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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
…it is. But so is flying and texting, which has become a worry for the NTSB, and is implicated in a helicopter crash, according to Quartz: The survivor of a helicopter crash in Florida says his flight instructor was using his iPhone before the aircraft crashed into the ground, killing... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2015 at Contemplative Computing
A couple days ago I was interviewed on ABC Sunshine Coast's morning show about technology and distraction. You can now listen to the interview on Soundcloud: For a short interview it covers a fair amount of ground. The interviewer asked good questions. Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2015 at Contemplative Computing
At least they do in India, and it’s a particular problem in the city of Varanasi, which has been trying to upgrade its IT services and introduce street-level wifi throughout the city— but the macaques that live in and around the city’s many temples keep chewing through the fiber optic... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2015 at Contemplative Computing
Two new books, The Organized Mind by psychologist Daniel Levitin, and Matthew Crawford’s The World Beyond Your Head, talk about the importance of learning how to intelligently offload memory and tasks onto your physical environment. This is something that we often do without much thought— anyone who’s written a note... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2015 at Contemplative Computing
if I were in Seattle, I’d go to this, and not just because the title name-checks my book: Matthew Crawford is speaking about his new book, The World Beyond Your Head. Many point to our technology addiction (namely, the influx of smart phones and the internet) as the root of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2015 at Contemplative Computing
Oakland-based artist Molly McLeod has created a set of hilarious but excellent iPhone wallpapers that act as nudges. They’re great. I’ve been talking about this concept for a while (most recently in the Penn Gazette, my alumni magazine), and have even created a few myself; the WNYC Bored and Brilliant... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2015 at Contemplative Computing
A new survey by Kampgrounds of America reveals that 83% of campers bring their cellphones, half of all campers go online daily (and another 20% go online at some point in their trip), and “free wifi ranks among the top three most important camping amenities,” behind clean bathrooms and kid-friendly... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2015 at Contemplative Computing
Very interesting to see this: It’s a series at The Story Houston, a new church in Houston. a sermon by Eric Huffman on “Distraction Addiction, Jesus, and You.” Here’s a sermon from this past weekend: The Story Houston - March 15, 2015 from The Story Houston on Vimeo It starts... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2015 at Contemplative Computing
Another new article of mine, this time in the Penn Gazette, which happens to be my alumni magazine. I really like the 1970s cybernetic thing going on in the accompanying illustration: The piece is essentially about smartphones, and how the ideas in The Distraction Addiction (available here) can be used... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2015 at Contemplative Computing
A few weeks ago I was interviewed by London-based writer and entrepreneur Lawrence Ampofo for his Digital Mindfulness podcast. The piece is now live. In addition to listening to someone who has an absolutely awesome English accent— the kind that makes Americans just roll over and wave their paws in... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2015 at Contemplative Computing
Steve Kovach, a writer for Business Insider, talks about his recent week away from email. He disabled Twitter and email notifications on his phone for a week, then went back to his inbox. What was there: As he explains: 1,511 unread emails. 44 of those 1,511 emails were worth reading.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2015 at Contemplative Computing
Today’s bit of thoughtful humor, from The Oatmeal. As always, some bad words, so NSFW. I especially like the comparison of texts and email. Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2015 at Contemplative Computing
In the Guardian, Viv Groskop confesses that “I’m a bit of a wexter:" We all have bad habits, and now there’s an appropriately nasty word for mine: wexting (using your phone as you walk). I’ve got it down to a fine art: walk, scroll, glance up, stop, tap, walk. A... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2015 at Contemplative Computing
Tuesday’s Bored and Brilliant challenge is an interesting one for me, because I agree with it, with some strong reservations. Here it is: Your instructions: See the world through your eyes, not your screen. Take absolutely no pictures today. Not of your lunch, not of your children, not of your... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2015 at Contemplative Computing
Yahoo! tech columnist Rob Walker takes a gentle prod at Bored and Brilliant: Finally! After decades of tech innovations aimed squarely at squishing boredom out of existence by offering a nonstop barrage of distractions, we are ready to technologize boredom itself. Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2015 at Contemplative Computing
The Bored and Brilliant people seem to be taking my suggestion about lock and home screens as nudges to heart: their Flickr account now includes this lock screen: The idea of using the lock screen as a nudge is one I've been talking about for a while, and I've used... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2015 at Contemplative Computing
WNYC’s Bored and Brilliant challenge starts today. What’s on the agenda? As you move from place to place, keep your phone in your pocket, out of your direct line of sight. Better yet, keep it in your bag. I would think if there was one place in the world you... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2015 at Contemplative Computing
Another country with a kids' digital detox camp: Brazil! "If at least we could take selfies in the bathroom, I wouldn't mind so much not having access to the Internet," says 13-year-old Laura. Laura is a self-described digital "addict," but she can see the benefits in living offline for a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2015 at Contemplative Computing
Asian countries are the world's leading producers, and some of the most avid consumers, of electronics. So it's no surprise that kids in China, Korea, and Taiwan spend lots of time online and gaming-- or that parents and the government worry about excessive screen time. According to the Straits Times,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2015 at Contemplative Computing
Sure, translating the post would be fine! And arent art blogs pretty much by definition non-profit?
1 reply
Very interesting! Thanks Anna, for that elaboration.
1 reply
This has been making the rounds on Twitter recently: See? People were ignoring each other with paper, and newspapers, and knitting! So why are you whiners complaining about smartphones? Families have been ignoring each other forever. (The “we’ve been dealing with new technologies forever” idea is one I talk about... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2015 at Contemplative Computing
My Italian collaborator Dario Villa (I swear I’ll send back the revisions for the Italian version of the book in a couple days, Dario!) points me to this great short animation by London-based illustrator Yukai Da: Way Out from Yukai Du on Vimeo. Da explains, ‘Way out’, my MA graduation... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2015 at Contemplative Computing
This is an interesting new app for Android users: Android addicted? Heavy app user? Need more control over your apps? AppDetox helps you to calm down your mobile app usage, and take a digital detox. You are able to set your own rules for your app usage to detox from... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2015 at Contemplative Computing
Pew Research does some of the most interesting work in the U.S. on the impact of information technology on daily, family, and working life. A good example of this is their new study of their new Digital Life in 2025 report on Technology’s Impact on Workers [pdf]. Here’s the summary:... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2015 at Contemplative Computing