We've seen an incredible change in the architecture of the internet. Not just how it operates, but how we operate within it. Think back to the days when YouTube was new, only a handful of people knew what Facebook was, and cell phones were for making phone calls! Early adopters were making podcasts and writing blogs. Wikipedia was an exciting experiment. The old gatekeepers of media were crumbling and the web seemed open to everyone. Today, however, we largely experience the internet thr...more
Google Maps. It's turning 15. Fifteen! We're looking back at some of the many stories about maps we've covered on past seasons of Spark. We'll look back at maps for smells, maps for noises, and even how some people are using Google Street View for birding!
Polarization and social-media filter bubbles are destroying our shared sense of reality. Does this mean society is headed toward a state of psychosis?
After years of Netflix and YouTube dominating streaming video, a raft of new services is arriving, yours for the price of a subscription. What does this mean for the future of how we watch? That, plus exploring the surprising role the pornography industry has played in the technology of streaming.Spark host Nora Young speaks with Patrick Keilty, a professor and archives director of the Sexual Representation Collection in the Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto...more
It's winter (duh). Long nights, cold days, and, for much of the country, snow. But should we be cowering inside or embracing it? This week on Spark, we look at how public design and personal mindset can allow us to make the most—and even get excited by—winter. Isla Tanaka, Edmonton's WinterCity planner, explains how her city is helping patios stay open all year, keeping parks accessible, and using urban design to mitigate darkness and wind. Michele Acuto, Professor of Global Urban Politics at...more
The Netflix movie "Marriage Story" has received lots of recognition, including six Oscar nominations. Critics and viewers are entranced by its realistic look at a couple who want to split up amicably, but are swayed by those around them, including lawyers. They end up in a vicious legal battle that might never have happened if they had been presented with an alternative. Separation and divorce are common in Canada. But whether you're married or common law, have kids or cats (or both!) splitti...more
If we've learned anything in the tech world over the last decade, it's the folly of not taking the long view. So the start of a new decade seems like a good time to talk "big picture" with Lord Martin Rees, one of the world's most prominent scientists. His most recent book is called "On the Future: Prospects for Humanity." In a full-episode interview, Sir Martin and Nora don't just look decades ahead, but also millions of years into human future.
With phone scams on the rise and 5G around the corner, how well are we prepared for the 2020s? A feature interview with CRTC Chair Ian Scott.
How making AI do goofy things exposes its limitations: In her book, "You Look Like a Thing and I Love You," Janelle Shane eposes the pitfalls of AI dependence. Also, Musician-turned-AI-researcher David Usher talks about ReImagine AI, he effort to make a better machine-human interface.
We revisit conversations with people who've dedicated their research to helping us rest, recharge and return to nature.
New technology often gets talked about as a neutral object. But technology has politics. It's designed and used by humans. And humans have priorities and beliefs and blinders. This week on Spark we're look at how technology can be used to both liberate and empower. We're going to start with the civil rights movement in the United States. Charlton McIlwain is the author of Black Software: The Internet and racial justice, from the AfroNet to Black Lives Matter. He explains to Nora how the d...more
Henry David Thoreau's book, Walden; or, Life in the Woods, is a seminal work of literature—and one of the greatest arguments ever made in favour of simple living. This week on Spark we're revisiting Walden, and looking at its elegant relevance for today's world, as more and more people seek respite from their technology-addled, fast-paced lives.
Failure is having a moment in the tech industry. What can that teach us about our limitations and how we measure success?
A roundup of Spark stories from the past that explore the unintended consequences of new technology.
The internet offers a huge amount of information, usually for free. So how has that affected the institutions we have traditionally learned from: our schools, colleges, and universities? How does it affect health care?
People with disabilities want to be participants in design, not recipients of design.
Everything we do is analyzed, measured, and quantified to create a model of us online, which then tries to influence our behavour. But how accurate is our quantified self?
From following GPS directions to not having to memorize anyone's phone number, it's been ages since we've had to remember things! But is that bad for our brains? This week, a look at how the internet has changed the way we know and remember.
A roundup of Spark stories from the past year that explore the past, present and future of smart home technology.
As we seek to feed a growing global population, new food technologies are opening up a world of synthetic food production: from synthesizing products at the molecular level, to stem cells grown to create flesh, to farming—and eating—insects. But how many innovations will move from pricey experiments in the lab to your plate?
It's election season in Canada, and this week on Spark we're taking a look at the how tools used to mislead people have developed through history.
More than half a million Canadians live with dementia—and that number is rising. From urban planning to smart home technology, we look at some of the innovations that can support people living with dementia, as well as their caregivers.
If digital tools mean everyone's a dj or filmmaker, do those tools devalue or replace skill and craft? What does craft actually look like in an age of digital reproduction? And combining a love of craft with activism, for a new era of "craftivism."
A look inside the black boxes of two of the hidden systems we rely on every day. Inside the complex world of weather forecasting, and a deep, deep dive to the bottom of the ocean to explore the dizzying array of undersea cables that make up the backbone of the internet.
Season 13 of Spark begins with a look at how communication has changed thanks to our use of digital and mobile tools. From emojis and abbreviations to how we talk to our virtual assistants, how do we talk to each other today?
Our virtual assistants aren't ready to give advice Do you talk to your smart speaker? Heather Suzanne Woods is an assistant professor of rhetoric and technology at Kansas State University. She's studied how humans use language to make sense of technological change and why people seem to have a relationship with their devices. 'Digisexuals' and the rise of human-android romance A look at how more and more people are identifying as "digisexuals," a new term describing those whose primary sexual...more