Opinion: Innovation must go hand in hand with conscious computing

Technological innovation can help resolve the many problems the world has today. But we need to develop our consciousness at the same time.
17th September 2018

In the last 20 years the internet, smartphone and social media have dramatically changed everyone’s life. We have unlimited and constant access to facts. Have we reached peak information?

In the workplace, we are expected to be constantly connected and to relentlessly multitask. Even children engage in this hyper-connected world at an ever earlier age.

But this all has a cost. Constant distraction is the new normal! It is harder to stay focused on a single task for any period. One study showed reported that the lifetime prevalence of ADHD in UK children had increased from 7.8% to 9.5%.

As a meditation teacher and entrepreneur, I want to disrupt this. We can enter a new age of conscious computing. Meditation practices themselves can be adapted to working with technology. Studies have shown that regular meditation improves concentration and focus, and improves short-term memory. There is also evidence that mindfulness improves productivity while working with computers.

The last 20 years was about faster access to ever more information. The next 10 years can be about securing, evaluating and filtering content. And managing our well-being while we do this. That way we can stay present, productive and happy.

What can you do today to improve your focus? How about using an app that sound a chime, say every 30 minutes? When the chime rings, stop working, stand and do 5 minutes slow walking meditation. Just feel your feet on the ground as you walk. This will help you to relax and also generate new ideas. Or just stop, breathe, close your eyes and do a body scan.

Or ask yourself how you feel about your phone right now? Is it on and close to you? Is some part of your mind waiting for that message? Would you switch it off now for just 3 hours?

My mission for many years has been to teach the world how to code computers in a better way. My real journey of discovery into the brain and learning started the hard way. In 1983 I suffered a severe concussion after being hit by a van. After I was discharged from intensive care at the local hospital, I found that I had no recall of the accident. The events of the previous two weeks had also been completely removed from my memory. In the years after this, my memory continued to be impaired. But this led me to research the brain and memory. I went on to develop and deliver a series of courses in accelerated learning. I often shared my experience of recovery with my students.

I learnt meditation while at Sussex University. I have keep-up my regular meditation practice for over 40 years. In the late 1980’s I visited my spiritual teacher at an Ashram in India. For the last 4 years, I have facilitated a monthly meditation retreat for the Bristol Insight Meditation charity.

David has kindly offered a discount for TechSPARK readers interested in software training from Talk-IT. By using the coupon code TD001 on the payment screen, the first 100 redeemers will get 50% off a Talk-IT subscription for 6 months.

David Ringsell is the founder of software training company Talk-IT. You can see more from David at the Talk-IT website or by following Talk-IT on Twitter: @NowTalkIT.