Nora Young

Nora Young

Host of CBC Radio’s Spark | Author of The Virtual Self

Nora Young is an informed and ideal guide for anyone looking to examine — and plan for — the ever-changing, high-tech landscape. As the host and creator of Spark, CBC’s national radio show and podcast about technology and culture, and the author of The Virtual Self, Young demystifies technology and explains how it is shaping our lives, as well as the larger world around us. She helps audiences understand trends in big data, new technologies, machine learning, and more.

Young was the founding host of CBC Radio’s Definitely Not the Opera, where she often discussed topics related to new media and technology. Her work has also been featured in print, online, and television and she is also a committed hobby podcaster. Her favourite technology is her bicycle.

Understanding Artificial Intelligence: Building the Future We Want with AI

It’s been over 20 years since Deep Blue, the chess-playing computer, beat Grandmaster Gary Kasparov. But just in the last several years, the range and sophistication of Artificial Intelligence has exploded. What’s driving the current AI boom, and how can we harness its capabilities, while protecting jobs, privacy, and equity?

In plain language, with laughs along the way, Nora Young explains how current approaches to AI work, what the practical future of AI looks like, and what the challenges are.

From Big Data to Your Data: How Data-Driven Technologies are Shaping the Future

Big Data is a big buzzword these days, but beyond the hype, our ability to gather, share and analyze data is driving many of the major technological shifts that are shaping our future.

From Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, to Smart Cities and the Internet of Things, Nora Young explains the top data-driven trends shaping our world, and the challenges and opportunities they offer.

We’ll see the impacts of these shifts at the macro level of the economy and society, but also at the personal level, in our health, and the jobs the next generation will be moving into.

The Smart Cities Revolution: How New Technologies Can Drive Responsive, Greener Communities

Big tech players such as Google’s Alphabet and IBM have long been touting the benefits of smart cities: networked communities, powered by internet-connected devices and services. The promise is that our increasingly complex urban environments can be made more efficient and sustainable by learning how they are being used in real time. At the macro level, it can help governments plan services and use resources more efficiently. At the personal level, it can help us do everything from catching the city bus at the right moment, to planning our walk where the air quality is best.

But the Smart City raises many questions. How do we allow governments, individuals, and private enterprise to use that data while protecting privacy? If the smart city so good for us, why does it seem so creepy to many people?

Nora Young explains in plain language what we mean by smart cities, what the opportunities are for business, government, and citizens, and what the challenges and risks are in a smart city future.

Seeing the Forest and the Trees: Surviving and Thriving in the Coming Data Boom

As individuals, we’re generating more data all the time about our movements, habits, and tastes. You may be doing it now: registering ‘likes’ on Facebook, tracking your runs with a GPS-enabled monitor, logging your spending with a personal finance app. You may not even know you’re doing it, but the simple act of using digital tools, such as e-readers, creates information about how you’re reading.

We’re on the cusp of a Data Boom, a new era in information, fueled by our digital devices. It will offer new personal insights, open opportunities for new services, and change the nature of our cities and communities. The Data Boom has the power to make our personal lives and communities better, but it also carries tremendous privacy risks.

Specific topics Nora can speak to authoritatively include: Big Data, the Internet of Things, Smart Cities, and Wearables and Health.

Drawing on her book, and her experience as host and creator of CBC’s technology show, Spark, Nora explains how this Data Boom will change society, and what it means for individuals, businesses, and communities. Nora’s talk is an ideal and entertaining guide for groups looking to plan strategically for the changing world, or those who want a big-picture look at one of the top trends defining our world in the years ahead.