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Overcome The Digital Distraction: Alex Pang In <em>The Guardian</em>
Digital and Social Media | May 13, 2013

Overcome The Digital Distraction: Alex Pang In The Guardian

Whether or not you agree with Nicholas Carr's famous Atlantic article that questions whether Google is making us stupid, digital media speaker Alex Pang admits that the web has indeed had a noticeable effect on his brain. "I would go into a room to get something, and by the time I got there I'd forget what I was looking for," Pang says in a Guardian article. "For someone who had got through life on raw brainpower, this was unsustainable, and a little terrifying." Pang is a senior consultant at Strategic Business Insights and the author of the forthcoming book The Distraction Addiction (due out in August). Many tech-skeptics advise us to disconnect from the online world when you feel overwhelmed. Pang, however, has decided to take an alternative approach. What if there was a way to use the internet and digital technologies to sharpen our minds and foster a sense of calmness? This question lies at the heart of his contemplative computing theory.

A tech-enthusiast, Pang studies the way our devices change the way we think and act. And, how we can better adapt to these changes and take control of our devices. Cognitive entanglement (the term Pang uses to describe how we use technology as an extension of our own minds) is nothing new. In fact, Pang argues that everything from writing in a notebook  to sending a smoke signal classifies as cognitive entanglement. And, he claims, "it's what makes us human." We've learned to overcome this distraction in the past, and thus, can learn to do so again. By understanding the way we interact with technology—why many of us don't breathe when reading email, for example—we can begin to alter the way we use it. We can approach information technology in a way that allows us to focus, be creative, and be happy. In his enlightening keynotes, he outlines 8 steps to his contemplative computing theory. He combines theories from philosophy, psychology and neuroscience to show audiences how to lead healthier, more productive digital lives.
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