Interviews

Future Tense - Full program podcast

ABC Radio National

+12 FANS

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

Best
Newest
Looking for recently uploaded episodes
Pencil towers and issues around urban inequality and density

29:05 | Mar 23rd

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

29:07 | Mar 16th

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?

29:06 | Mar 9th

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?

29:06 | Mar 2nd

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 meritocrati...Show More

All at sea - mapping, mining and Arctic shipping

29:06 | Feb 23rd

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 Arc...Show More

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

29:04 | Feb 16th

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 ...Show More

Street art – the next space race?

28:52 | Feb 9th

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

28:52 | Feb 2nd

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?

28:52 | Jan 26th

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?

29:07 | Jan 19th

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

29:07 | Jan 12th

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

29:06 | Jan 5th

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?

29:07 | Dec 29th, 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

28:58 | Dec 22nd, 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

29:04 | Dec 15th, 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

29:03 | Dec 8th, 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

29:04 | Dec 1st, 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

29:06 | Nov 24th, 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

29:04 | Nov 17th, 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

29:05 | Nov 10th, 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

29:06 | Nov 3rd, 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

28:57 | Oct 27th, 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

28:57 | Oct 20th, 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

28:55 | Oct 13th, 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

28:57 | Oct 6th, 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

28:57 | Sep 30th, 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

28:56 | Sep 23rd, 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 co...Show More

Food, ageing and the future

28:57 | Sep 16th, 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

28:59 | Sep 9th, 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

28:57 | Sep 2nd, 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

28:56 | Aug 26th, 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

28:52 | Aug 19th, 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

48:59 | Aug 12th, 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

28:56 | Aug 5th, 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

28:56 | Jul 29th, 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?

28:56 | Jul 22nd, 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

28:56 | Jul 15th, 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

28:52 | Jul 8th, 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

28:56 | Jul 1st, 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

28:55 | Jun 24th, 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

28:56 | Jun 17th, 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

28:56 | Jun 10th, 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

28:59 | Jun 3rd, 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!

28:52 | May 27th, 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

28:52 | May 20th, 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

28:52 | May 13th, 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

28:52 | May 6th, 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

28:52 | Apr 29th, 2018

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

What happened to the “future of aviation”?

28:52 | Apr 22nd, 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?

28:52 | Apr 15th, 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

28:52 | Apr 8th, 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”

28:52 | Apr 1st, 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

28:52 | Mar 24th, 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

58:58 | Mar 17th, 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

28:52 | Mar 10th, 2018

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

Disrupting the disruptors

28:52 | Mar 3rd, 2018

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

Can the UN Sustainable Development Goals work?

28:52 | Feb 24th, 2018

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

A new player and the effectiveness of overseas aid

28:52 | Feb 17th, 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

57:35 | Feb 10th, 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

28:52 | Feb 3rd, 2018

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

Three Great Potentials – China’s growing international role

28:52 | Jan 27th, 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

28:52 | Jan 20th, 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?

28:52 | Jan 13th, 2018

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

Chatting with heretics

28:51 | Jan 6th, 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?

28:52 | Dec 30th, 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

28:52 | Dec 23rd, 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

28:52 | Dec 16th, 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

28:52 | Dec 9th, 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

28:52 | Dec 2nd, 2017

What is the relationship between depression and digital technology?

The future of war and reassessing the digital strategy of ISIS

28:52 | Nov 25th, 2017

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

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain

28:52 | Nov 18th, 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

28:52 | Nov 11th, 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

28:52 | Nov 4th, 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?

28:52 | Oct 28th, 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

28:52 | Oct 21st, 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

28:52 | Oct 14th, 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

28:52 | Oct 7th, 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

28:52 | Sep 30th, 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

28:52 | Sep 24th, 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

28:52 | Sep 17th, 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

28:52 | Sep 10th, 2017

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

The future of surfing

28:51 | Sep 3rd, 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

28:52 | Aug 27th, 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

28:52 | Aug 20th, 2017

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

Throwing rocks at the Google bus

28:50 | Aug 13th, 2017

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

A future of reform, not retribution

28:52 | Aug 6th, 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

28:52 | Jul 30th, 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

28:52 | Jul 23rd, 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

28:52 | Jul 16th, 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

28:52 | Jul 9th, 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

28:52 | Jul 2nd, 2017

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

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

28:52 | Jun 25th, 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

28:52 | Jun 18th, 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?

28:52 | Jun 11th, 2017

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

Unions, freelance workers and Codetermination

28:52 | Jun 4th, 2017

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

Unions and the future of employee representation

28:52 | May 28th, 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

28:52 | May 21st, 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

28:51 | May 14th, 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

28:51 | May 7th, 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

28:52 | Apr 30th, 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

30:26 | Apr 23rd, 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

28:52 | Apr 16th, 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

28:52 | Apr 9th, 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

28:52 | Apr 2nd, 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

28:52 | Mar 25th, 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?

28:52 | Mar 18th, 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

28:52 | Mar 11th, 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

29:21 | Mar 4th, 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

28:52 | Feb 25th, 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

28:52 | Feb 18th, 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?

28:52 | Feb 11th, 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

28:52 | Feb 4th, 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

28:52 | Jan 28th, 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

28:52 | Jan 21st, 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

28:52 | Jan 14th, 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...Show More

Underestimated plants

28:52 | Jan 7th, 2017

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

Art and the Connected Future

28:52 | Dec 31st, 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

28:52 | Dec 24th, 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

28:52 | Dec 17th, 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

28:52 | Dec 10th, 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

28:52 | Dec 3rd, 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

28:52 | Nov 26th, 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

28:52 | Nov 19th, 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

27:51 | Nov 12th, 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

28:52 | Nov 5th, 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

29:01 | Oct 29th, 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

29:13 | Oct 22nd, 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

29:22 | Oct 15th, 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

29:25 | Oct 8th, 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

29:13 | Oct 1st, 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

28:38 | Sep 25th, 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

29:06 | Sep 18th, 2016

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

New directions for brain research

28:49 | Sep 11th, 2016

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

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

53:05 | Sep 10th, 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

28:49 | Sep 4th, 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

29:21 | Aug 28th, 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?

28:50 | Aug 21st, 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

28:50 | Aug 14th, 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?

28:50 | Aug 7th, 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 w...Show More

The post journalistic world

28:50 | Jul 31st, 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

28:50 | Jul 24th, 2016

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

The CRISPR breakthrough

28:50 | Jul 17th, 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

28:50 | Jul 10th, 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

28:50 | Jul 3rd, 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?

28:50 | Jun 26th, 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

28:50 | Jun 19th, 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

43:36 | Jun 12th, 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

28:50 | Jun 5th, 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

28:50 | May 29th, 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

29:09 | May 22nd, 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

29:09 | May 15th, 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

28:50 | May 8th, 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

28:50 | May 1st, 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

28:50 | Apr 24th, 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

29:20 | Apr 17th, 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

28:50 | Apr 10th, 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

28:50 | Apr 3rd, 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

28:50 | Mar 26th, 2016

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

Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus

28:50 | Mar 19th, 2016

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

Biofabricating organs

28:50 | Mar 12th, 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

29:19 | Mar 5th, 2016

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

Lessons from the digital classroom

28:50 | Feb 27th, 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

29:20 | Feb 20th, 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

29:20 | Feb 13th, 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

29:19 | Feb 6th, 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

29:06 | Jan 30th, 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.

The language of Emoji

29:19 | Jan 23rd, 2016

They infuriate some and delight others, but whether you like them or not, Emoji are certainly getting harder to ignore.

Flight of fancy

29:19 | Jan 16th, 2016

The technological progress of flight has been pretty amazing.

Crowds and motion

29:20 | Jan 9th, 2016

We might not give it much thought, but how we move is naturally predetermined. Left to our own devices we don’t usually walk in straight lines or make 90 degree turns, so why do so many architects and urban planners still favour grids and sharp angle...Show More

Into the light

29:20 | Jan 2nd, 2016

Author Paul Bogard worries that we’re losing our sense of darkness, that our taste for banishing the night is turning Earth into the planet that never sleeps. In Europe and North America the amount of light in the night sky continues to increase by a...Show More

Listening and responding

29:19 | Dec 26th, 2015

Our social media platforms encourage us to opinionate, to share, to show and to engage - but rarely do they encourage us to listen.

We’re all data now: What Big Data could mean for law & policy

29:20 | Dec 19th, 2015

Data science has been described in the Harvard Business Review as the “sexiest job of the 21st Century”. Analysis of large, diverse and evolving data sets is increasingly used to draw conclusions about individuals, communities and the societies in wh...Show More

Language, accents and we are what we eat

29:19 | Dec 12th, 2015

In this edition of Future Tense we speak with three researchers exploring some of the less obvious aspects of change over time - concerning people, identity and attitude.

Fan culture and co-creation

29:19 | Dec 5th, 2015

Fans have long had a role in influencing and in some cases helping to shape the works of popular culture they adore. But when they get restless in the modern age, they now have the resources to take a piece of fiction and make it their own. Some cont...Show More

Bug bounties and pentesting: the Wild West of online security

29:19 | Nov 28th, 2015

Online information security is estimated to be worth more than $75 billion annually. So why is the digital world still so fragile despite all that we’ve learnt about online fraud and malicious attacks?

Robotic agriculture and swarming with bees

29:20 | Nov 21st, 2015

Future Tense examines new trends in agricultural robotics - away from a mentality that heavy equipment means bigger yields.

Making machines more like us

29:20 | Nov 14th, 2015

There are many areas, such as dexterity and instinctive creativity, in which robots and programs still lag behind human capacity. Making them more like us is a threatening proposition for some, but it’s crucial if machines are to fulfil their promis...Show More

Scramjets and the promise of hypersonic flight

29:19 | Nov 7th, 2015

People like entrepreneur Richard Branson love to talk up the potential of super fast flight: London to Sydney in just two hours. But there’s a lot of work still to be done on engine design if such ambitions are ever to be realised. Hypersonics is an ...Show More

Future Tense - 2015-11-01

29:20 | Oct 31st, 2015

This week on Future Tense we meet the time-travelling software developer using immersive technology to recreate Australia prior to 1788; we hear about an innovative program to get young girls interested in science and tech by bringing out their inner...Show More

Virtual Reality, real world trauma

29:19 | Oct 24th, 2015

Virtual Reality is not a new technology, it’s been around in various forms for decades, but enthusiasts believe it’s now on the cusp of a golden age.

Designing for Serendipity

29:20 | Oct 17th, 2015

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?

From ‘peak car’ to the age of plastic

29:20 | Oct 10th, 2015

Curtin University’s Peter Newman has some good news on the environmental front – car usage across the world has peaked and is now on the decline. But, says Newman, unless we start changing the way we design our cities we may end up squandering time a...Show More

Identity and citizenship

29:20 | Oct 3rd, 2015

Identity and citizenship have always been malleable social and political constructs. In the 21st century it seems they’re changing again - and in interesting ways.

Meet the Preppers

29:20 | Sep 27th, 2015

Preparing for the Apocalypse might sound extreme, but should we all be better prepared for impending disaster?

The generation game

29:20 | Sep 20th, 2015

These days many of us dice and slice the population according to age cohort. If you were born between a certain set of dates you’re a Baby Boomer, or a member of Generations X or Y. They’re constructs, naturally enough, but are they useful and if so...Show More

The danger of a future nuclear winter

29:20 | Sep 13th, 2015

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute there are currently around 16,000 nuclear weapons in the world, with approximately 1800 of them kept in a state of ‘high operational alert’. How serious is the risk of a future nuclear...Show More

Does handwriting have a future?

29:19 | Sep 6th, 2015

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 w...Show More

Future Tense - 2015-08-30

29:20 | Aug 30th, 2015

Two quite different topics on Future Tense today. First, examples of new technologies helping police fight crime. And then the ‘Silicon Valley oligarchs’: How companies like UBER represent a threat to competitive capitalism and the rights of workers.

Predictive Policing: putting data on the beat

29:19 | Aug 23rd, 2015

The idea is simple enough: to harness the power of big data for the betterment of law enforcement.

Forests and the future – Part Two

29:19 | Aug 16th, 2015

In part two of our look at forests and the future we talk with Jenny Springer, Director of Global Programs at the Washington-based Rights and Resources Initiative. Her organisation is focussed on ensuring the rights of indigenous forest dwellers to r...Show More

If the forests turn REDD

29:19 | Aug 9th, 2015

It’s called REDD – Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. And with a name like that it could only ever have been a creation of the United Nations.

Challenging assumptions

29:29 | Aug 2nd, 2015

Sometimes in order to progress, we need to shake things up a bit, re-work our arguments or turn orthodoxies on their head.

Archaeology: current threats, future possibilities

29:09 | Jul 26th, 2015

There’s good news and bad news in the world of archaeology.

Online Comments – the view from the trenches

29:20 | Jul 19th, 2015

In part two of our look at online comments and cyber civility (or the lack there of) we hear from two leading media industry practitioners:

Online Comments - a "wicked" problem

29:11 | Jul 12th, 2015

It's a "wicked" problem, says social technologist Suw Charman-Anderson. That is, the lack of civility online when people leave comments.

The road to the future

29:20 | Jul 5th, 2015

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

Listening and responding

29:19 | Jun 28th, 2015

Our social media platforms encourage us to opinionate, to share, to show and to engage - but rarely do they encourage us to listen.

Watching the disruptors and Project Eden

29:19 | Jun 21st, 2015

New research from the University of Sydney Business School looks at why established industries are so ineffective at dealing with digital disruptors like Uber, Airbnb and iTunes.

Future taboo

29:19 | Jun 14th, 2015

At any given point in time certain acts or beliefs are considered so outside the bounds of acceptable custom or behaviour that society moves to prohibit them.

Future Tense at Remix 2015

29:19 | Jun 7th, 2015

This week Future Tense takes you to the 2015 Remix Summit in Sydney for a panel discussion entitled...

When the *%#^ hits the fan!

29:19 | May 31st, 2015

We humans are a particularly wasteful lot.

Dingoes, desalinators and a damn good roof!

29:19 | May 24th, 2015

What do dingoes, ‘green roofs’ and a small steam-driven desalinator have in common?

Prediction part two: We’ll all be ruined!

29:19 | May 17th, 2015

That so many pollsters, politicians and political pundits got the results of the recent UK election so incredibly wrong tells us much about the ongoing perils of prediction.

The prediction predicament

29:19 | May 10th, 2015

This isn’t just the information age, it’s the age of prediction.

Soft power with Chinese characteristics

29:19 | May 3rd, 2015

China is already a significant economic and political force, but it also wants to be a cultural leader.

The language of Emoji

29:09 | Apr 26th, 2015

They infuriate some and delight others, but whether you like them or not, Emoji are certainly getting harder to ignore.

Mercenary world – Part Two

29:19 | Apr 19th, 2015

A Federal District Court in Washington has just convicted four former US mercenaries for the 2007 killing of innocent civilians in Baghdad’s Nisour Square.

The market for mercenaries

29:20 | Apr 12th, 2015

Mercenaries, private military contractors, commercial combatants – what you call them depends on your ethical viewpoint (and whether or not you’ve just hired some to supplement your own military forces).

The future is rubbish

29:19 | Apr 5th, 2015

Increasingly the things we throw away have value. In a consumerist world, with diminishing resources, rubbish is being recycled like never before. The recycling industry is now worth $US500 billion a year and it employs more people worldwide than any...Show More

Flight of fancy

29:19 | Mar 28th, 2015

The technological progress of flight has been pretty amazing.

Crowds and motion

29:20 | Mar 21st, 2015

We might not give it much thought, but how we move is naturally predetermined. Left to our own devices we don’t usually walk in straight lines or make 90 degree turns, so why do so many architects and urban planners still favour grids and sharp angle...Show More

A gamble on the future

29:33 | Mar 14th, 2015

These are boom times for the gambling industry – and not just online, as one might expect.

Into the light

29:32 | Mar 7th, 2015

Author Paul Bogard worries that we’re losing our sense of darkness, that our taste for banishing the night is turning Earth into the planet that never sleeps. In Europe and North America the amount of light in the night sky continues to increase by a...Show More

Kill switches, solar soldiers and the campaign to stop killer robots

29:19 | Feb 28th, 2015

How is it that one can disable a lost iPhone, but not a piece of military hardware that’s inadvertently fallen into the hands of an insurgent? That’s a question Harvard’s Jonathan Zittrain has been pondering and his solution is to call for future wea...Show More

A piece of the Sun

29:20 | Feb 21st, 2015

Construction has begun on a giant $US 20 billion nuclear reactor in southern France. When it’s completed in 2020 it will represent the latest experimental stage in a decades-long quest to mimic the energy generation of the Sun.

The future hero

29:20 | Feb 14th, 2015

Can heroism be taught? What about combat medals for drone operators, or socially engineered moral crusaders? In this episode we explore how our notions of heroism are changing and who, or what, could be the “hero” of the future.

Salad days for satire

29:19 | Feb 7th, 2015

It’s hardly a golden age for politics, but business is certainly booming for the satirist.

The power of the city

29:19 | Jan 31st, 2015

The nation-state is a relatively recent invention – historically speaking. But there are those who believe it’s better days are already far behind it.

Playing in the digital age

28:35 | Jan 25th, 2015

Does a sense of playfulness underpin the modern world? From information sharing to social activism to business training, the dynamics of play are increasingly important in our rapidly evolving world.

Memory, photography and social media

29:19 | Jan 18th, 2015

Our relationship with photography has changed in the social media age. We take, alter, crop and share photos like never before. And we use them as badges – symbols of who we are and how we feel. Of course, the photograph has always been more than jus...Show More

The ideas festival of the Future

29:07 | Jan 11th, 2015

The idea of having an ideas festival is a popular idea indeed. But the idea that they’re universally ideal as a way of fostering creative new ideas is an idea that’s hotly contested. Andrew Zolli, the curator of PopTech, has an idea that the populari...Show More

Technology: the magic word!

28:54 | Dec 28th, 2014

Arthur C. Clarke once declared: ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’. But does the analogy work the other way around? Techno-illusionists like Marco Tempest argue magicians need to embrace new technologies in order t...Show More

Advertising Part Two: The Millennials

28:59 | Dec 21st, 2014

Jeffrey Cole, the Director of the Center for the Future at USC, Annenberg, calls them the most sophisticated media generation we’ve ever seen. They’re the ‘millennials’ and they’re every advertiser’s dream consumer.

Advertising: New tools, new expectations, new reality

28:59 | Dec 14th, 2014

Advertising in the digital age is watching everything you do...

News in the age of digital disruption

29:00 | Dec 7th, 2014

What will become of news in the digital age?

Meet the Preppers

29:00 | Nov 30th, 2014

Preparing for the Apocalypse might sound extreme, but should we all be better prepared for impending disaster?

Science Fiction: Earth's repair manual?

29:00 | Nov 23rd, 2014

Searching for gender equality, or economic security? Science Fiction allows us to dream up worlds that are possible.

Smart Cities, Digital Skins

29:00 | Nov 16th, 2014

Imagine a city where everything from cars to street lights to traffic bridges are connected....

American Declinism: has collective fear finally become reality?

28:59 | Nov 9th, 2014

With political deadlock in Washington, a hapless president, frustrated allies, and a failing sense of national self-confidence -- is America in its ultimate decline?

Humans and technology: two perspectives from two eminent thinkers

28:59 | Nov 2nd, 2014

In this edition of Future Tense we hear from two prominent thinkers on the intersection between humanity and technology.

After America: Who should govern the Internet?

29:00 | Oct 26th, 2014

The United States has signalled its willingness to give up its unofficial stewardship role of the Internet. Who should take over, and who will?

Online Comments – the view from the trenches

28:59 | Oct 19th, 2014

In part two of our look at online comments and cyber civility (or the lack there of) we hear from two leading media industry practitioners:

Online Comments - a "wicked" problem

28:59 | Oct 12th, 2014

It's a "wicked" problem, says social technologist Suw Charman-Anderson. That is, the lack of civility online when people leave comments.

Data-driven farming and prescriptive planting

28:59 | Oct 5th, 2014

Censors are everywhere these days and in rural Tasmania they’re spreading across the farm. A project called Sense T has been collecting data on twenty farms around the island. They're looking for ways to improve productivity and ultimately crop yield...Show More

Citizens Juries and Deliberative Democracy

29:00 | Sep 28th, 2014

There's a growing public disenchantment with the modern political process. But, here's a solution: Citizens’ Juries - ordinary people who are given the information and training to make decisions on civic issues.

Mapping oceans

28:59 | Sep 7th, 2014

Most of us know more about other planets than the depths of the ocean. Despite covering nearly three quarters of the Earth, only around 5 per cent of the global ocean floor has been mapped in detail. And yet, with volcanoes, deep valleys, mountain pe...Show More

Artificial photosynthesis

29:00 | Aug 31st, 2014

What if humans could mimic the process that plants use to make energy, turning sunlight, water and carbon-dioxide into fuel? Around the world researchers are hard at work perfecting the science of Artificial Photosynthesis. The big challenge now is t...Show More

The Sharing Economy

28:59 | Aug 24th, 2014

It sounds warm, fluffy and ethical - the ‘sharing economy’ - an alternative to turbo-driven commerce.

Future of psychiatry

29:00 | Aug 17th, 2014

To understand the future direction of psychiatry you need to take a copy of the psychiatrists’ bible, the DSM – the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – and throw it away!

Geo-engineering: the quick tech fix for climate change

28:30 | Aug 10th, 2014

Geo-engineering: the quick tech fix for climate change.

Future Tense

31:29 | Aug 3rd, 2014

Spectrum crunch and peak data. The Century Camera Project. Separating the wheat from the rice.

Automation, employment and a legal theory for ‘autonomous artificial agents’

29:00 | Jul 20th, 2014

Automation, employment and a legal theory for 'autonomous artificial agents'.

The MOOCs phenomenon, does it still have a pulse?

28:57 | Jun 22nd, 2014

The MOOCs phenomenon, does it still have a pulse?

Inside a biological heart and questioning innovation

29:00 | Jun 15th, 2014

Inside DARPA’s biological heart. Questioning Innovation.

Remix: Technology, creation and participation

28:59 | May 18th, 2014

Remix: Technology, creation and participation.

Where Ideas Come From, the Extremely Large Telescope

28:59 | May 11th, 2014

Where ideas come from. The Extremely Large Telescope.

The Arctic, Antarctic and geopolitics

29:08 | May 4th, 2014

Our polar regions are melting. It’s a serious environmental problem. But it’s also an economic opportunity for those with a geo-political stake in our northern and southern extremes. In the Arctic, Vladimir Putin dreams of creating a shipping lane to...Show More

Underground farming, Law and Order's technology lessons and the sci-fi museum

29:00 | Apr 27th, 2014

In the London district of Clapham they’re going underground – literally. The Zero Carbon Food company is converting an old World War II air-raid shelter into an underground market-garden. We also meet US academic and artist Jeff Thompson, who watched...Show More

The state of utopia

29:00 | Apr 20th, 2014

We may not use the term very much these days, but we’re living slap bang in an age of utopian yearning, according to Professor Craig Bremner. He maintains utopian thought underpins modern advertising and even future city planning. Then there’s politi...Show More

The future of magic

28:58 | Apr 13th, 2014

Arthur C. Clarke once declared: ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’. But does the analogy work the other way around? Techno-illusionists like Marco Tempest argue magicians need to embrace new technologies in order t...Show More

Forecasting technological change and grief and the future

29:00 | Apr 6th, 2014

Three very different perspectives on the future. We speak to Lee Raine, Director of the Internet Project at the Pew Research Centre about what digital life might be like in 2025.We discover why regulatory agencies play a greater role in shaping our t...Show More

Photography, social media and memory

29:11 | Mar 30th, 2014

Our relationship with photography has changed in the social media age. We take, alter, crop and share photos like never before. And we use them as badges – symbols of who we are and how we feel. Of course, the photograph has always been more than jus...Show More

Digital diplomacy and foreign policy

29:00 | Mar 23rd, 2014

Increasingly diplomats and governments are having to fight battles and defend themselves on social media. Ben Scott, one of the pioneers of America’s office of E-diplomacy says it’s the way of the future. But he and other analysts argue that digital ...Show More

Silicon Valley culture and social media, data and property rights

29:07 | Mar 16th, 2014

Silicon Valley is often held up as a meritocracy where anyone with a good idea can change the world through technological innovation. Author and academic Alice Marwick believes that Silicon Valley is actually a place that actively excludes women and ...Show More

Chinese space ambitions and private rocketeers

29:00 | Mar 9th, 2014

It’s predicted that by 2050 China will be the leading space-faring nation, with bases on both the Moon and Mars. And while the US and Russian space programs deal with ongoing funding challenges and waning political interest, the Chinese are quietly o...Show More

Rubbish equals opportunity

29:12 | Mar 2nd, 2014

Increasingly the things we throw away have value. In a consumerist world, with diminishing resources, rubbish is being recycled like never before. The recycling industry is now worth $US500 billion a year and it employs more people worldwide than any...Show More

Machines, automation and the future of jobs

28:59 | Feb 23rd, 2014

For decades we've watched machines gradually replace one blue-collar job after another, but in recent years algorithms and increasingly sophisticated machines have begun eating their way into decidedly white-collar territory. And as a result, economi...Show More

19th Century virality, post-natural history and DIY medical tech

28:59 | Feb 16th, 2014

The idea of photos, messages and text going viral is a very modern one indeed. Or is it? NorthEastern University’s Ryan Cordell has been digging around in old American newspapers and he reckons the 1800s were alive with viral media. We also meet the ...Show More

The past, present and future of email

29:00 | Feb 9th, 2014

It’s been around for over 40 years and is something we all use but take for granted. Email, it may not be as sophisticated as some of our newer social technologies, but in 2013 it’s estimated that there were over 2.4 billion users worldwide. But as t...Show More

The Future of Noise

28:59 | Feb 2nd, 2014

In the last German election, every major party had a policy on dealing with noise pollution. Increasing urbanisation and automation look like making the future an increasingly rowdy place. But then there’s noise and there’s noise, with many young peo...Show More

The human side of life in space

28:30 | Jan 26th, 2014

We’ve learned how to pee in space and how to prepare pre-packaged meals, but if we’re serious about long distance inter-planetary travel, there’s still a lot more we need to work out about the psychology and physiology of living and working in zero-g...Show More

The world of steampunk

28:18 | Jan 24th, 2014

Steampunk is a burgeoning subculture. Part Victorian gothic, part sci-fi fantasy, it’s growing in popularity and ambition. At first glance, Steampunk represents an alternative technological vision of the future—one powered by steam rather than modern...Show More

Our underground future

28:30 | Jan 23rd, 2014

When we think of underground space many of us think of carparks, subways and storage. Or we think of dark science fiction scenarios – mole people living deep below our cities! But as we move into an increasingly urbanised 21st century – is it time to...Show More

The future of the documentary

28:23 | Jan 22nd, 2014

Most of us have a stuffy view of what a documentary is, but in a world where we increasingly write and post images about ourselves do we need to re-think that idea? What impact are new technologies having on storytelling? We speak to documentary make...Show More

Living in a post-authentic world

28:20 | Jan 21st, 2014

Bruce Springsteen says we’re living in a post-authentic world. Authenticity has become a goal not a quality. We’re encouraged to manufacture it—to fake it! It used to be sincerity we all craved, says political commentator Denis Atkins—he’s one of sev...Show More

The world of spam

28:28 | Jan 20th, 2014

It’s the curse of the modern information age and the bad news is that there’s more of it to come. But what is spam? How is it changing? Who’s sending it? And why do they think so many of us need Viagra or a penis enlargement! (Please note this progr...Show More

Off earth mining and the opening of space

28:30 | Jan 19th, 2014

Rick Tumlinson is a US businessman whose ambition is to mine asteroids and to then use the material he extracts to power space craft and satellites. He talks of developing galactic ‘gas stations’. In part three of our special summer series we look at...Show More

The challenge of interstellar travel

28:30 | Jan 12th, 2014

Imagine being an astronaut and planning for a space mission you know you have no chance of joining; a journey that won’t even happen in your lifetime, or possibly even your children’s. We meet the long-term thinkers and planners—the space visionaries...Show More

The future of astronomy

28:30 | Jan 5th, 2014

Astrophysicist Ray Norris reckons we’ve entered a 'golden age' of astronomy. Powerful new telescopes are allowing us to explore the once unimaginable. But astronomy is fast becoming as much about data management and interpretation as it is about star...Show More

Rewilding the globe

28:30 | Dec 29th, 2013

Elephants and Komodo dragons in Australia? Bears and wolves roaming freely throughout European villages and towns? It might sound a bit far-fetched, but this all fits within a new strand of conservation theory known as Rewilding. (Please note this pr...Show More

Future Imperfect- science fiction's role in shaping our future

28:59 | Dec 22nd, 2013

From wearable technology to 3D printing, science fiction is often credited with influencing technological change. But does science fiction predict the future, or inspire it? In a special session recorded at the 2013 Brisbane Writers Festival, three a...Show More

Facebook happiness and updating Raspberry Pi and Fairphone

28:59 | Dec 15th, 2013

Social media is meant to make our lives better. It helps us to connect with others and to stay in touch. But University of Michigan psychologist Ethan Kross recently published the results of a study into Facebook usage. His findings suggest that usin...Show More

Digital ecologies

28:58 | Dec 8th, 2013

MIT Professor Sandy Pentland is concerned for the digital ecology of our online world. Like nature, it works best when it’s open and interconnecting, he believes. And keeping it that way is no small task. In this program, we get three very different ...Show More

The coming war on general purpose computing and thinking ahead

29:09 | Dec 1st, 2013

Sci-fi author and digital rights activist Cory Doctorow talks about a coming 'war on general purpose computing', which could have far reaching consequences for our society. In the race to regulate the internet, governments of all persuasions are look...Show More

The Arcadian ideal, analogue forestry and urban buzz

29:00 | Nov 24th, 2013

Professor Aaron Sachs from Cornell University believes that understanding the purpose and form of old American graveyards could help us deal with future urbanisation. It's all about the 'Arcadian ideal'. We also explore the practice of 'analogue fore...Show More

Replaceable bodies

28:59 | Nov 17th, 2013

The human body is breakable, frail, and fallible – and in our current age of robotic and bionic technology, it’s increasingly becoming replaceable. But as the race to develop new replacement bionic body parts quickens, what happens when these parts b...Show More

Wearable technology

28:59 | Nov 10th, 2013

From Google Glass to smart watches - wearable technology is currently curving upward on the hype cycle. There are now lots of companies experimenting with embedding sensors and micro-computers into the things we wear. But how much of it is pure gimmi...Show More

Convergence and our cities

28:42 | Nov 3rd, 2013

Convergence is a hot topic in media, communications and the sciences. But what does it actually mean? And are there implications for the way we live in and shape our continually growing cities? These questions and more were raised as part of a specia...Show More

The future of the ideas festival

28:59 | Oct 27th, 2013

The idea of having an ideas festival is a popular idea indeed. But the idea that they’re universally ideal as a way of fostering creative new ideas is an idea that’s hotly contested. Andrew Zolli, the curator of PopTech, has an idea that the populari...Show More

SkyTruth and gamers for good

28:59 | Oct 20th, 2013

John Amos from SkyTruth talks about his non-profit organisation that aims to use publicly available data from satellites to watch for environmental vandalism.

Microgrids: Hyper-Distributed Power

28:59 | Oct 13th, 2013

When it comes to power distribution, the focus of the past has been on building larger and larger electricity grids, but with size comes vulnerability.

Pranks and Tricksters Repeat

29:00 | Oct 6th, 2013

Pranksters in the digital age see themselves as an important part of the online environment. The mainstream media may confuse them with trolls and vandals, but the modern prankster has a long tradition dating back hundreds of years.

Importance of play in the digital age

28:31 | Sep 29th, 2013

Does a sense of playfulness underpin the modern world? From information sharing to social activism to business training, the dynamics of play are increasingly important in our rapidly evolving world.

Civic Hacking - hacking for good

28:59 | Sep 22nd, 2013

Civic hacking is about using raw government data to build new online applications that help make public services more responsive and accountable. Catherine Bracy from Code for America says it’s about reframing the very nature of government.

Improving our vision

28:59 | Sep 15th, 2013

Project Hieroglyph encourages science fiction writers to mix with scientists to find a more thoughtfully optimistic way to look at the future through their genre. Dronestagram uses drones to capture Instagram images above warzones and battlefields. A...Show More

Gender and technology

29:18 | Jul 14th, 2013

The technology sector might be booming, but in 2013 women are still vastly under-represented in many areas of science and technology. Stanford University neuroscientist Jennifer Raymond says it’s not just a gender-equity issue, it’s about lost human ...Show More

GoogleX, Sea Lab and Earth Microbiome

29:29 | Jul 7th, 2013

Google X is a secretive laboratory that aims to take over the research and innovation crown once worn by the likes of Bell Labs and DARPA. It’s also about securing the giant technology company’s future in a ruthless world of technological change. We ...Show More

Rewilding the planet

29:13 | Jun 30th, 2013

Elephants and Komodo dragons in Australia? Bears and wolves roaming freely throughout European villages and towns? It might sound a bit far-fetched, but this all fits within a new strand of conservation theory known as Rewilding. With ancient megafau...Show More

Advertising, media and children

29:16 | Jun 23rd, 2013

Jonathan Kent hates the way in which children are increasingly being pursued by marketers and he's begun a public campaign in the UK to ban all advertising targeting children of primary school age or younger. But can such a ban work in the digital ag...Show More

Fairphones, language in the digital world and the useless machine

29:15 | Jun 16th, 2013

We have ‘fair trade’ coffee and ‘fair trade’ bananas, so why not a ‘fair trade’ mobile phone? Bas Van Abel and his Amsterdam-based colleagues are busy perfecting a cell phone that isn’t made by exploited labourers. We also explore how and why new te...Show More

Future imaginings

29:14 | Jun 9th, 2013

When we imagine the future are we sometimes too narrow in our thinking? Not fanciful enough? We look at the difficulties we have in imagining the future.

Driverless cars

29:13 | Jun 2nd, 2013

Former vice-president of research and development for General Motors, Larry Burns, is a champion of the ‘driverless car’. And he sees a time when traffic in our cities will swarm like insects. If he's correct, it’s certainly going to take a significa...Show More

Future cities

29:15 | May 26th, 2013

Three very different perspectives on the evolution of the city. We look at the history of four ‘future’ cities; we examine the role of the suburb in the 21st century; and we hear from architect Joyce Hsiang, the co-creator of the City of 7 Billion Pr...Show More

Airships

29:15 | May 19th, 2013

For most of us, the airship is an iconic symbol of the past. But across the world teams of engineers and visionaries are working to try and resurrect the zeppelin. Prototypes have already been built and trialled, and they’re calling them the ‘pick-up...Show More

Big data

29:13 | May 12th, 2013

Microsoft researcher and MIT professor Kate Crawford recently declared that 2013 looks like becoming the year we reach ‘peak big data hype’. Endless media releases extol the virtues of big data. Business and government are meant to embrace it. But ex...Show More

Military Expenditure

29:14 | May 5th, 2013

If global military expenditure is anything to go by, this will be a century of khaki and camouflage. Spending on arms and defence is at historically high levels and the experts predict more growth to come. We’ll examine why and where. Also, the new U...Show More

Future Films

29:19 | Apr 28th, 2013

Groundhog Day was billed as a screwball romantic comedy when it was first released in 1993. Twenty years on, it’s now being described as a ‘profound work of metaphysics’. To us, it’s a film with an interesting cut on the future. The screenwriter of G...Show More

Present Shock and the end of the hang-up

29:00 | Apr 21st, 2013

Renowned US media theorist Douglas Rushkoff argues we now live in a state of 'Present Shock' where we’ve lost our understanding of time; and where our sense of what the future should and could be has been seriously diminished. We speak to him about t...Show More

Proto-hackers, GPS spoofing and MOOCs in schools

29:15 | Apr 14th, 2013

We meet the very first hackers – the phone phreaks. It was sometimes activism and sometimes mischief but author Phil Lapsley believes they laid the foundations for our current attitude towards technology. Then we speak to University of Texas research...Show More

MOOCs and tertiary education

29:29 | Apr 7th, 2013

‘MOOCs’ stands for Massive Open Online Courses and, depending on your viewpoint, they’re either the future of tertiary education or a giant marketing scam – take your pick. We explore the MOOCs phenomenon.

Media, technology and creativity

29:12 | Mar 31st, 2013

We look at some interesting research into the ways younger people are using technology and also explore why the services of anthropologists are in hot demand – particularly in Silicon Valley. And finally we speak with a man who put a pencil and a sha...Show More

Micro-Labour

29:13 | Mar 24th, 2013

Micro-labour isn’t a clever way of describing a recalcitrant colleague’s deficient work practices. And it has nothing to do with nano-technology either. It's about using the Internet to outsource small tasks to eager workers – sort of like a digital ...Show More

Valuing the future

29:10 | Mar 17th, 2013

In this program we explore the complex processes through which we put a value on future developments- everything from architecture and design to economics.

Off earth mining

29:14 | Mar 10th, 2013