A recent 60 Minutes piece on the Mindfulness movement featured a story about a professional mountaintop retreat where people willingly abandoned all forms of technology as price of admission. Mindfulness which is now well documented for all kinds of benefits is positioned as the antidote to a tech-addicted or at least tech-distracted life.
Do we get distracted from the present by technology, or is technology simply a means to our already distracted and non-present mind? Those of us who have been practicing mindfulness now as long since tech came on the scene are clear that not being is the present is the nature of human experience, with or without new distraction media. If anything, these kinds of retreats need to introduce mindfulness practices specifically with technology.
If designers have their way and continue to improve, technologies will get better at taking our attention. Learning how to be present with ever-evolving technologies will reap vital benefits.