What is contemplative computing?

  • Contemplative computing may sound like an oxymoron, but it's really quite simple. It's about how to use information technologies and social media so they're not endlessly distracting and demanding, but instead help us be more mindful, focused and creative.

    My book on contemplative computing, The Distraction Addiction, was published by Little, Brown and Co. in 2013, and is available in bookstores and online. This 2011 talk is a good introduction to the project and its big ideas.

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I was wondering how many paragraphs it would take you to mention Buddhist practices and/or meditation. :) Seriously, I think Weiser and Brown (still) have a point: design can make it much harder, or easier, to achieve calmness. The airliner cockpit is a good example—though years of training and experience are required just as you observed, the UI design, for lack of a better term, has been steadily improved in pursuit of a "calmer" flight crew. In practice, "free from agitation, excitement, and disturbance," seems a good design criterion, if nothing more than that.

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About Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

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