and Alexandra Mateescu tell us about their report, AI in Context: The Labor of Integrating New Technologies, and how self checkout machines affect grocery workers.

Food delivery services are growing, but customers still want to squeeze the produce

Once upon a time, you'd drive to a sprawling grocery store and fill up your car with food for a few weeks. But in dense urban centres with few cars, grocery delivery is becoming more popular. Retail marketing expert Patricia Vekich Waldron explains what's at stake (steak?) when it comes to getting foodstuffs to your doorstep.

Zero-waste stores battle plastic packaging

From Brooklyn, Sicily and Malaysia to South Africa, Vancouver and Toronto, a growing number of supermarkets are selling food without packaging in an effort to curb the toll of plastic on the environment.