Monday, 30 March 2015

Is ‘attention’ the new scarce resource?



From Aeon Magazine
by Judy Wajcman

"If digital technology saves time, how come so many of us feel rushed and harried? Technological utopians once dreamt of the post-industrial society as one of leisure. Instead, we are more like characters in Alice in Wonderland, running ever faster and faster to stand still. Is digital technology at once the cause of time pressure and its solution? Is Sherry Turkle right when she argues in Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other (2011) that social media has replaced communicating with connecting? Is Tim Wu, a leading authority on net neutrality, right when he says that ‘attention’ is the new scarce resource?

One solution is digital detox. The novelist Jonathan Franzen believes it is impossible to write serious fiction on a computer connected to the internet. He filled his laptop’s Ethernet port with superglue. Evgeny Morozov, an influential writer on digital technology, talks about having to lock up his phone in a safe in order to think, read and work. But digital detox is a piecemeal, privileged solution to a much bigger problem..." more

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