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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

ETech 2006: continuous partial attention

i'm down here in San Diego, CA at ETech 2006 through Thursday.

our DevChallenge Grand Prize and First Prize winners, Eric Smith and Alex Stankovic, got a nice mention today in the morning keynote from the O'Reilly emcee, Rael, (with a round of applause from the ETech crowd and everything!)

linda stone's talk today was worth my attention (one of the buzzwords here this year). one of the downsides to our society's relentless 24X7 connectedness through technology is our adaptive behavior towards continuous partial attention. nothing anymore, it seems, is worth the risk of giving our full attention in case we miss something important. she gave a rough timeline as follows:

1) 1965-1985: creating opportunity. self-expression, creativity, actualization of individuals. flip-side? narcissism, loneliness --> crave connection to others

2) 1985-2005: scanning for opportunity. 24X7 availability, connected to the network, hyper-communication. flip-side? artificial and inflated sense of constant crisis, overwhelmed, everywhere *except* where you are physically present. (blackberrying at meetings, mobile phone calls at family dinner)

3) 2005-?: discerning opportunity. in the attention economy, we will be seeking protection from overstimulous (proliferation of iPod headphones), use attention wisely, apps will improve quality of life use of time. flipside? TBD

As she gave this slide-less, demo-less talk, I peeked up from my laptop to witness her giving this talk in a sea of clicking laptops and mobile devices, and enjoyed being completely in and of this particular moment, giving my full attention to a collection of live human nodes on a common network of continuous partial attention.


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