Joichi Ito (Director, MIT Media Lab)
The Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi (Director, ML Ethics Initiative)
with Guest Speakers

Teaching Assistants

Karthik Dinakar
Andre Uhl


What is awareness? Is it a “default” state or is it cultivated? Can it improve performance and wellbeing? What role does technology play in promoting or hindering awareness? Is there an ethical framework for our capacity to be aware? And can self-awareness be linked to happiness? 
The course will be set in an experiential learning environment where students will explore various theories and methodologies around these questions. Students will be required to keep an open lab book documenting their observations, and present them regularly during class sessions. The final project will consist of evaluating and developing awareness tools, techniques and interfaces targeted towards performance and wellbeing.

Themes to explore:
•    Boundaries of Awareness: Self and Other
•    Change
•    Relational Awareness
•    Non-Duality
•    Joy and Happiness

Class meetings will consist of practice, lectures and discussions with invited speakers. Some of the talks will be open to the public. And the practice will range from meditation to hacking.




Tuesdays, 10 am - 12 pm

Schedule (Spring 2018)

  • February 6 - Intro

  • February 13 - Stillness

  • [February 20 - no class]
    / Monday schedule of classes to be held in observance of President’s Day

  • February 27 - Compassion 
    / reading: B. Alan Wallace. The Four Immeasurables - Practices to Open the Heart

  • March 6 - TA session

  • [March 13 - CANCELLED due to winter weather]

  • March 20 - Change
    / reading: Daniel Goleman. Destructive Emotions and How We Can Overcome Them - A Dialogue with the Dalai Lama

  • [March 27 - no class] 
    / MIT spring break

  • April 3 - Relational Awareness
    / reading: Martin Buber. I and Thou

  • April 10 - TA session

  • [April 17 - no class] 
    / Patriots’ Day

  • April 24 - Non-Violence
    / reading: Ibram X Kendi. Stamped from the Beginning

  • May 1 - Qi-Gong with Peter Wayne

  • [May 8 - no class]
    / Media Lab member event

  • May 15 - presentation of final projects


  • 7 hours of sleep per day

  • contemplative practice

  • journal (share on pubpub)

  • one new thing per day (share on FB group)


  • 50% class attendance and participation

  • 30% open lab book

  • 20% final project

Class Size

Not to exceed 25 extremely curious individuals who are willing to share their personal practices, thoughts and learnings. Preference given to Media Lab students.

Please note that this course is set in an experiential learning environment to which a consistent cohort is essential. Only students who are able to commit to regular attendance are encouraged to apply.


Permission of Instructor.

Please note that we do not accept any more applications for spring 2018.