The Look & Feel of Conscious Computing

With a musical instrument, it’s awkward at first.  All thumbs.  Uncomfortable.   Noise.  With practice, the musician becomes self-contained vs. consumed by the instrument; co-creating music.  So it will be with personal technology.  Now, a prosthetic of mind, it will become a prosthetic of being.  A violinist with a violin.  Us with our gadgets, embodied, attending as we choose.

Published by Linda Stone

I coined the phrases continuous partial attention, email apnea, and screen apnea. I write about attention and our relationship to technology.

7 thoughts on “The Look & Feel of Conscious Computing

  1. Great post. I wonder when user interfaces will become just fluid enough, that finding this balance becomes as natural as a baby learning to walk? Right now, we have these rough jumps that need to be made to enjoy the benefits of this prosthetic technology, ie create Twitter account, flounder awhile before you get engagement, then really get into it. Even the transactional nature of composing a message, addressed to someone, though abbreviated in Twitter compared to Email, has an unnatural friction to it.

  2. although musicians don’t just magically become fluid with the instrument. and the violin is the least ergonomically designed instrument ever. in order to use it well you have to stay back from it. resist the urge to get sucked in to its stimulus. the same is true for technology.

  3. Rather elevates computing to an art form and reminds me of what I tell my dancing students. “Dance is the elimination of thought between the music and the motion.” You’re on my blog roll. Thanks for your post. All the best.

  4. I’m finding many of my teenage piano students are learning more quickly then ever. Reading music and playing the keyboard becomes second nature in no time (if the desire is there. )

  5. Unfortunately many companies can’t get their heads round the fact that some interfaces have to be awkward initially, but will be excellent once the user has got past the initial learning bump.

  6. Thank you for your thought provoking post.

    I am not sure about it ever becoming a prosthetic of being. Of the mind, yes. I have been coding for 30 years and can use the tech far more productively than most, mainly due to its immaturity. But the impact on my psyche is large and not necessarily positive and I am not sure I would wish that on others as I need to be very critical. On the plus side it does mean you have to learn where to put the boundaries about its use.

    So what happens when the tech is so small it is hardly visible? It will be down to how we organise our thought as to what we get from it. But so far as I can see this has a big cost in sociability.

    We will see. I hope it can become positive, more so than what we have at the moment. However I think that will be due more to human development than technological development. As long as the latter does not adversely affect the former.

    But thanks again. Much pondering still to do…

    1. I’ve come to believe that when we’re “embodied,” we’re “beings,” fully-integrated, mindbody. Breath can bring us there. Exercises that help with vagal tone can bring us there. Feelings like love and appreciation can help bring us there. I’ve also come to believe that our bodies have an incredible brilliance when our minds aren’t operating in a separated manner. That is, for most of us, most of the time, our bodies know how blood and lymph flow, how to move, how to digest food, how to sweat, etc. without our minds calling every shot. When we’re in an aware, mindbody, embodied state, our bodies can give us signals as to whom to trust, etc. For me, ideas really flow when I move into this more “open” state.

      And, I’m an optimist. So, just like violinists who start out feeling so awkward holding and playing a violin, I do believe we’ll come to be embodied while using technology, and we’ll experience it as a prosthetic of being.

      Thanks for your comment!

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