Podcast

Future Tense - ABC RN

A critical look at new technologies, new approaches and new ways of thinking, from politics to media to environmental sustainability.

Episodes

  • Depression, anxiety and social media

    Nov 16 2019

    What is the relationship between depression and digital technology?

  • Artificial intelligence, ethics and education

    Nov 09 2019

    AI holds enormous potential for transforming the way we teach, but first we need to define what kind of education system we want. Also, the head of the UK’s new Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation warns democratic governments that they urgently need an ethics and governance framework for emerging technologies.

  • Controlled Environmental Agriculture

    Nov 02 2019

    Controlled Environmental Agriculture promises to be cleaner and greener. It’s focussed on technology and it’s essentially about bringing food production closer to the point of consumption. We examine the potential and the pitfalls.

  • The Privacy Paradox

    Oct 26 2019

    Future Tense a look at how we might be revealing more private details online than we think and the value in the information that’s being mined - and you’ll hear how you could protect your data by actually revealing more than you already are.

  • Planning for a problematic future

    Oct 19 2019

    We all know the value of planning, but in a complex, complicated and often confounding world it can be difficult knowing how to start. Scenario Planning is planning tool for uncertain situations - find out what it entails and how it might benefit organisations and businesses.

  • Great Green Walls – holding back the deserts

    Oct 12 2019

    Desertification and land degradation affect the lives of around three billion people, according to UN estimates. Two ambitious projects aim at halting desertification and returning soil to productivity: the Great Green Wall project in northern Africa; and the Green Great Wall initiative in China.

  • Offshore architecture and marine urban sprawl

    Oct 05 2019

    There’s a new emphasis on land reclamation and building floating structures for everything from accommodation to marine farming to energy generation. Re-defining the use of the ocean is part of the emerging “blue economy” – one that can be both economically beneficial and environmentally responsible. How well can these often contradictory goals be reconciled?

  • The Psychology of Silicon Valley

    Sep 29 2019

    To understand new technology we need to comprehend the social, cultural and economic influences of the developers. Also, making direct comparisons between the human mind and Artificial Intelligence is counterproductive.

  • 3D printing and the “plateau of productivity”

    Sep 22 2019

    When the hype around 3D printing was at its peak, it was confidently predicted that every household would soon have a personal printer. That’s not the way it turned out. But 3D printing is coming back and it’s slowly making its way toward the verdant “plateau of productivity”.

  • The creeping militarisation of our police

    Sep 15 2019

    Police officers in many  western countries now dress like paramilitaries. Special police units are being trained and organised along military lines and issued with military-grade weapons. Is this creeping “militarisation” justified and what are the future implications for the effectiveness of policing in democratic societies?

  • Strengthening public interest journalism while defending media freedom

    Sep 08 2019

    A tale of two media environments: in the US, journalistic freedom is increasingly under threat from demonising rhetoric and the violent personal targeting of reporters; while in Ethiopia, the country’s new leader has opened the gate to press freedom. What can we learn from both experiences?

  • Google’s future city; the space-wide web; and how the ancients strategized for the future

    Sep 01 2019

    Get an update on Google’s controversial proposal to take over the construction and regulation of a section of Toronto; learn about how the ancient Athenians used Tragedy to guide their future decision-making and follow the rush to develop low-orbit satellites to secure the future of the Internet.

  • Future doom and the rose-coloured past

    Aug 25 2019

    Why do we see the past through rose-coloured glasses, but not the future? Psychologists tell us that human beings have a tendency to be fearful and pessimistic about the future, while simultaneously romanticising the past. If the theory is true, it might help explain the difficulties we often have in making informed decisions and effectively planning for the future.

  • With nature against climate change

    Aug 18 2019

    Nature Based Solutions is an environmental approach that seeks to counter the negative effects of climate change by working with nature.

  • Netflix's decline and why stricter regulation could strengthen the tech giants

    Aug 11 2019

    Netflix dominates online TV streaming, but for how long? Also, Cory Doctorow on how more government regulation could inadvertently make the tech giants even stronger.

  • Ensuring a classical future

    Aug 04 2019

    The world of classical music is changing. Some are predicting the demise of orchestral events. Others see opportunity in social media and a new sense of engagement between the audience and musicians.

  • Counterculture, consumerism and the far right

    Jul 28 2019

    Countercultural movements, like Occupy Wall Street, are meant to be future-focussed — revolutionary even. So why do they often fade into commercialism? Are they simply a function of consumer capitalism? If so, what future do they have? And must they always be progressive?

  • Western spies face a difficult future

    Jul 21 2019

    The CIA’s former counterintelligence chief warns Western spy agencies are being “overwhelmed” by their adversaries. And new surveillance technologies could spell the death of the traditional agent-in-the-field. The future of espionage looks problematic indeed.

  • Outsourcing, automation and the messiness of global labour

    Jul 14 2019

    Automation and outsourcing are dirty words for many people in Western countries worried about their future employment prospects. Developing countries are seen to be the major beneficiaries of off-shore labour, with multinationals hoovering up increased profits. But the reality is a lot more complex and even messy. Now, even developing countries are starting to feel the pain.

  • Prescient Predictions: 1984; Brave New World; and Network

    Jul 07 2019

    The dystopian best-seller 1984 was published exactly seventy years ago. Its influence has been profound. But does it really speak to today’s politico-cultural environment?

  • How to ensure free speech; and the EU’s new copyright directive

    Jun 30 2019

    Many Western governments continue to struggle with free speech. It’s not that they’re necessarily against it, it’s just that they don’t know how to effectively regulate out the offensive stuff.

  • Emotions, relationships & technology

    Jun 23 2019

    Our emotions are being manipulated, hacked and shared like never before. So what does this mean for their future, our relationships and the technology that's reading them?

  • The elusive edge of Innovation

    Jun 16 2019

    Are entrepreneurs the great innovators we’re told they are? What if the ideal of the lone genius is simply a myth? Innovation is a buzz term that’s become so over-used as to be almost meaningless. It’s time to be more innovative in our understanding of innovation.

  • Corruption: stealing the future

    Jun 09 2019

    Corruption exists in every country in the world. It’s estimated that around $US2 trillion is lost each year to bribes globally. It not only corrodes societies, it also steals their future potential. Yet we struggle to understand its nature and how to combat it.

  • Capitalism without profit

    Jun 02 2019

    Some of the world’s largest and most influential companies make no profit. They are monopolistic in intent and very future focussed - they favour growth over profitability. So, do they represent a new stage of capitalism, or a dangerous aberration?

  • Turning aircon into a climate fighter; Open-source seeds; Otlet; and the truth about tiny houses

    May 26 2019

    Hear about a plan to turn the air-conditioners of the world into a network of carbon-sucking fuel producers. Learn about a new licencing system for open-source seeds. Get the low down on who really lives in “tiny houses” and why.

  • Robots in the classroom and news on Wikipedia

    May 19 2019

    Artificial intelligence is now even entering the classroom - where does this take us? Also, Wikipedia’s role in the dissemination of news – a robust platform for fact? Or an invitation to constant revisionism?

  • As the Internet divides

    May 12 2019

    Analysts say that many countries and companies will soon be forced to make a decision between the Chinese version of the Internet and the liberal, Western model - both models have a very different underlaying philosophy and understanding of governance.

  • Have we stopped evolution?

    May 05 2019

    Advances in technology and medicine have been so great in recent decades that some scientists now believe we’ve altered the nature of evolution for plants and animals. Some even claim that it’s effectively stopped in humans.

  • Noise - does it have a future?

    Apr 28 2019

    Exponential urbanisation and automation look like making the future an increasingly rowdy place. We explore our changing attitudes to noise.

  • How to trick AI, plus the online platform centred on encouragement

    Apr 21 2019

    A lot of time and money is being spent trying to ensure the security of Artificial Intelligence systems, but what if you’re interested in tricking the system, not hacking it?

  • Ancestry, DNA and the Project of the Self

    Apr 14 2019

    Commercial DNA research is booming. People are motivated not just to check for disease indicators but to search out unknown relatives and lost ancestors.

  • The refugee hackathon

    Apr 07 2019

    Once the preserve of tech companies and government agencies, hackathons are now being employed in the community sector to quickly develop and test blue-sky ideas and create innovation in the social welfare world.

  • Med tech – simulation and immersion

    Mar 30 2019

    Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor Service has been taken over by dummies (mannequins to be precise). It’s all part of the development of an immersive training facility to counter the tyrannies of distance.

  • Pencil towers and issues around urban inequality and density

    Mar 23 2019

    Critics say that the proliferation of modern, wafer-thin skyscrapers are symbols of rising urban inequality. Also: Are levels of density in our cities making us ill? And what's the impact of short-term letting on urban affordability?

  • The news on smart speakers; the podcast push; and bringing flying cars down to Earth

    Mar 16 2019

    Voice-activated speakers are mostly being used to listen to music and check the weather. The Reuters Institute’s, Nic Newman, thinks that’s about to change. Also, have we just entered the “golden age” of podcasts?

  • Can free public transport save our cities?

    Mar 09 2019

    Luxembourg is just about to make its public transport free. The first country (albeit a small one) to do so. But do the promises of a cleaner, less congested urban environment really stack-up?

  • Does the Meritocratic ideal have merit?

    Mar 02 2019

    An emphasis on merit is often seen as the answer to inequality. Some argue merit should be used to guide all forms of political, economic and social progress. But who determines what is meritorious? And is it possible to build a genuinely meritocratic state?

  • All at sea - mapping, mining and Arctic shipping

    Feb 23 2019

    Only about nine per cent of the ocean floor has been mapped using high-definition technology. But a new global initiative aims to change that. It’s called the Seabed 2030 Project. Also, how viable is seabed mining? And will climate change see the Arctic turned into a major shipping route?

  • Goodbye Google+, the end of privacy, and once were warriors

    Feb 16 2019

    Google+ will soon be shut down. So why did the social network fail? And what does its demise tell us about social platforms in general? Also, understanding the real history of our current data privacy dilemma; and why the tech titans of today look a lot like the railway barons of old.

  • Street art – the next space race?

    Feb 09 2019

    Street artists are busy commandeering as many city surfaces as their paints will allow, authorities are trying to neutralise the threat, while advertising agencies are keen to clone the potency of hand painted art.

  • Future warfare

    Feb 02 2019

    Autonomous weapons are on the march. Response speeds are everything. But in the heat of battle, ultrafast algorithmic decision-making can prove a curse, not a blessing.

  • What future Antarctica?

    Jan 26 2019

    It’s a golden time for Antarctic research, with more and more countries taking a direct interest in the great southern continent. But suspicions abound as to the real motivations of key Antarctic players.

  • Who would want to be a diplomat?

    Jan 19 2019

    The future of diplomacy: Backroom manoeuvrings are giving way to public forums. And carefully laid plans can come unstuck with a single tweet.

  • A not so diplomatic future

    Jan 12 2019

    Diplomacy is often viewed as a way of smoothing the friction points between states, but international relations are becoming increasingly assertive and highly personal.

  • Faked reality

    Jan 05 2019

    Are the systems we’ve developed to enhance our lives now impairing our ability to distinguish between reality and falsity? Can teaching of ethics and critical thinking help lead us out of the shadowlands?

  • Are rituals still needed in a world mediated through digital devices?

    Dec 29 2018

    Are rituals still needed in a world mediated through digital devices? Rituals exist in our everyday life, as a way of helping us to make sense of the world.

  • The GIF as an increasingly important communication tool

    Dec 22 2018

    The GIF, this little looped video, is often misunderstood as a component of modern communication. It has an important role to play in making modern digital discussion smoother.

  • Data trust, Computational Law and a “Google city” update

    Dec 15 2018

    We hear about the EU-funded project Counting as a Human Being in the Era of Computational Law. We get up-to-date on a new data trust mark for Australian researchers. And we take you back to the Quayside 'Google' project in Toronto.

  • Making water out of thin air

    Dec 08 2018

    More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, but only around 2.5 percent is drinkable. In this episode we talk to various scientists engaged in making water out of thin air.

  • Trams, bots and solar roads

    Dec 01 2018

    A cross between a bus and light rail promises better transport; humans are sounding more like bots online; and solar panels on roads might deliver more hype than energy.

  • Populism and its relationship with social media

    Nov 24 2018

    What role has social media played in the rise of populist politics? Also, what responsibility should technology companies have in preventing the misuse of social media by political extremists?

  • Designing technology to increase inclusion for the disabled

    Nov 17 2018

    Inclusive design isn’t just about meeting the needs of the disabled, it’s about opening-up the possibility of creating better products and services for everyone.

  • Reflections on the smart phone

    Nov 10 2018

    Smart phones have become an essential part of our lives. But are they so familiar, we sometimes underestimate their importance? The role they’ve played in helping to shape our interests and interactions?

  • Transitioning to a new economy

    Nov 03 2018

    Parts of Australia were built on mining and coal-fired power-generation. Then they lost those industries. Future Tense looks as innovative ways to move forward.

  • The rapid growth of e-sports

    Oct 27 2018

    E-sports – competitive video gaming – is set to leave traditional performance sport in its wake. Whether to recognise e-sports as a real sport is not the main issue any more; the main challenge is to create working governance structures.

  • Future of reading

    Oct 20 2018

    How do you read? And how will you be reading in the future? Writers, journalists and publishers discuss the changing digital and literary world and how it could look in the years to come.

  • Listening and responding

    Oct 13 2018

    Future Tense looks at the seemingly lost art of listening - listening, not just hearing! And what being responsive can mean in the modern world.

  • Getting serious about drones

    Oct 06 2018

    It is time to put aside the novelty aspect of unmanned aerial vehicles and start designing domestic drones that are fit for purpose. But how do you regulate a technology that has so many different uses and such varying capacities?

  • Ensuring a classical future

    Sep 30 2018

    The world of classical music is changing. Some are predicting the demise of orchestral events. Others see opportunity in social media and a new sense of engagement between the audience and musicians.

  • Europe’s time machine; solar geo-engineering; and how to build a better bridge

    Sep 23 2018

    A massive data project is underway in Europe. It aims to create a kind of “Google map of the past” – making the minutia of history as accessible as today's social media. Also, the results of a study  into geo-engineering and agriculture; and a new construction method for building bridges.

  • Food, ageing and the future

    Sep 16 2018

    Across the western world populations are ageing. And that means what we eat needs to change in order to give us the best possible future.

  • We need to talk about Facebook

    Sep 09 2018

    Three perspectives on the power of Facebook and content platforms. Was Facebook’s current form inevitable? Can it be “constitutionalised”? And, understanding content moderation.

  • AI, populism and the threat to Human Rights

    Sep 02 2018

    Artificial intelligence is increasingly being used for decision making, and there are now fears about how that might impact on human rights.

  • Tall timber tales

    Aug 26 2018

    Cross-laminated timber is becoming a construction staple and the towers of tomorrow may soon be predominantly built of wood. It's cheaper and faster.

  • Space Force, space assets

    Aug 19 2018

    Many countries now see great economic potential in space activity. Competition is increasing. Are we moving away from the notion that space is for all humankind? And is conflict in space inevitable?

  • The role of humans in the technological age

    Aug 12 2018

    Forget the humans versus machine dichotomy. Our relationship with technology is far more complicated than that. To understand AI, first we need to appreciate the role humans play in shaping it.

  • Augmented eternity and the potential of prediction

    Aug 05 2018

    With big data and algorithms you could extend your 'virtual self' beyond the grave. And could meeting your future self help change your current behaviour?

  • Health data risks; the extended mind; and the Synthetic Age

    Jul 29 2018

    US research says e-health data is particularly vulnerable to attack. The theory of the Extended Mind – should our tools be classified as a part of cognition. And forget the Anthropocene, we’re entering the Synthetic Age.

  • Who would want to be a diplomat?

    Jul 22 2018

    The future of diplomacy: Backroom manoeuvrings are giving way to public forums. And carefully laid plans can come unstuck with a single tweet.

  • A not so diplomatic future

    Jul 15 2018

    Diplomacy is often viewed as a way of smoothing the friction points between states, but international relations are becoming increasingly assertive and highly personal.

  • Banning plastic may not be good for the future

    Jul 08 2018

    Even those who campaign against the overuse of plastic, argue for a more nuanced understanding of its role in our lives. Future Tense looks at these nuances.

  • The implications of going cashless

    Jul 01 2018

    The advantages of going cashless are many and well known. But in the race to a completely cashless future, what do we put at risk and who benefits most?

  • Alternative forms of body disposal

    Jun 24 2018

    Interesting alternatives to current burial practices include freeze-drying and shattering a corpse; and dissolving bodies in purpose-built alkaline washing-machines.

  • The virtue of sharing

    Jun 17 2018

    Let's look at the virtue of sharing: How could sharing shape our future, and what do we stand to lose if we refuse to share?

  • The Tyranny of Metrics; and the Dark Web

    Jun 10 2018

    Could a fixation with metrics distract and divert us from the real work at hand? And how bad is the Dark Web - really?

  • Good enough, the EU’s data protection regulation and what CryptoKitties can tell us about the future of art

    Jun 03 2018

    "Good enough" solutions are damaging our ability to solve the major global problems of the world. And blockchain is revolutionising digital art.

  • Putting the theory of big data into practice – on a massive scale!

    May 27 2018

    In Canada, Google is set to re-develop and manage a large area of downtown Toronto. In China, the Communist Party government has been running trials on a personal rating scheme for all Chinese citizens.

  • Forging influence – the Chinese Government's attack on democracy

    May 20 2018

    Clive Hamilton says that the Communist Party leadership in Beijing has begun to subtly, and not so subtly, influence the political and social affairs of democratic nations.

  • Activism that’s less aggressive and far more persuasive and persistent

    May 13 2018

    Many believe that the future of activism relies on quiet persistence, targeted political involvement and an attitude that refuses to “look away”.

  • With nature against climate change

    May 06 2018

    Nature Based Solutions is an environmental approach that seeks to counter the negative effects of climate change by working with nature.

  • The value of rituals in a digital world

    Apr 29 2018

    Are rituals still needed in a world mediated through digital devices?

  • What happened to the “future of aviation”?

    Apr 22 2018

    We look at the political manoeuvrings of the major manufacturers, emerging competition from new players, and efforts to make the industry climate friendly.

  • Have we lost our sense of reality?

    Apr 15 2018

    Are the systems we’ve developed to enhance our lives now impairing our ability to distinguish between reality and falsity?

  • New insights about what happened at Pompeii

    Apr 08 2018

    How do you correctly interpret a site that was initially unearthed so long ago? Modern archaeology provides new tools to chip away at the secret.

  • Warm data, innovative electric transport and “fossil free steel”

    Apr 01 2018

    Green innovation comes in many forms. And promising project don't have to be big, they only have to make a start.

  • Facebook’s about-face and what it means for the future of news

    Mar 24 2018

    News organisations are struggling to engage with online readers and even “digital first” darlings, like Vice and Buzzfeed, are now losing profit and shedding staff.

  • Catching up with the Jetsons: cities in 2050

    Mar 17 2018

    What will future cities look like? How will they function and—importantly—how do we keep them focussed on human need?

  • NATO’s nadir and how best to move forward

    Mar 10 2018

    What needs to change in order to restore the alliance as an effective military force?

  • Disrupting the disruptors

    Mar 03 2018

    Has our contemporary embrace of disruption become a problem rather than a solution?

  • Can the UN Sustainable Development Goals work?

    Feb 24 2018

    And how will Australian aid shape the future of the Pacific?

  • A new player and the effectiveness of overseas aid

    Feb 17 2018

    Future Tense looks at the rise of China as a mega-donor and efforts to improve global aid transparency and effectiveness.

  • At work with digital media

    Feb 10 2018

    In the race to take advantage of new technological possibilities in the workplace, is a focus on rights and responsibilities being neglected?

  • The GIF as an increasingly important visual communication tool

    Feb 03 2018

    The GIF, this little looped video, is often misunderstood as a component of modern communication.

  • Three Great Potentials – China’s growing international role

    Jan 27 2018

    We take a look at three sectors in which China is beginning to dominate: trade, artificial intelligence and energy.

  • How to problem solve - the ultimate problem

    Jan 20 2018

    Neuroscientist Robert Burton reckons our brains simply aren’t up to tackling the problems of the complexity of modern life. Could collective intelligence help?

  • What future democracy?

    Jan 13 2018

    Is democracy as we know it doomed? And could there be alternative forms of political representation?

  • Chatting with heretics

    Jan 06 2018

    Moving forward isn’t just about denouncing fake news and ignorance, it’s also about rethinking some of the assumptions we have around the ways in which we communicate and debate.

  • Is happiness vastly overrated?

    Dec 30 2017

    The ‘cult’ of happiness could be damaging to business performance and the sanity of employees. And research suggests that maintaining a level of pessimism in the workplace is actually beneficial to maintaining a corporate edge.

  • Animals and technology

    Dec 23 2017

    Digital technology is opening up new relationships between humans and animals – instead of alienating us from nature as in the past.

  • AI, algorithmic decision making, ethics and the under-representation of women in tech

    Dec 16 2017

    Ethical principles for algorithmic decision making; more women in the tech industry; inclusion in AI and design - these of all issues of increasing significance in the future.

  • How to tell the good mental health apps from the bad

    Dec 09 2017

    There are more than 10,000 mental health apps on the market, but only a fraction have been scientifically evaluated.

  • Depression, anxiety and social media

    Dec 02 2017

    What is the relationship between depression and digital technology?

  • The future of war and reassessing the digital strategy of ISIS

    Nov 25 2017

    Are old expectations and strategies prolonging our military conflicts? And is ISIS winning the cyber war?

  • Cryptocurrencies and blockchain

    Nov 18 2017

    Cryptocurrencies enable us to transfer money with no fees and no bank, instantly. This is just the beginning of what digital currencies and blockchain technology can do.

  • The need for cyber insurance; identifying and tracking drones; and building tiny houses for refugees

    Nov 11 2017

    Are cyber insurance policies too complicated? Could identification technology prevent drones from flying into areas they shouldn't? And could private gardens help solve the refugee housing crisis in Europe?

  • Designing technology to increase inclusion for the disabled

    Nov 04 2017

    Inclusive design isn’t just about meeting the needs of the disabled, it’s about opening-up the possibility of creating better products and services for everyone.

  • Have universities lost their way in the rush to appear corporate?

    Oct 28 2017

    Public universities increasingly look and sound like corporations. But is it time to refocus on teaching priorities?

  • Activism that’s less aggressive and far more persuasive and persistent

    Oct 21 2017

    Many believe that the future of activism relies on quiet persistence, targeted political involvement and an attitude that refuses to “look away”.

  • Muslim start-ups, time crystals and a second chance for online comments

    Oct 14 2017

    Islam-focussed start-ups often find it difficult to attract venture capital. We’ll explore the reasons why and the potential for development.

  • Perspectives on Privacy

    Oct 07 2017

    It’s a “wicked” problem: how to safeguard individual privacy in a world that now runs on the trade of personal data.

  • Conformity as a product, not just a process

    Sep 30 2017

    The franchise model is on the rise and it’s moving beyond fast food and coffee outlets. We ask why? Is there more to it than a simple secret love of conformity?

  • The smart home as a safer space

    Sep 24 2017

    As technology has become more sophisticated, its use by the perpetrators of domestic violence has only increased. But the Smart Home also has the potential to make the home a safer place.

  • Fishing for better food solutions

    Sep 17 2017

    Future Tense highlights several innovative projects designed to help build fish farming systems that are green, clean and more efficient.

  • Robot cops, Solar paint and Solar roads

    Sep 10 2017

    We are increasingly being policed by robots. What are the implications? And what's the latest in solar technology?

  • The future of surfing

    Sep 03 2017

    Surfers now attract multi-million dollar sponsors and surfing is to become an Olympic discipline. But how will this change the sport?

  • Human rights and the archiving opportunities and challenges of the digital world

    Aug 27 2017

    The sheer scope and volume of data now available has seen human rights archivists forced to rethink the way they do things.

  • Robots, AI and ethics

    Aug 20 2017

    Why robotics needs to be as much about ethics, accountability and psychology as technology.

  • Throwing rocks at the Google bus

    Aug 13 2017

    Does the digital world fall short of what it initially promised?

  • A future of reform, not retribution

    Aug 06 2017

    Prisons of the future focus on rehabilitation - not retribution. And what if new technology could keep offenders in their own homes and prevent them from committing new crimes?

  • Cruising into the future - and the true cost of living digital

    Jul 30 2017

    The cruise line industry is booming. The bigger the boats, the larger the profits. But what, if any, are the engineering and environmental limits?

  • How to make spaghetti bolognese

    Jul 23 2017

    Social researcher and author Rebecca Huntley uses the recipe for this very popular and accessible dish to highlight the varied threats to our future food supply from global climate change.

  • Animals and technology

    Jul 16 2017

    Digital technology is opening up new relationships between humans and animals – instead of alienating us from nature as in the past.

  • One Health, many threats

    Jul 09 2017

    The “One Health” movement is about understanding the connection between the human condition and the health of the environment.

  • The problem with “humanity”, a museum of failure and cracking a medieval code

    Jul 02 2017

    Failure, disaster and challenges - it's all part of human nature and the future.

  • Dynamic pricing - and should AI be granted “legal personhood”?

    Jun 25 2017

    Algorithms use your data to determine the maximum you as an individual are prepared to pay products and services. And - should Artificial Intelligence be granted legal rights?

  • How to problem solve - the ultimate problem

    Jun 18 2017

    Neuroscientist Robert Burton reckons our brains simply aren’t up to tackling the problems of the complexity of modern life. Could collective intelligence help?

  • What future democracy?

    Jun 11 2017

    Is democracy as we know it doomed? And could there be alternative forms of political representation?

  • Unions, freelance workers and Codetermination

    Jun 04 2017

    What can unions do to transform themselves to meet the new realities of the 21st century?

  • Unions and the future of employee representation

    May 28 2017

    Australia is now one of the least unionised countries in the OECD. What's behind the union movement's decline and what factors impede its future?

  • Pop-up culture

    May 21 2017

    Do temporary outlets suit our social media times and are they the perfect mid-point between the online experience and traditional bricks and mortar?

  • Chatting with heretics

    May 14 2017

    Moving forward isn’t just about denouncing fake news and ignorance, it’s also about rethinking some of the assumptions we have around the ways in which we communicate and debate.

  • Hyperloops and circular runways

    May 07 2017

    High speed trains travelling in a vacuum tube and planes that take off from a donut-shaped runway – rethinking the way we travel.

  • Building Wellness

    Apr 30 2017

    Building Wellness - it's a new trend aiming to ensure that the buildings we work and live in actively improve human health and well-being.

  • The 24-hour city

    Apr 23 2017

    Could a 24-hour economy improve your quality of life? Edwina Stott takes a look at our perceptions of the night, and how round-the-clock neighbourhoods could look and function.

  • Your personal brand

    Apr 16 2017

    Could you be sued for your tattoo? Is a career in sport now about branding over athleticism? The art of personal branding is becoming increasingly complicated.

  • Talking with machines

    Apr 09 2017

    Voice operated devices and software are popping up everywhere. Is the nature of computer-human interaction changing?

  • The end of ownership, iFixit and real-time encryption

    Apr 02 2017

    If your car won’t work without the software that controls the engine, does it really make sense to talk of owning the vehicle? And what if you could repair your smartphone, but you're not allowed to?

  • A new age of discovery, cardboard gliders and the Living Transport Lab

    Mar 25 2017

    We're discovering new species at an accelerating rate. The disposable cardboard glider or the living transport system? Not quite, they're something completely different.

  • What do we mean by innovation?

    Mar 18 2017

    Innovation, has become an important part of the political and business lexicon. But is our definition of innovation simply too technology focussed and too business-centric?

  • Augmented eternity and the potential of prediction

    Mar 11 2017

    Would you like to extend your 'virtual self' beyond the grave? And could meeting your future self help change your current behaviour?

  • Witnessing, death and memory

    Mar 04 2017

    Social media is old enough now that it’s had to incorporate the reality of death: personal profiles are turned into memorial sites; recordings serve as a last avenue for goodbyes and images increasingly make us a witness to death itself.

  • From before the cradle to after the grave – the power of the image

    Feb 25 2017

    From ultrasound screen shots to online memorial sites, the image reflects our future potential, our current existence and our memory.

  • Time, play and a word from Lord Russell

    Feb 18 2017

    Find out why play is not just unstructured activity and why we are so obsessed with time. And get some old advice for living in the modern world.

  • Is happiness vastly overrated?

    Feb 11 2017

    The ‘cult’ of happiness could be damaging to business performance and the sanity of employees. And research suggests that maintaining a level of pessimism in the workplace is actually beneficial to maintaining a corporate edge.

  • Poetry in motion

    Feb 04 2017

    In which ways is poetry being used in the modern world? And can the very human quality of poetry survive the development of non-human poets?

  • Agnotology: understanding our ignorance

    Jan 28 2017

    We're all complicit in spreading ignorance. And unless we understand the forces that actively generate ignorance we have little hope of overcoming it.

  • Re-imagining algae

    Jan 21 2017

    Algae could be the food and fuel source of the future. And you can even make surfboards out of the stuff!

  • Plants and preservation

    Jan 14 2017

    Seed banks around the world aim to preserve the genetic basis of plant life in order to help humans adapt to future global climate change. We talk with several people involved in such endeavours, and we also meet American David Milarch who gives us a lesson in how to clone a giant Californian Redwood.

  • Underestimated plants

    Jan 07 2017

    A new field of research called Plant Neurobiology states that plants are intelligent - in their own way.

  • Art and the Connected Future

    Dec 31 2016

    What role do traditional galleries and new online social platforms play in progressing digital art and serving the interests and needs of artists in the connected age?

  • Attention / distraction

    Dec 24 2016

    How do we embrace the benefits of a world run on the power of attention/distraction without sending ourselves crazy or constantly diminishing our ability to get jobs done?

  • Automating the everyday

    Dec 17 2016

    Automation isn’t just related to the factory floor or the supermarket checkout, it’s an essential part of all aspects of our digital lives.

  • Mini-brains revisited; the power of infographics; and future-focussed decision making

    Dec 10 2016

    Is there a possible link between the schizophrenic brain and diet? What's the future of data visualisation? And how can you optimise your decision-making?

  • How to make spaghetti bolognaise

    Dec 03 2016

    Social researcher and author Rebecca Huntley uses the recipe for this very popular and accessible dish to highlight the varied threats to our future food supply from global climate change.

  • Narcissists, archaeologists and shouting into the void

    Nov 26 2016

    Why we need to rethink our attitudes toward narcissists. Why anyone would want to confess to software. Why can't unroll ancient scrolls in order to read them.

  • Pop-up culture

    Nov 19 2016

    Temporary outlets suit our social media times – the perfect mid-point between the online experience and traditional bricks and mortar.

  • Wooden skyscrapers and bacterial concrete

    Nov 12 2016

    Transparent wood and cement generated by bacteria - New materials promise to change the way we build houses in the future.

  • Issues of digital security

    Nov 05 2016

    For all the sophistication we humans have shown in developing new technological systems, we’ve got a surprisingly poor record when it comes to making them secure.

  • Drug resistance and a coming pandemic

    Oct 29 2016

    It’s estimated around 700,000 people die each year because of drug-resistant infections & the death-toll is expected to rise to around 10 million per year by 2050 unless more is done. So how prepared are we for future pandemics?

  • Your personal brand

    Oct 22 2016

    Could you be sued for your tattoo? Is a career in sport now about branding over athleticism? The art of personal branding is becoming increasingly complicated.

  • A Universal Basic Income

    Oct 15 2016

    Funded from the public purse, the universal basic income is a no-strings attached minimum payment. So, would it actually work as a way of reforming social welfare?

  • Employment in the era of exploitation

    Oct 08 2016

    Overtime, internships and freelance projects - the idea of work takes on a whole new dimension when there’s no promise of payment.

  • How to really get under someone’s skin

    Oct 01 2016

    We’ll find out whether the psychological barriers to human micro-chipping will inevitably limit the technology’s take-up. And does the rise of biometrics open up a consent debate?

  • The inside running

    Sep 25 2016

    Edible batteries, ingestible sensors, tiny intravenous drug delivery craft and a wound-clogging injectable sponge - new research takes a decidedly invasive approach to problem solving.

  • The fabric of future life

    Sep 18 2016

    When fabric becomes futuristic: a 'gravity loading' space suit, electronic temporary tattoos, sweat eating sportswear and kombucha leather.

  • New directions for brain research

    Sep 11 2016

    Is it possible to modify the brain through exercise, implants or even electricity?

  • BWF: A conversation exploring personal, community and social histories.

    Sep 10 2016

    Is it possible for two different experiences of the same event to be considered the truth? Has art and the media contributed to a drift in historical truth?

  • Putting our minds to the brain

    Sep 04 2016

    Despite decades of intense research, we still know very little about how the human brain actually functions.

  • The contingent workforce and the growth of digital taylorism

    Aug 28 2016

    The size of the so-called “contingent” workforce is on an upward trajectory. We explore what’s driving the trend and what it means for employees. And is a digital form of “taylorism” also on the rise?

  • What do we mean by innovation?

    Aug 21 2016

    Innovation, has become an important part of the political and business lexicon. But is our definition of innovation simply too technology focussed and too business-centric?

  • Designing for Serendipity

    Aug 14 2016

    As oxymoronic as this may sound, would the world be a better place if we all spent more time and energy designing our systems and workplaces to facilitate the possibility of serendipitous findings?

  • Does handwriting have a future?

    Aug 07 2016

    According to some, writing by hand no longer has a place in an age where people type and thumb their way using smart phones and computers. But others believe cursive writing still has an important role to play in cognitive development, particularly when it comes to memory.

  • The post journalistic world

    Jul 31 2016

    Digital news platforms are now losing their control over distribution to the goliaths of the online world – Facebook and Google. So what are the implications for the future of serious, civic journalism?

  • CRISPR – part two

    Jul 24 2016

    Future Tense looks at the regulatory framework that exists to guide CRISPR’s usage - and ponders ethical considerations.

  • The CRISPR breakthrough

    Jul 17 2016

    Future Tense explores how CRISPR, a new genome-editing technology, is now being used to help fight human disease and to produce more resilient and nutritious crops.

  • Three perspectives on the future of storytelling

    Jul 10 2016

    There are so many more platforms available to writers these days and so many more ways in which to tell a story.

  • Big data and its influence on sport

    Jul 03 2016

    Big data and its influence on sport – the good and the bad. And also why our 'collective memory' doesn’t always make a good base for predicting the future.

  • Are our perceptions of honesty changing?

    Jun 26 2016

    The fine line between truth and falsity is now multi-layered; and there’s also more deceit and outright lies about – or so it seems.

  • Blockchain, the Age of Fang and being careless with language

    Jun 19 2016

    Discovering the flaws that limit the adoption of blockchain technology; acting against the digital threat to Australia's culture; and regaining personal agency through the way you speak.

  • Next Gen Tech – Beyond the Screen

    Jun 12 2016

    Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality open up new possibilities for a tailored and personalised experience, enhancing interaction, understanding and engagement.

  • Cruising into the future - and the true cost of living digital

    Jun 05 2016

    The cruise line industry is booming. The bigger the boats, the larger the profits. But what, if any, are the engineering and environmental limits?

  • Attention/distraction

    May 29 2016

    How do we embrace the benefits of a world run on the power of attention/distraction without sending ourselves crazy or constantly diminishing our ability to get jobs done?

  • The human side of computing

    May 22 2016

    On how people can improve their decision-making skills by thinking a little bit more like computers; how young children can learn computer programming with wooden toy blocks; and how visually-impaired people can make better use of digital technology.

  • The quest for Quantum

    May 15 2016

    Researchers around the globe believe the development of a functioning Quantum computer is now within reach. So what exactly would a quantum computer do and who would use it?

  • Digital vs Human

    May 08 2016

    Three thinkers join us to share their thoughts on modern life and our relationship with technology – a futurist, a neuroscientist and an historian...

  • Great big boats in the sky

    May 01 2016

    Engineers at Imperial College London have come up with the design and engineering specifications for a giant futuristic flying boat – one that could carry up to 2,000 passengers.

  • Re-imagining algae

    Apr 24 2016

    Algae could be the food and fuel source of the future. And you can even make surfboards out of the stuff!

  • The changing face of development aid

    Apr 17 2016

    A new OECD definition of development aid now includes more forms of military assistance and measures to house and process refugees within a member state’s own borders. So what's the future of aid?

  • Art and the Connected Future

    Apr 10 2016

    What role do traditional galleries and new online social platforms play in progressing digital art and serving the interests and needs of artists in the connected age?

  • Catching up with the Jetsons: cities in 2050

    Apr 03 2016

    What will future cities look like? How will they function and – importantly – how do we keep them focussed on human need?

  • The road to the future

    Mar 26 2016

    We make many things out of glass: window-panes, bottles, fish-tanks and even roads – yes, roads!

  • Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus

    Mar 19 2016

    Does the digital world fall short of what it initially promised?

  • Biofabricating organs

    Mar 12 2016

    So-called ‘organoids’, miniature body parts, help to meet the ever increasing demand for transplant organs and supplement human donations. Future Tense presents new organ transplant technology research.

  • Underestimated plants

    Mar 05 2016

    A new field of research called Plant Neurobiology states that plants are intelligent - in their own way.

  • Lessons from the digital classroom

    Feb 27 2016

    Neil Selwyn is a digital technology researcher who argues for a more nuanced discussion around the role of technology in the classroom.

  • Rate, rank, review and measure

    Feb 20 2016

    Our obsession with rating everything from products to meals and performance has a huge economic impact. But what are the limits? In China, they’ve begun implementing a ‘social credit system’.

  • A very pointy future

    Feb 13 2016

    City living is increasingly a vertical experience. The more our major urban centres expand, the more they also seem to stretch into the sky.

  • Living a digital life and some of the questions it raises

    Feb 06 2016

    In this episode we get an update on usage trends for digital devices; speak about online privacy and the law; and find out about the online art project that went from celebration to critique.

  • Plants and preservation

    Jan 30 2016

    On the Norwegian island of Spitzbergen they’ve built a vast concrete bunker - a huge seed vault buried deep into the permafrost and designed to help protect the genetic diversity of our plants and crops.