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Robotaxis and a future with driverless cars

The promise of autonomous vehicles is they'll be safer, and reduce congestion. But designing them to anticipate rare events is a tough nut to crack. With robo-taxis already on U.S. city streets, are self-driving cars ready to hit the road?

Digital nomads want to work from anywhere. Some worry that's creating problems for local communities

The trend toward digital nomadism has been growing in recent years, but saw a sharp rise after the pandemic opened the door to more flexibility at work. But that freedom to work from anywhere has created tension in some communities where the cost of living has spiked for locals.

As EU law hopes to rein in Big Tech's algorithms, this reporter wants a 'third path'

Investigative journalist and founder of The Markup Julia Angwin explores the longstanding problem with algorithmic curation on platforms and what the EU's Digital Services Act could mean for the future of online content curation.

How 10 seemingly small innovations had an outsized effect on the way we live

In this special 10-part series, Spark host Nora Young looks at small inventions that have gone on to change the world.

Why putting down the phone and enjoying the summer is harder than you think

As the summer months roll along, you might feel powerless to tear your eyes and thumbs from the phone and actually get outside to enjoy the weather. But it's not your fault, experts say, because the companies that design our devices are intentionally working to make them addictive.

Three ways the audio recorder changed the world

From the earliest recordings of the human voice, to the cassette's impact on the music industry, to listening beyond our world.

How you can kick-start collaboration at work for better job satisfaction

Whether you're working hybrid, remotely or on a jobsite full-time, communication and collaboration are key to productivity and job satisfaction. We explore how designers can help foster collaboration and help us reconnect and build community.

How AI researchers are teaching machines to collaborate like human coworkers

Researcher and author Brian Christian shares how collaboration between humans and machine learning systems is evolving. 

Sci-fi storytelling gives us the tools to imagine better futures, says researcher

From the moon landing to universal translators, science fiction has offered us visions of our technological future. But the genre also offers writers and thinkers around the world the tools to tell futuristic stories that reflect their own realities.

Mapping the camera's influence from the first permanent photograph to today

How the technical evolution of the camera has changed the way we see the world — from documenting historical harms to finding community in times of grief.

Digital data has an environmental cost. Calling it 'the cloud' conceals that, researcher says

Routine online activities like sharing photos to social media, uploading files to shared drives, or streaming TV shows produce a lot of digital data. And as that data production soars, so does the energy demand for storing and processing it. 

What the BlackBerry story can teach us about challenges of innovation

With the theatrical release of a new movie about the rise and fall of BlackBerry, director Matt Johnson and innovation expert Elizabeth Altman look at the story of the iconic company, and why it's so hard to keep up the pace of innovation.

How yeast and bacteria could be key to future fashion design

From fungus as a leather alternative, to microbial fabric, researchers are tackling the environmental impact of the apparel industry by experimenting with new sustainable approaches to textile design.

How 'influencer creep' altered creative industries and our lives online

Influencers are often associated with the worst parts of social media, but they've also given birth to a multi-billion dollar global industry and shaped the way we present ourselves online.

How the humble household refrigerator changed the world — for better and for worse

How the ability to create cold on demand changed our relationship with food forever — and the environmental impacts that are only projected to grow.  

Wild and innovative materials are revolutionizing design

From constructing whole buildings out of fungal threads, to growing furniture in orchards, to storing our data in living cells, we take a special look at 'living' design.

How 'compassionate ageism' made its way into design of new technology

If older people are using technology, why aren't their needs factored into its design? That's a question researchers at the intersection of digital innovation and aging are looking into.

Birth control pill's legacy coloured by coercion and oppression, says researcher

From family planning to sexual freedom, the birth control pill was groundbreaking when it first hit the market, but what many didn't expect was the far-reaching reverberations it would have over time, beyond pregnancy prevention.

Bots like ChatGPT aren't sentient. Why do we insist on making them seem like they are?

A look at the philosophical implications of interacting with tools that don't have consciousness, or even intelligence, but seem like they do.

The dangerous myth of neutrality in tech, and how to fix it

Data scientist and journalist Meredith Broussard discusses her new book, More Than a Glitch: Confronting Race, Gender, and Ability Bias in Tech.

From virtual care apps to AI algorithms: the trouble with data collection in healthcare

Tech is changing the way we collect health data. What does the explosion of virtual healthcare services mean for patient data privacy? And what role will data-driven AI play in the future of medicine?

Decentralized web movement imagines 'a web with many winners' that puts community first

Mai Ishikawa Sutton and Alicia Urquidi Díaz discuss the vision behind the movement known as DWeb, and how the decentralized web combines the community aspect of the '90s online experience with today's equity and accessibility principles.

Smartphones may be our greatest tool for outdoor and indoor navigation

Navigation technology has come a long way since the invention of the compass. And while outdoor wayfinding has been the focus of much research and innovation in this space, indoor positioning and navigation technology has also made inroads.

Can smart buildings offer sustainability without sacrificing privacy?

New developments promise to make networked homes that are easy and practical, and smart buildings that are sustainable. But can we get smart spaces that also protect our privacy?

Iranian government's digital control tactics are a sophisticated form of repression, says researcher

When a new technology comes along, it's easy to see its liberating potential. But as current protests in Iran show, those same digital tools for organizing and communicating, can also be used for surveillance and suppression.