« Ambient Findability | Main | Symposium on Social Architecture »



Really interesting John! Thanks!

Charles  Bess

I believe that a significant factor in the future use of technology will be attention management. When we have fine grained information flow from tools like RFID and significant investments in information bus technologies, the next logical progression is to simulation, pattern recognition and a focus on our ability to provide information in context.

Ed Batista

Hi John,
I'm the Executive Director of AttentionTrust. Many thanks for this thought-provoking post. I just pointed to it from the AttentionTrust blog, but I thought it would be helpful to connect with you directly as well. Quoting a portion of my post:

I don't disagree with Hagel's critique of [the AttentionTrust] site at all. It's not terrible, but it's not all that good either (and improving it is my responsibility.) We need to clarify the language, make it easier to navigate and point explicitly to the pragmatic things we've accomplished, like the release of an attention recorder that allows users to capture and manage their own attention data. (It only comes in a Firefox version right now, but we're working on other flavors.)

But I do take issue with the implication that rights don't matter. I think Hagel's probably correct in asserting that the majority of users will care primarily about the practical aspects of getting a greater return on their attention. People aren't about to join a crusade for abstract attention rights--they want practical results.

The counterpart to this is that the majority of companies will care primarily about getting a greater return on their investment. They'll offer attention-related services if they believe that there's a market for them.

But attention rights have an important role to play in this emerging ecosystem. By giving people confidence that their privacy will be respected and that they'll have control over how their attention data is used, attention rights will encourage otherwise reluctant users to become active participants in the attention economy. By providing an (admittedly modest) amount of ethical leverage, they'll encourage companies to act responsibly and will allow us to work together to define a set of best practices that put users interests first.

I'm not interested in mounting a quixotic campaign--I'm too pragmatic and life's too short. If I thought AttentionTrust was nothing more than that, I wouldn't be involved. Attention rights aren't our sole focus, and to the extent that our site conveys that impression, it's broken and needs to be fixed. I'm working on it, believe me. Check back in a few days and see what progress we've made.

Thanks again, John. I look forward to hearing more from you.


Adam Marsh

I think you've made a great point in your "lessons learned" from the last wave of infomediaries: privacy is a concern for people, but they are willing to trade their personal data if (1) the trade is explicit and fair, and (2) they get something valuable in return. I also agree that money is not the right place to create this value, it is more along the lines of increased convenience and recommendations, or if you like, reduced interaction costs and increased return on attention. It seems to me that that one important part of making this vision a practical success is in focusing on data that has the most utility to users across sites and applications; there was a discussion around this point here.

Robert Scoble

Good advice, thanks!

The comments to this entry are closed.