Full Title: “Stand out of our light : Freedom and resistance in the attention economy.”
This relatively short, but very important, book takes a good, hard look at “The Attention Economy” and the insidious effect it is having on our lives. The author, winner of the intriguingly named Nine Dots Prize, worked at Google as a strategist for a decade where he received the Founders’ Award – the company’s highest honour – for his work on advertising products and tools. More recently he has studied at Balliol College, and the Oxford Internet Institute. His research topics are the philosophy and ethics of attention and persuasion as they relate to technology design.
He argues that, “attention is the fuel of our lives but we are living through a crisis as our attention is reduced by technology that we have allowed to dominate our lives. His writing pleads for society and the tech industry to ensure the technology we all carry with us every day does not distract us from pursuing our true goals in life.”
As information becomes ever more plentiful, the resource that is becoming more scarce is our attention. We have moved from a time where we marvelled at and enjoyed the novelty of instant communication to where we are now. The advertising and marketing industries sees us all as fair game and will do whatever they can to sell us anything and everything, behaving as if it their right, not ours, to choose what we see and when we see it. As Williams says, “…digital technology does not act as an honest GPS, but instead entices you along paths that make your journey longer. All in the name of capturing your attention, such that you are deflected from your intentions.”
The author’s philosophical yet practical approach to the subject is worth a read and will encourage you to examine the way that you spend your seconds, minutes, hours and days.
Thanks to reestheskin for the birthday present.