Sunday, January 30, 2011

Contemplative Computing

Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, a visiting researcher at Microsoft Research Cambridge, has posted an interesting overview of the "digital sabbath" movement, which aims to combat the information flood that we all deal with.  It's got interesting implications for mindfulness.  Maybe one good way to aid mindfulness is by stopping/controlling things that hurt mindfulness.

But he doesn't think that pulling the plug is the answer.  I like this argument.  I liken it to food, again.  Food used to be scarce. Now it's plentiful, and we're having trouble dealing with it. But the answer is to eat a skillful diet of a medium amount of good food, not to starve yourself.  Similarly, information used to be scarce, and now it's plentiful, so we should aim for a medium amount of high-quality information.

Anyway, his site is  I'm sold already. A glance shows that he's interested in designing products to be more contemplative, which is cool.  Reminds me of this post. (summary: a Kindle doesn't suck your attention.  It looks like paper.  An ipad sucks your attention with glowing rectangles.)

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