Sparkwith Nora Young


When it comes to COVID-19, social media fills a gap left by scientists — and it's a problem, says sociologist

It takes time for scientists and public health officials to provide reliable answers in crises like the current pandemic. That can be frustrating for people seeking accurate, science-based information, who then turn to other sources, says Fuyuki Kurasawa.

Think for yourself: how to judge expertise in a time of conflicting opinions

Vikram Mansharamani urges us not to turn over critical thinking to technology

We need to stop our obsession with efficiency to address wealth disparity, says management expert

Celebrated management thinker Roger Martin argues our culture of obsessive efficiency is bad economics, bad for business, and bad for society.

How designing better algorithms can help us design better, more just societies

There's been a lot of discussion about algorithmic bias, but the focus has been on bias in historical data. We take a look at why it's so difficult to encode fairness, and why a rising computer science star still believes we can use machine learning for social good.

Planning the future of transportation? Think sustainability, social equity, experts say 

While many Silicon Valley tech billionaires and future-minded visionaries believe the future of transportation lies in technologies like autonomous vehicles, delivery drones and even hyperloops, some future-minded thinkers believe we need to make sure issues like sustainability and social equity are part of the conversations we have today.

Pandemic uncertainty may actually be good for your brain, neuroscientist explains

Adapting to life during a pandemic may be stressful, but neuroscientist David Eagleman says these changes help keep our brain in shape. In his book, Livewired, he argues that our brains constantly adapt to the changing external environment. He explains how the brain responds to new demands, whether that's living in a pandemic or recovering from injury.

Pandemic recovery will require rethinking capitalist norms, expert says 

Rather than planning COVID-19 economic recoveries around old capitalist norms, one business-world advisor believes that global enterprises need to take steps to re-invent their approach to capitalism by taking steps to combat growing inequality. 

U.S. feud with TikTok emblematic of rise of techno-nationalism, expert says

U.S. President Donald Trump's feud with the popular TikTok video-sharing social-networking app likely has less to do with overall concerns for national security and more to do with the rise of techno-nationalism, according to one Canadian cybersecurity expert.

Understanding online extremism begins with 'whole society' approach, expert says

Vivek Venkatesh, UNESCO co-Chair in Prevention of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism amd professor at Concordia University, spoke with Spark host Nora Young to break down what the real-world presence of such movements means — and to offer a perspective on how to prevent extremism. 

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.

Why fungi could be the future of environmentally sustainable building materials

As the construction industry struggles to deal with its impact on the climate, a new crop of people with big ideas are looking for alternative materials to build with. Phil Ayres, an architect and associate professor of architecture in Copenhagen, says the future of building materials isn't high tech polymers or special light metals but mushrooms.  

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?

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.

Walden, revisited

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

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?

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?

Inside the machine: Hidden technologies from sea to sky

From weather forecasting to sending email, there is an astonishing amount of hidden technology involved - we take a peek inside the machinery.

Classes are moving online, but teaching methods still need to catch up, says education expert

The pandemic rapidly switched education to an emergency remote teaching model. But does that temporary change mark a bigger shift toward online learning? And could that make university and college a more flexible experience? Online education expert Tony Bates weighs in on how higher education is changing.

The new, new normal: is the pandemic heralding a 'golden age' of cycling?

"It's a 19th-century solution to a 21st-century problem," says Michael Longfield, the head of Cycle Toronto

How emerging technologies amplify racism—even when they're intended to be neutral

Ruha Benjamin's book, Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code, explains how even attempts to address racial bias can actually amplify it.

'We behave differently if we know we're being watched'

Richard Lachman says Google's cancelled Sidewalk Labs project taught us valuable lessons about privacy

A brave new road: how transportation might look post-pandemic

If you live in a city, the way we used to get around--at least before March--has changed dramatically. Public transit use is way down. You can't buy a bicycle for demand. People who previously took the bus or ridesharing services have gone back to the safe isolation of their car. Of course, that's if they have a car, or live close enough to their work to ride a bike. For many, public transit is the only option. So how will urban transportation look after the pandemic?

Shifting consumer habits during the pandemic may change the future of retail in Canada

Retail experts say the industry could be changed for good with in-store experiences adapted to prevent virus transmission and consumer habits permanently shifted to favour e-commerce.