Spark with Nora Young



Jeanette Winterson envisions a post-material future in latest book of essays

The celebrated writer shares her vision of possible AI futures.

Canada's laws need updating to protect against abuse from surveillance tech, watchdog says

A look at the far future and nitty gritty present of artificial intelligence and what it might mean for how we relate to one another and the non-human entities that will —and increasingly do— surround us.

Thanks to machines, humans are trained to change the way we speak

On today's social media platforms, people speak in code to elude algorithmic censors, an example of how improvisation reshapes language.

With advances in medicine, could 80 become the new 40?

We all age. But the process of aging may be different in the year 2050 thanks to advances in medical tech.

How tech can help build a more sustainable fashion future

Our digital tech both facilitates and mitigates waste in the garment industry. But can the technology that ramped up global fashion production also help us build a more sustainable fashion future?

6 creative approaches to the climate crisis and a sustainable tech future

A retrospective look at Spark's long history of covering stories about creative solutions to the climate crisis.

Falling in love or falling for fraud: The dark side of online dating

Dating apps have opened doors for people looking to find intimacy across physical and digital divides — but they've also served as hosts for bad actors and scammers. 

Thousands of mental health apps aren't reaching the people who need it most

With demands on mental health care increasing, there's been a boom in mental health tech. But can technological fixes really address health care gaps?

How will we power the world sustainably in 2050?

New forms of green energy will help keep fossil fuels in the ground by mid-century, analysts predict.

Could understanding the evolution of cyberattacks better prepare us for the future of warfare?

A look at cyberwarfare and the implications of large scale cyber attacks at the domestic and international level.

In wake of pandemic, new online platforms promise to pay artists what they deserve

A new crop of 'creator first' platforms are helping musicians and other creatives connect with fans and monetize their talent, but can they really change the game for artists?

'Great Resignation' or just greater expectations?

Digital HR strategist Ian Cook explains why he thinks the so-called 'Great Resignation' may be more about changing employee expectations than excessive quitting.

How TikTok's design helps turn ordinary people into villains

From Reddit to TikTok, a look at how the design of online spaces shapes how we behave, interact and learn from one another.

What will our sense of time and space be like in 30 years?

A look at how time and space, and how the widespread adoption of technologies like the metaverse might challenge some of our longest-held notions around the way our bodies and minds operate in the future.

Social media platforms 'benefit from the intersections of racism and capitalism'

From cultural appropriation to commodified trauma, Black creators and consumers of digital media are increasingly forced to confront a variety of unique challenges on social media platforms.

Weird pandemic dreams might be good for you, says researcher

Daniele Quercia has been analyzing people's 'weird' COVID-era dreams using natural language processing and machine learning.

Why animals and smart machines can't measure up to human intelligence

In a new book, Paul Thagard looks at how animals and even the smartest machines fall far short of human capabilities.

Social tech can be a lifeline and challenge to friendship, says researcher

The evolutionary biology of friendship and how digital tech has shaped our fundamental sense of togetherness.

What will our sense of "government" be in 2050?

A speculative look at how tech could influence the way we govern and are governed in the future.

If we build the metaverse, will anybody come?

A deep look into the metaverse and why digital currency may be the coin of the virtual realm.

Government-issued digital currency could be the coin of the future

Central banks around the world are focused on developing official digital currencies.

What if consciousness is just a hallucination?

Anil Seth proposes the "Beast Machine" theory that suggests our consciousness are 'controlled hallucinations' and as such, AI will likely never achieve it.

Future with conscious androids requires serious ethical consideration, says philosopher

Susan Schneider explores the possible future of AI, including the moral implications of building conscious androids.

What happens when you give up headphones for a week?

When lawyer Michael Shammas experimented with not wearing headphones, he found himself reconnecting with his inner monologue.

Aging brains have more trouble concentrating — and that may be a good thing

Tarek Amer, a psychology postdoctoral research fellow at Columbia University, says that although our ability to focus our attention on specific things worsens as we age, older adults are able to retain broad swaths of information better than younger people.