Sparkwith Nora Young


How to make culturally appropriate persuasive games

We can use our love of games for behaviour change and to explore serious issues. But how do we design these games effectively, and what are the ethics of serious games?

Online games have become a big part of our pandemic lives

As people continue to look for opportunities to socialize at a distance, more and more are using game play to socialize right now. The video game industry is facing some real challenges nonetheless.

It's time to take back control of our data and become active data citizens, says author

What does it mean to be a good data citizen? Data artist and author Jer Thorp discusses how to build the information future we want. And political scientist Branka Panic talks about how data and machine learning can be used in conflict resolution and human rights.
First Person

Waking up in the middle of the night? Thank your pre-industrial ancestors

Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it! Everybody sleeps. But how has the way we sleep evolved with the technology we've developed?

Why plans for revolutionizing workplaces are often just 'innovation theatre'

Employees in the tech sector are organizing, demanding a more democratic workplace instead of so-called innovations in workspace design.

Taking cues from early childhood development to build better robots

Robots already work on factory floors, in dangerous situations, and cleaning the floor, but to truly interact with us, they're going to need to understand our world.

High levels of pandemic-induced anxiety, depression observed in social media posts

As we interact more with our digital technologies, can we analyze behaviour on social media for mental health insights?

How I stopped my nightly doomscrolling by putting down the phone and picking up pastels

Over the past month, Spark Senior Producer Michelle Parise decided to change how she'd spend the few hours she had to herself late in the evenings. And the shake-up was more revelatory than she expected.

Now is an opportunity to reimagine and rebuild online spaces through real world design, says researcher

Deb Roy, Executive Director of the MIT Media Lab and the MIT Laboratory for Social Machines, discusses how we can improve existing digital spaces.

You can become more 'time smart' by changing one small habit at a time, says author

Even though North Americans have more leisure time than ever, many of us feel chronically time-crunched, focusing on work at the expense of meaningful leisure time with others. Behavioural scientist Ashley Whillans studies the relationship between time, money, and happiness. In her new book, she explains how we can avoid the 'time traps' that lead to overwork, and lack of free time.

Fifty years of email, the correspondence we love to hate

From cave paintings to chat messaging, we've always wanted to share our feelings in writing.

COVID-19 vaccine puts spotlight on one of humanity's oldest inventions

An indepth look at the history of glass and a broader look at the circumstances that push us to innovate even with much older technologies.

Power imbalance in the art world gets a shake up thanks to NFTs

NFTs could economically democratize the art market for artists and put money in their pockets. For buyers, herd mentality is part of what's driving "Niftymania", not unlike the tulipmania of the 17thC.

During disasters, social media fills a critical role beyond emergency services

Can we be more resilient in the wake of extreme natural events? Machine learning and social media response can help shape future disaster response.

The vices and virtues of planned obsolescence

Planned obsolescence has been around for longer than you think. But just how dangerous is the constant-upgrade train?

A tangle of tech and memories

Journalist David Kattenburg's Winnipeg home is filled with obsolete audio recording equipment. And it's time to get rid of it all.

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

Neuroscientist David Eagleman says these changes help keep our brain in shape.

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. 

Industrialized food production is 'a very foolish system', says author

Science journalist and author Julian Cribb has been writing about climate change and agriculture for decades. With the ongoing rise of water and social scarcity, he envisions a more sustainable future through the creation of a circular food economy. He says urban farming is key to bringing this vision to life.

Edge computing may hold the key to a faster, cheaper, more sustainable internet

As we move into an internet of things world with internet-connected objects spread out in the world around us, maybe it's time to rethink the cloud in favour of something more, yes, distributed. Understanding edge computing.

Enter the Clubhouse: Why users are moving to new, smaller social media platforms

From subscriptions services serving as alternative revenue streams for users to audio-based platforms offering a more intimate experience, social media has become more populated thanks to a variety of new, niche platforms and applications.

Tech titans like Google and Facebook are built on a 'house of cards', says Oxford philosopher

From walls to WhatsApp, privacy is a collective responsibility, says Carissa Véliz, who researches the relationship between power and privacy. And, we take a historical look at privacy and its connection to technological change, with David Vincent.

Pandemic online shopping boom has generated bumper crop of vulnerable personal data, e-commerce experts warn

The pandemic has driven consumers online for everything from groceries to outdoor heaters. But e-commerce experts caution that online sellers are netting not just revenue, but a treasure trove of personal data, too.

From IRL to URL: the challenges of getting a small business online

Before the pandemic hit, Winnipeg jewelry maker C.J. Tennant wasn't using e-commerce at all. Like many small business owners across the country, she had to build an online retail space from scratch in order to stay competitive.

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.