Think: Digital Futures

Think: Digital Futures tells stories from the digital age.

Each episode explores how today’s technology is transforming tomorrow — from our biology, habits, relationships, spaces to our place in the universe.

Behind every major technological innovation is an engineer. Whether inventing, planning, or building, engineers are instrumental to stuff getting done. They’ve built the world around us, but do they have what it takes to save it to?

We meet Scott McKeon (From the Ground Up), a student pushing for a human centred approach in engineering. We then chat to Abbas El-Zein (Sydney University) and Sam Perkins (Engineers Without Borders) about what this means for the discipline. Finally, we meet a classroom of students at the University of Technology Sydney who want to make change happen.

With five times more viewers than the NRL Grand Final, and a higher prize money than Wimbledon, the world of competitive video gaming has flown curiously under the radar in Australia.

Producer Myles Houlbrook-Walk takes us into the growing Australian Esports scene. First, we delve into the underground culture with Alex Walker (editor Kotaku). Next, we meet some of the players who have gone pro, like FIFA eLeague player Mark Brijeski, Overwatch player Connie Ko, and train alongside Australia’s top League of Legends squad. Finally, we chat to sport scientist Job Fransen (University of Technology Sydney) about the physical demands of professional play!

Thanks to overpopulation and man made climate change, global food stocks are running low. Enter the “future foods” - the gross, weird and wonderful things clickbait articles tell us will be on our dinner plate in ten years time. But there’s more to this debate than just eating worms. 

We talk to the colonial gastronomer Jacqui Newling (Sydney Living Museums) about how we didn’t use to be so squeamish. Then we meet researchers Janice McCauley (University of Technology Sydney) and insect farmer Olympia Yarger (GoTerra) about how hard it is to change our tastes. Finally, we speak to Judy Friedlander (University of Technology Sydney) about the mess we’re in. 

The Algae products we tried were made by Venus Shell Systems based in Nowra, NSW.

You might have seen the headlines proclaiming astronaut Scott Kelly has returned from a year on the International Space Station with a whopping 7% change in his DNA. That was when compared to his identical twin, Mark Kelly, back on earth.

Space travel affects our bodies in ways we still don’t quite understand, but there’s more to this headline than meets the eye.

We go behind the news with Digital Futures regular Joshua Chou, Director of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Technology Sydney.

To find out more about the terrifying things that happen to your body in space, check out our episode on space health.

When you think about Puerto Rico—decimated by Hurricane Maria, a debt crisis and the longest power blackout in US history—most people see destruction. To a small group of cryptocurrency millionaires, it’s a chance to build a new type of society from scratch. A society built on blockchain technologies.

We chat to Dr Pip Ryan (University of Technology Sydney) and Nathan Waters (founder of Peerism) about what a blockchain based society might look like. Then we speak to journalist Antony Loewenstein about whether this is just a case of disaster capitalism in disguise.