“Slow reading,” what used to be called just “reading”— does it defeat the purpose of “ambient intelligence?” Is ambient intelligence itself a desirable phase of technology? It’s a moot point, because it’s nigh. I might be spreading the word about screen-free time as a buoyant, pearly treasure in daily life (not just for children). Time in nature is one flavor of that treasure (even if it’s just feeding your chickens). Is Slow Reading reading slowly—languidly, even? Is it re-reading passages; turning the paper pages back and forward to find, or stumble, on passages you missed; is it browsing a book back-to-front, spread by spread (my habit of reading backwards annoys my teenager, yet I’ve seen her do it). Is the carrying about of the book from place to place in case you’ve a spare moment part of the reading experience?
Since I’m too busy tweeting (from two of my five accounts) while listening to the radio, while I have 12 windows on my browser open as well as my iPhone positioned within a cozy 12 inches from my eyes, I’ll leave you with that hanging question—Is Slow Reading Incompatible with Ambient Intelligence?—and this list of resources. They won’t give you an answer, but more questions that will uncurl like ferns.
- Robin Young’s recent radio interview with the cognitive neuroscientist Maryanne Wolfe.
- A blog post by Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer at Microsoft, about what is moving us toward, in his words, “a world in which our devices, services and environments truly anticipate and understand our needs.”
- A “doodle” illustrating Nadella’s point (see #2 above) about the relationships between the Web, Big Data, human insights, and intelligent machines, among other things.
- And for good measure, a post by clinical psychologist Catherine Steiner-Adair, author of The Big Disconnect, a result of her research on kids and youth and how today’s online/digital device-laden culture is affecting families and growing up. I was able to hear Dr. Steine-Adair talk about her research in Cambridge in March 2014. I am looking forward—albeit dreading—reading The Big Disconnect. A shorter piece on Dr. Adair’s recent work is here in the New York Times.