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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.
Designing tech for the most vulnerable users leads to better products for all, says researcher
Consumer technology must be designed with the needs of its most vulnerable users in mind, says human rights researcher Afsaneh Rigot.
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.
The history of lock picking can teach us a lot about better digital security
Security experts and historians discuss how the 6,000-year-old invention has evolved, shaping how we think about safety, protection and trespass in the physical and digital world.
Fascination is key to healthy urban living, says researcher
Cookie-cutter condos, glass business towers, minimal green space — there's clear evidence that many urban spaces have negative impacts on our mental health. But does it have to be that way?
These artists are exposing the dangers of AI and surveillance through art
From an AI-generated infinite conversation between thinkers to making art from easily obtained surveillance footage, artists are making the dystopia entertaining, at least
The future of tech: A Spark retrospective
The future is now! So where's my jetpack? Over the years, Spark has covered many tech developments and spoke with industry experts. So in this episode, we dig through the archives for a look at some of the more prescient conversations from the past decade.
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.