BG 287: Information & Contemplation

Episode Description:

David M. Levy is a professor of technology in the Information School (or iSchool) at the University of Washington. Since 2006 he has offered a course called “Information and Contemplation”, a course on mindfulness in the Digital Age.

In this interview with host Vincent Horn, David talks about his early rejection of zen meditation practice and how he came back to it later through a study of calligraphy. They talk about a National Science Foundation funded study David created to observe the effects of meditation on multitasking, and the university course he subsequently developed at the iSchool, “Information and Contemplation.” He talks about insights his students have through the course and the surprising way email can be used as a focus for mindfulness. Finally, Vincent and David discuss the idea of taking a “digital Sabbath” and the usefulness of periodically unplugging from the online world.

Episode Links:


David Levy

David M. Levy is a professor of technology in the Information School at the University of Washington. He previously spent fifteen years as a researcher at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (Xerox PARC), has a PhD from Stanford in technology, and holds a diploma in calligraphy and bookbinding from the Roehampton Institute in London. His work at Xerox PARC is summarized in his book Scrolling Forward: Making Sense of Documents in the Digital Age (Arcade, 2001).