The Spark Guide to Civilization, Ep 6 - Obsolescence Aug. 6, 2021
The history of obsolescence, the origins of planned obsolescence, and the ethics of creating disposable devices in a future of scarcity and climate change.
The Spark Guide to Civilization, Ep 5 - Privacy July 30, 2021
The notion of privacy has evolved over thousands of years and is tightly woven with power. What might that mean for our future?
The Spark Guide to Civilization, Ep 4 - Attention July 23, 2021
Humans have always craved attention and applied tricks to gain the attention of others, so why does it feel so extra in the digital age?
The Spark Guide to Civilization, Ep 3 - Nostalgia July 16, 2021
In times of crisis, it seems baked into our humanity to turn to retro and analog activities as a way to cope. Why is cultural nostalgia so often a reaction to the present time?
The Spark Guide to Civilization, Ep 2 - Ventilation July 9, 2021
What the historical relationship between public health and public spaces can teach us as we move through the current pandemic and beyond.
The Spark Guide to Civilization, Ep 1 - Movement July 2, 2021
How tech from the wheel to just-in-time delivery architecture changed the way humans have been able to move, expand their horizons and shrink their world.
515: Civilization 10 - Through a glass, lightly June 25, 2021
Sometimes it's all in the details. As a technology, glass lens—first developed around a thousand years ago—has allowed us to correct our vision, see the furthest objects in the sky, and the smallest objects on the Earth. Oh, and there's photography and film as well.
514: Post-pandemic travel and tourism June 18, 2021
From vaccine passports to overtourism, the technical and ethical challenges of post-pandemic travel and tourism.
513: The Disappearing Web June 11, 2021
What happens when links stop working in the age of the web? Are we in danger of losing important historical material? And YouTube has all but a monopoly on online video. What does this mean for content creators and people who view their work in an age of monetization and …
512: Biometric Surveillance June 4, 2021
We have technologies for identifying many physical characteristics, from DNA, to facial recognition, and even voice. But how accurate are these techniques? And can the same tools for identifying us be used to control and surveille us? The future of biometrics.
Repeat: Indigenous Futurisms May 28, 2021
(This episode first aired in January 2021, and has been updated to reflect that.) How do Indigenous people fit into futuristic narratives? And not just in science fiction, but also in the tech world?
511: Civilization 9 - Computers May 21, 2021
From the abacus to futuristic research (biological computing anyone?), in the latest installment of our "Civilization" series, we take a long look at how computers came to be, and where they might be going.
The global economy is in the midst of a shortage of semiconductor chips. And while a dearth of microchips at one time would have meant headaches for desktop computer and laptop manufacturers, increasingly, our connected world needs chips, in everything from cars to smart doorbells. While the pandemic changed consumer …
509: Social and persuasive games May 7, 2021
Online games have become a greater part of our lives during the pandemic, as people look for opportunities to socialize at a distance. A look at issues in the commercial gaming industry right now, as well as the potential and challenges of persuasive gaming.
508: Democratizing Data April 30, 2021
We tend to think of data as neutral, but it's more than just raw, blunt facts. The choice of what data to gather and how it's used, is political, but there are approaches to data for the collective good. Host Nora Young discusses the politics of data with Jer Thorp, …
507: Civilization 8 - Sleep April 23, 2021
Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it! Everybody sleeps. But how has the way we sleep evolved with the technology we've developed?
506: Revolutionizing the culture of work April 16, 2021
Employees in the tech sector are organizing, demanding a more democratic workplace with goals that align with their own. And, how to truly shake up the workplace so workers are empowered to innovate.
Repeat: Social Tech April 9, 2021
(This episode first aired in December 2020, and has been updated to reflect that.) As we interact more - and more often - with our digital technologies, those interactions tell us a lot about who we are. How we can analyze behaviour on social media for mental health insights. And, …
Repeat: Time April 2, 2021
(This episode first aired in November 2020, and has been updated to reflect that.) For all the good they give us, our personal tech has also become a major time suck. Between work from home and doom-scrolling through social media, are we wasting time, or is this the "new normal" …
505: Civilization - Correspondence March 26, 2021
Whether it be via carrier pigeon, smoke signal, telegram or text message, humans have corresponded in some way since they first walked upright. On the 50th anniversary of the first internet email, we look at how the act and art of letter writing has evolved — and where it might …