Contemplative Technology Workshop

DESCRIPTION:


Technology is seeping into every area of our lives. Privacy is a flimsy throwback to a bygone age. How are organizations today creating services for a world with two million apps? Take a look at how the interface for our personal experience has shifted from a command line through Windows, to browsers, applications, and wearables. This session explores the history of the user interface, software, and digital services and catapults audiences into 2030, when personalization drives experience and we download "habits" and "environments."
What if we designed applications that worry less about "where you are" and more about "how you are?" What if we designed applications, systems, services, and devices to create "T.A.S.K"-worthy computing (Trusted, Aware, Safe, and Kind)? The internet is filled with processes that steal our attention and take us away from our present moment. In this session we will discover the five ways we can filter information and the three keys that will help us return that as wisdom to consumers.  Place yourself in airplane mode. 

WORKSHOP LENGTH:

  • 3 - 5 hours

WORKSHOP AUDIENCE:

  • Technologists 
  • Enthusiasts
  • Contemplative practitioners

AGENDA

ARTIFACTS:

 

PART 1: WELCOME


- Promise and Peril of living through the 4th Industrial revolution.
- Being still in the age of distraction?
- Awakening in spite of our connected nature.


BREAKOUT 1 - Mindful Cyborg Meditation (solo - 5 minutes) -
Breakout one is dedicated to exploring our internal dialog with distractions. We start by taking our devices out of silent mode. We then sit with our devices in front of us with he screen facing up and gently rest for three minutes allowing our minds to be fully present. Just as with traditional meditation, when our thoughts linger, we are instructed to bring them back to the present, with mindful cyborg meditation we are encouraged to notice our body and mind as our devices alert us. By noting the urgency to pick up our devices, answer messages, and silence our notifications, we start to understand the compulsive nature of the brain. We slowly retrain our brain to notice these reactions as a sign to bring our thoughts back to the current moment.

Part 2: INTRODUCTION

- Christory
- Life 2.0
- What happens after the internet disappears?
- Losing choice
- Emotional surveillance


BREAKOUT 2 - iPhone Palmistry (pairs -15 minutes) - 
Breakout two is about moving on beyond the safety of noticing our distracted minds to sharing our values with another person. iPhone palmistry starts off by asking you and your partner to trade phones. Participant one, looks at their partners phone and will attempt to understand what a day in the the life of that person is like. How do they spend their time, what things are important to them. By noticing icon placement, screen protectors, applications used, or NOT used, we can start to explore a safe conversation with someone about the intimate nature of our technology. After three uninterrupted minutes, participants switch roles and now their partner reads the phone for the other participant. The exercise’s purpose is to foster a dialog about our values and ambitions and technologies role in those belief systems.

PART 3: CHALLENGES

- Privacy
- Convenience Addiction
- Weaponized Information


BREAKOUT 3 - Hacking Diversity (pairs - 15 minutes) 
Breakout three explores the way we use technology to limit our communication with other people or systems that make us uncomfortable. The breakout starts out by asking small teams of 3-5 people to pick and application they use every day and design it so they will have more “friction” by interacting with other human beings. For instance, you might want to use the GPS function to route you past gas stations that only have full service pumps or to stores that only accept cash. In this way our day to day applications that save us time but help us avoid other people could be engineered to introduce us back to the nature of each other and the wisdom that is listening to other points of view.

Part 4: CRISIS

- Embodied digital Identity
- The crisis in quantified life and death
- Consumerism a history
- Advertising
- Loyalty


BREAKOUT 4 - Intimate loyalty (pairs) 
With the expanded role of consumer surveillance via data gathering programs, loyalty incentives and location tracking Breakout four asks us to get into teams and explore our connected consumer relationships.
For this exercise we ask each team to design a grocery store loyalty program to support busy families and help connect them to a community or a healthier life using only the data collected from a typical loyalty card transaction. The goal of the breakout is to understand the powerful transactions that occur each time we use reward programs and how they could be leveraged for social good.
 

 

PART 5: GLOBALIZATION

- Surveillance
- Corporatism
- Big Wisdom


BREAKOUT 5 - Little data, Big wisdom. (open - 5 minutes) -After corporations, governments and multi-national corporations are the largest collectors of mass surveillance data. Breakout five is dedicated to looking at how we could use the collected power of these international surveillance networks to bring people together. In small teams we challenge you to define a problem and design a solution that could be tackled using the power of a multinational corporation or a first world companies access to data?

PART 6: BUILDING TOMORROW

- The brain vs. the mind.
- Scaling perspective
- SQUIRREL! The trap of disruptive technology.
- Focus and Periphery, Calm technology.


BREAKOUT 6 - Designing Calm Technology. (pairs - 15 minutes) -Following the precepts of “Calm Technology, to enclave and use the periphery” Breakout six is about creating solutions that support ubiquitous computing.
Small teams are asked to design a kitchen appliance that would interface to a family and support their health using calm technology.

PART 7: DESIGNING FOR OUR VALUES

- Time well spent
- Healthy tech choices


PART 8: KINDNESS AS A PLATFORM

- Groundlessness at the speed of information


PART 9: PERSPECTIVE AS A SERVICE

- Selflessness via bias and context


BREAKOUT 7 – Design a GPS for life. (groups - 15 minutes) -Technology that uses intimate information about your life and habits to shape you is found everywhere. In this small team exercise, breakout seven asks you to create a GPS system that would route you through a nasty or difficult problem and demonstrate to your solution to the room. How could the applications, sensors and services on your phone be harnessed together to create a map and directions to help you change some part of your life?

Part 10: AIRPLANE MODE

- Mettā  Data
- Chronoception navigating nostalgia and memory
- Synchronicity as measurement
- World Wide Wisdom


BREAKOUT 8 - Designing a time machine (Groups - 30 minutes) -

Using the ideas of Kairos, long term thinking and information filtering in this exercise we attempt to design a system that influences our perception of time.
Small teams are asked to engineer a synchronistic event using the perceived magic inherent to technology.

Breakout eights asks teams to engineer a moment of connectedness where we could see all the magic of our connected lives in a single instance.

 
 

Feedback

An inspiring and interactive two-hour workshop by Chris Dancy was one of the highlights of the Futur en Seine program. Futur en Seine is the largest free and open festival of digital technologies in Europe which takes place at the heart of Paris and all over Paris region. This year it gathered over 30 thousand people, bringing together general public and professionals, startups and investors, virtual reality geeks and e-sport fans, adults and kids, humans and robots. (more at http://www.futur-en-seine.paris/ )

The minute Chris started telling his life story, he easily gained the attention and the trust of the audience by revealing his personality: after all, being the most connected man on Earth means having no secrets from technology. Yet, however passionate Chris is about all the state-of-the-art high-tech sensors and applications, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing between him and technology: at some point in his life he was carried away by the increasingly connected world and struggled to find balance. Now he knows how to use digital innovations to live a more meaningful and healthy life.

One can say that Chis is a tech-preacher, he made the public open up, «reading» personalities simply by looking at each other’s smartphone desktops. The ‘phone-palmistry’ was followed by a series of thought-provoking tasks to make the public reflect on privacy and dependence on the Internet, the importance of suffering and how not to be a product at the age when big business pulls all the strings.

Finally, Chris encouraged the audience to come up with creative ideas on how to use technology to one’s own good, choosing spiritual health over convenience and kindness over consumerism.

Chris Dancy’s workshop was deeply philosophic and entertaining and proved to be well in tune with the Futur en Seine central topic ‘All Hacked? Let’s Hack!’.
— Hélène Allain -Program Futur en Seine – Europe’s leading Digital festival