The Sunday Magazine

The Sunday Magazine for March 28, 2021

Host Piya Chattopadhyay speaks with Bruce Jones of the Brookings Institution about heightened tensions between North America and China, journalist Kevin Roose talks about how artificial intelligence and automation have changed our lives, our jobs, even our tastes, psychologist Peter Lovatt discusses how dancing is a fundamental human need and a way to heal ourselves and bioethicist Jessica Pierce discusses the pandemic pet boom.

This week on The Sunday Magazine with Piya Chattopadhyay:

Is there a new Cold War brewing?

When Canadian Michael Kovrig was put on trial in China earlier this week in a closed courtroom, 28 diplomats from 26 democratic countries, including Canada and the United States, stood outside in protest. U.S. President Joe Biden likewise says he'll stand with Canada to win the freedom of Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been held in China for more than two years on spying charges that Canadian officials say were fabricated. But the tough talk on China doesn't end there. This past week, Biden called for democracies to work together to hold China accountable on a number of issues, including human rights abuses. The rhetoric has left many wondering whether a new Cold War is brewing, with the United States and China as central players. Bruce Jones from the Brookings Institution think tank joins Chattopadhyay to unpack the evidence he sees for the world being divided, once again, into two main geopolitical camps.

How to 'futureproof' your job, life and all you hold dear

Like so many of us, Kevin Roose was in the bathroom when he realized he had a problem. He'd been staring mindlessly at his phone, stuck in place, missing the real world all around him. That realization sent the New York Times tech columnist on a journey to redefine his relationship with technology. The result is his new book, Futureproof. Roose joins Chattopadhyay to talk about how artificial intelligence and automation have changed our lives, our jobs, even our tastes — and why we need to embrace our humanity if we want to live in harmony with the robots seemingly taking over our world.

Humans are hardwired to dance with others, says psychologist

For more than a year now, dancing with others has been discouraged — or outright banned — in the face of the pandemic and it's not clear when it will be allowed again. And if you feel like you are missing out as a result, you wouldn't be alone. There are deep reasons why so many of us are longing for the chance to move and sweat with others in shared spaces again, according to psychologist Peter Lovatt. He trained as a professional dancer, and went on to study dance in academia, and he tells Chattopadhyay that dancing is a fundamental human need and a way to heal ourselves and the world.

What's next for all those pandemic pets? 

The pet boom was one of the more surprising — if understandable — pandemic phenomena we witnessed this past year. Stuck at home with plenty of free time, and a frightening world outside, droves of Canadians welcomed new cats and dogs into their homes. But with vaccines rolling out, and potentially a return to "normal" life on the horizon, what will it mean for all these new pets? Bioethicist and writer Jessica Pierce fears pet shelters will once again be filled with pets we no longer have time for. But if there's a silver lining to the pet boom, she says, it's that we've hopefully come to better appreciate the emotional work our pets do.  

The meaning of "nod-crafty" and why it's making a comeback

If you've found yourself nodding sagely into the camera during a Zoom meeting, while you're actually thinking about what you might have for lunch, well, there's a word for that. In our latest instalment of "Word Processing," linguist Ben Zimmer brings us the strange history of "nod-crafty" — where it first appeared, how the Oxford English Dictionary interpreted it, and why now might just be the time for it to make a comeback.