Sparkwith Nora Young

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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.
Q&A

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.

Indigenous Futurisms: Changing the narrative in science fiction and fact

How do Indigenous Peoples fit into futuristic narratives? And not just in science fiction, but also in the tech world?

Online communication is a lifeline, but lack of touch and non-verbal cues have taken their toll

This week, a look back at stories that first aired in the early months of the pandemic that examine what we've learned about communication, and why in an online era we still need physical touch.

The future of working, shopping, and getting around

Safe to say, 2020 has been a long year, full of challenges, as well as opportunities to do things differently. We look back at the progress we've made in everything from transportation, to retail to working remotely and think about where we go from here.

It's not just you - the pandemic really is making it hard to focus on anything

We have been lamenting our loss of focus and blaming our short attention spans on technology for ages. But are our attention spans actually dwindling - or is it just that there are just so many things clamouring for our attention all the time?

Pandemic has slowed interest in virtual reality — but it's also helping connect people in surprising ways

Many activities have moved to our screens and online over the course of the pandemic, but we're still much more likely to invest in an ergonomic chair than a VR headset. So what still stands in the way of wider adoption of virtual reality?

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

As we interact more - and more often - with our digital technologies, those interactions tell us a lot about who we are. Can we analyze behaviour on social media for mental health insights? Researchers Munmun De Choudhury and Koustuv Saha discuss their latest study of the psychosocial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as gleaned from Twitter.

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. In How To Grow a Robot, Mark Lee writes we should look to developmental psychology for lessons. And roboticist Chad Jenkins is working on teaching robots what to do by letting them observe humans.

How the pandemic has led to a resurgence of nostalgia

Throughout the pandemic we've seen a resurgence of retro hobbies like bread making, tie-dyeing clothes, and going to the drive-in. Why is nostalgia our natural response in times of crisis? And, fasten those jetpacks! A look at the surprising nostalgic pleasures of our past visions of the future.

Bored and lonely? Researcher says online games can help us socialize safely during the pandemic

Connecting with others over online games can help combat the stress and social isolation of the pandemic - and computer scientist and digital games researcher Regan Mandryk says you don't have to be a gamer to experience the benefits.

Can deepfake tech be used for good? Artist creates 'imaginary reckoning' for public figures

Deepfake technology can make it seem like people are saying and doing things they aren't. Can it be used for good? Deep Reckonings, a series created by artist Stephanie Lepp, imagines controversial public figures having reckonings using synthetic videos.
Audio

POV | How Animal Crossing helps me escape the stress of the pandemic

Spark producer Olsy Sorokina explains why open-ended video games can be so appealing during stressful times.

Truth decay: How digital technologies are helping shatter our shared sense of reality

Polarization and filter bubbles are destroying our shared sense of reality. Does this mean society is headed toward a state of psychosis?

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.

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