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Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
Silicon Valley, California
I study how people and technologies shape each other.
Interests: history of science and technology, emerging technologies, weblogs, silicon valley, futures, contemplative computing, user experience, human-computer interaction, calming computing
Recent Activity
But it does. Jason Silva on ambient intimacy: Thanks to Evan Selinger for pointing it out to me! Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Contemplative Computing
I missed Martin Robbins' Guardian review of Mind Change, Susan Greenfield's latest book, but it's quite something. Granted, I shouldn't be surprised, since Robbins' review of Greenfield's novel was titled "Old People Need to Stop Telling Us That the Internet Is Ruining the World" and after that got really critical.... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Contemplative Computing
Perhaps an odd question to ask in an age of Grindr and Tinder, but still: this morning's KQED Forum took it on. Presumably the audio will be online in a while (it's not yet), but one thing struck me about the conversation. One of the guests, and a couple of... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Contemplative Computing
Interesting article by Cameron Tonkinwise on “The Practically Living Weight of Convenient Things:" Some metaphors eventually ‘take’ and solidify into intuited experiences of things that they previously only sought to creatively qualify. But this process need not only be a slow evolution. If I suspend disbelief in the patterns of... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
Researchers at the University of Southern Maine studying distraction and cellphones have discovered something interesting: not only does your ability to handle complicated cognitive tasks diminish when you try to use a cellphone while doing something else, the “mere presence of a cell phone may be distracting." As the article’s... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
Almost exactly a month ago, a nice writer emailed me about an article she was writing on taking a break from social media, and asking if I could answer some questions for it. I get these kinds of requests regularly, and my attitude is shaped by the old politician’s saying... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
As a futurist I can get behind that quote. Cornell professor David Dunning, who's been studying confidence, ignorance, and self-knowledge for quite a while, has a nice article in Pacific Standard (which is really turning into an interesting magazine) explaining why "We Are All Confident Idiots." For me, the scariest... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
I've recently been talking to people in locations as far-flung as Finland and Australia about designing programs that support mindfulness and flow, so I suspect there'll be a very diverse set of submissions to the Happiness Apps Challenge: The Happiness Apps Challenge is an international App building challenge that is... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
One of the questions I often get when I talk about technology and distraction is about music and focus. (This almost always comes up when I speak at schools.) A recent Fast Company piece, building on a survey by sound consultants (and producers of noise reduction systems) Cambridge Sound Management,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
For years we've heard of doctors having to deal with patients who come into appointments armed with pages of information they found on the Internet. Now, plastic surgeons report that more "patients come to them with selfies they took to show where they think they need improvement," according to Quartz.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
There have been a number of studies documenting the effect of meditation on the brain, enough so that the claim that “meditation rewires your brain” is one that we see repeated lots of times. (I talk about it in The Distraction Addiction, and I suppose I’m going to need to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
First and most important: if at all possible, Get an agent This can't be overstated. If you think signing with an agency of speakers' bureau is a luxury, or not worth it, think again. What do agencies like David Lavin (where I'm signed) provide? They have access to venues that... Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
Travel for professional speaking is different than for academic talks. For one thing, I've almost never been invited to give an academic talk by someone who wasn't a friend. This means that academic talks often have a friendly, personal dimension to them (though if the wrong people show up for... Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
Because I break it down in this Health magazine article. Basically, the advice comes down to this: it’s fine to weave social media into your life, but don’t let it warp your life. I thought the article was going to be me and a bunch of other people, but it... Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
A picture of someone reading the Spanish edition of The Distraction Addiction in (I believe) the Buenos Aires subway system, from a Tumblr of people reading on subways: This is the cover: Thanks, Male Sánchez Moccero! Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
I was a big believer in the value of last-minute inspiration, but I also was too disorganized to do it any other way. But I find that this new method of working is really useful: it means my message gets sharper with time (which is a different kind of innovative and inspired, but one that arguably better serves the audience and is less narcissistic), and it also means my presentations are getting more visually dense and interesting (about which more in a future post).
1 reply
A couple weeks ago I got a request from an academic friend for some advice about speaking at a trade conference. It got me thinking about the differences between academic conferences and the kinds of events I've been going to in support of The Distraction Addiction, and my work as... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
In the New Republic Stephen Akey has a piece complaining about how literary agents choose who to represent. "Everyone’s trying to make a buck and literary agencies can hardly be faulted for interesting themselves in what sells rather than in... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2014 at Relevant History
For those of you who were wagering on the results of the Singapore Computer Society's Splash award, wonder no more: the top prize has gone to Apple Tree, a mobile phone app that… encourages people not to use their phones. According to Channel News Asia, the app, which will be... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
If you read Chinese, this article about The Distraction Addiction might interest you. Me, I just look at the pictures. Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
I'm going up to Edmonton, Canada to do a keynote at Convergence 2014, a conference on educational technology. I hadn't written the book with this audience in mind, but The Distraction Addiction has caught the attention of a number of people in the educational technology world, and folks in independent... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
Yale economist Craig Palsson has a new article [pdf] asking whether the growing use of smartphones by parents of young children is responsible for the increased rate of injuries among children younger than 5. While technically the article doesn’t actually say anything about snake pits, the implication is clearly there.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
Thanks for the clarification! Always good to hear from the inventor!
Toggle Commented Nov 10, 2014 on Telefonrammen at Contemplative Computing
1 reply
Last week I spent several days on the road, on a whirlwind trip to the East Coast to talk about contemplative computing. It was just happy chance that I got two invitations to talk in the same week, and was able to make it work. The first was in Princeton,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2014 at Contemplative Computing