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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
From a class on “Wasting time on the Internet” at University of Pennsylvania: Using our laptops and a wifi connection as our only materials, this class will focus on the alchemical recuperation of aimless surfing into substantial works of literature. Students will be required to stare at the screen for... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Contemplative Computing
Lewis Lapham on how he writes: I didn’t enlist the help of a computer because words so quickly dressed up in the costume of print can pretend to a meaning and weight they neither enjoy nor deserve. Writing with a... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Relevant History
Courtney Shove, who took the pictures at my Santa Catalina talk, has a nice write-up of the event. (My own post about it is here.) Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Contemplative Computing
No, it’s not a smartphone made of noodles (though that would be awesome); it’s a Danish project for reducing smartphone distraction in the classroom. It’s super-simple: students come in, put their phones in the holder, then pick them up again when they leave. Of course, it requires both a high... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Contemplative Computing
I look forward to seeing this out: Jon Mitchell’s new book, In Real Life: Searching for Connection in High-Tech Times. This is a book about the present and what you can do right now to improve your relationship with technology. This is not an “anti-technology” book, nor is it a... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Contemplative Computing
Saturday I was at the Santa Catalina School in Monterey, talking about kids, parenting, schools, and contemplative computing. Photo: Courtney Shove, Santa Catalina School I’ve given a number of talks about contemplative computing (thanks mainly to the wonderful Lavin Agency), but most of them have been to professional groups, or... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Contemplative Computing
I’m going to be at Princeton next week, doing a more academic-than-usual talk on contemplative computing. I'm appearing there as part of the “Pay Attention: The Art of Here and Now” course, taught by director Marianne Weems. The undergraduate course taught by Weems questions whether our sense of the present... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Contemplative Computing
Nora Young’s Spark will run a program on “Addiction by Design” tomorrow, featuring interviews with Natasha Dow Schull and a very scratchy-sounding me. (I was in the process of getting over my month-long cold, so my voice was a couple octaves lower than normal.) Schull is worth listening to, at... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Contemplative Computing
Voice of America correspondent Rachel Jones has a great piece (in LinkedIn, which against many odds is turning into kind of an interesting outlet) about “How Ben Bradlee's Outrageous Use of White Privilege Changed My Life.” It’s about how as... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2014 at Relevant History
Another fabulous cover, this time for the Korean edition of The Distraction Addiction (published by Sigongsa): I haven't had a bad one yet, even though the Dutch, Spanish, and Chinese versions are all quite different from each other. It's been fascinating to see how different artists interpret the book! You... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
Guardian contributor Joanna Moorhead has a terrific piece about her Carmelite nun aunt. I was studying journalism in Cardiff, not far from the convent and when we were asked to do an in-depth feature about a way of life that was difficult to penetrate, I didn’t hesitate. I asked the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
Judith Newman has a terrific, touching article in the New York Times about her son’s relationship with Siri: Just how bad a mother am I? I wondered, as I watched my 13-year-old son deep in conversation with Siri. Gus has autism, and Siri, Apple’s “intelligent personal assistant” on the iPhone,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
Jon Evans has a short but well-done piece about “The Internet Of Someone Else’s Things,” in which he argues that the Internet of Things will subtly redefine ownership as we know it. You will no longer own many of the most expensive and sophisticated items you possess. You may think... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
You might have seen articles recently on a case of a man with Google Glass addiction. It’s been written about in the Guardian, BBC, Fast Company, io9, and many other places. They all refer (through each other) to an article to be published in the journal Addictive Behaviors. But if... Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
The Chinese edition of The Distraction Addiction is out! You can order your copies from Locus Publishing, my Taiwanese publisher. There's also this cool promotional video: Taiwan's Commonwealth Magazine ran an excerpt recently, and Google Translate rendered my name as "Fang Soo Positive," which I rather like. That's going to... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
Archaeologists trying to establish when our ancestors developed the cognitive and creative abilities we think of as distinctly human have pointed to a series of artifacts dating back some 40,000 years, most notably the cave paintings at Chauvet and Lascaux, as the earliest proof of a level of imagination and... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
The Chinese edition of my book is coming out later this month, and there’s a review and excerpt in Taiwan’s Commonwealth Magazine. Since I don’t read Chinese, I have to rely on Google Translate to tell me what they’re saying about my book. Or at least I think it’s my... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
Ohio State communications professor Jesse Fox, whose work I talk about in my book, explains “Why I don’t allow devices in my classes.” If you’re a teacher, you should read the piece now. Fox offers some of the same arguments as Clay Shirky— multitasking is an ineffective way to learn,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
“I teach theory and practice of social media at NYU, and am an advocate and activist for the free culture movement, so I’m a pretty unlikely candidate for internet censor, but I have just asked the students in my fall seminar to refrain from using laptops, tablets, and phones in... Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
The October issue of LA Yoga Magazine has a short piece by me about digital distraction. If you’re not in the Los Angeles area, you can read the issue online. My article starts on p. 44. While the article is good, the photography is outstanding: they actually hired a photographer,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
This study is badly needed: There are countless ways of meditating, but the purpose behind them all remains basically the same: more peace, less stress, better concentration, greater self-awareness and better processing of thoughts and feelings. But which of these techniques should a poor stressed-out wretch choose? What does the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
I can only say I wish this project had been completed when I was writing The Distraction Addiction: a three-volume comparative study of meditation in global religions. I did okay without it, but it would have made the brief comparative historical section of the book much richer: Meditation is practiced... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
This is very interesting: a team at the University of Minnesota led by Bin He, a professor of biomedical engineering, has conducted a study measuring the ability of people who have practice “Mind-Body Awareness Training” (that’s meditation or yoga to you and me) to learn how to use brain computer... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
Last year, Google Ventures design partner Jake Knapp published an essay about his “distraction-free iPhone,” which got a fair amount of attention. It started when he realized that Having the ability to check email – and a bajillion other things – any time at all, not just when I’m sitting... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2014 at Contemplative Computing
Is this for real? Have we finally reached the point where this is is a thing that happened? Some places have lanes for bicycles, others for motorcycles, but there's a place in mainland China that boasts a different type of lane altogether: one for phone addicts glued to their screens.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2014 at Contemplative Computing