Spark with Nora Young


If we build the metaverse, will anybody come?

Big tech has been buzzing about the metaverse for months. A deep look into what it actually is 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, partly as a more stable public alternative to cryptocurrencies.

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.

Tech distractions may harm your concentration, but you can reverse it, says psychologist

Technology isn't permanently harming our ability to concentrate, despite the widely held belief that our devices and the internet are making us worse at focusing, according to a cognitive psychology expert.

The power and provocation of art

The strange and wonderful way art has helped us navigate our digital lives over the past 15 seasons of Spark.

Will we own anything in the far future?

Many of the things we once "owned" have become a subscription or a service. Does that mean the whole idea of "ownership" is changing? Will we even *own* anything in a few decades?

Tech alone can't solve the housing crisis, says researcher

A new crop of digital platforms aim to address housing equity, from improving mortgage terms to providing homelessness resources. But do technical answers work for social questions?

Is it time to see more content and fewer ads in online search?

It's unlikely anyone will knock Google off its perch, but there is space for alternatives, experts say

Want a job in 2050? Work on your empathy and perspective skills, experts say

Automation will only take us so far, and the dream of a generalized intelligent machine is still too far off to measure.

Diagnosing healthcare's cyber hygiene problem

While healthcare professionals have been quick to embrace new technologies, they've also been slow to understand cyber threats.

Digital mental health care needs to be more accessible

Apps shouldn't replace the need for access to professional care, psychiatrist says

Disruptive tech alone won't revolutionize education, says author

When genuine disruption happens, it can create chaos, but it eventually becomes the new normal. What does the pandemic have to teach us about tech and education? And, understanding the long-term trajectory of disruption.

How will we experience music in 2050?

With the expansion of virtual technology and the metaverse, we may be able to connect with music in deeper ways than ever before, experts say.

'Poor residents get all the acoustical trash'

Epidemiologist Erica Walker looks at the impact of unwanted sound on communities from a public health perspective.

What noise is doing to our brains

Nina Kraus talks about her new book, Of Sound Mind, and reflects on the impact of our contemporary, technologically-infused sonic world.

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

The celebrated writer discusses her recent book of essays, 12 Bytes, and shares her vision of possible AI futures.

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.

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.

YouTube videos an 'important cultural artifact' of our life, says researcher

YouTube has all but a monopoly on online video. What would happen if it were to disappear entirely?

Something's rotten in the state of the internet, and archivists are worried

How do we preserve 'the record' when web pages get taken down, reassigned, or simply disappear?

What will home look like in 2050?

An urban planner, an architect and a museum director discuss the changing idea of "home" and what that might look like five decades from now.

Since the 60s, countercultures have subverted mainstream tech to connect and build community

From the Whole Earth Catalogue to Facebook drag queens: a short history of online counterculture.