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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Kim Erwin

I think this is a powerful notion and a sharp reminder of the influence that designers exercise with their work. And it's not just HCI that designs users, it's software designers, too. As Jaron Lanier points out in his book You Are Not a Gadget, design decisions not only shape what is important, they shape what is possible. If it isn't in the code, it isn't possible. And then suddenly "it" becomes less important. This is a profound dynamic. Are we educating designers for this formative role?

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My books