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(Wired)   We're all taught as children to pay attention. But how should we deal with attention thieves?   ( wired.com) divider line
    More: Interesting  
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2284 clicks; posted to Geek » on 15 Apr 2017 at 7:26 PM (31 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



24 Comments     (+0 »)
 
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2017-04-15 04:34:56 PM  
Most of the examples cited in article are 'situational' - they show you ads and infomercials while you're otherwise doing nothing, such as poring gas.

I'm way more irritated by the autoplay videos and animated popups that either obscure what you're trying to read, or stop you scrolling down the page until they're completely loaded. And don't get adblocked bc they're part of the page script.

I'd love to see a study of just how much web traffic is actually parasitic non-content hogging our bandwidth.

Yeah I know sites have to try to get some revenue, but doing it in a way that annoys your readers is counter-productive.
 
2017-04-15 04:39:19 PM  
Have you tried setting them on fire?
 
2017-04-15 05:01:09 PM  
I'm reading an article about ads stealing your attention and suddenly the whole page goes white with a message in big black letters...HERE'S THE THING WITH AD-BLOCKERS.

Like rain on your wedding day.
 
2017-04-15 05:03:15 PM  
By now, it is pretty well understood that we regularly pay for things in ways other than using money. Sometimes we pay still with cash. But we also pay for things with data, and more often, with our time and attention. We effectively hand over access to our minds in exchange for something "free," like email, Facebook, or football games on TV. As opposed to "paying" attention, we actually "spend attention," agreeing to the view ads in exchange for something we really want.
 
The centrality of that deal in our lives makes it outrageous that there are companies who seize our time and attention for absolutely nothing in exchange, and indeed, without consent at all-otherwise known as "attention theft." Consider, for example, the "innovation" known as Gas Station TV-that is, the televisions embedded in gasoline pumps that blast advertising and other pseudo-programming at the captive pumper. There is no escape: as the CEO of Gas Station TV puts it, "We like to say you're tied to that screen with an 8-foot rubber hose for about five minutes." It is an invention that singlehandedly may have created a new case for the electric car.
Attention theft happens anywhere you find your time and attention taken without consent.
Attention theft happens anywhere you find your time and attention taken without consent. The most egregious examples are found where, like at the gas station, we are captive audiences. In that genre are things like the new, targeted advertising screens found in hospital waiting rooms (broadcasting things like "The Newborn Channel" for expecting parents); the airlines that play full-volume advertising from a screen right in front of your face; the advertising-screens in office elevators; or that universally unloved invention known as "Taxi TV."  These are just few examples in what is a growing category. Combined, they threaten to make us live life in a screen-lined cocoon, yet one that leaves us more like larva than butterflies, shrunken and incapable of independent thought.
 
What makes it "theft?" Advances in neuroscience over the last several decades make it clear that our brain's resources are involuntarily triggered by sound and motion; hence the screens literally seize scarce mental resources. As neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley and psychologist Larry Rosen put it in their book, The Distracted Mind, humans have an "extreme sensitivity to goal interference from distractions by irrelevant information." Meanwhile, in the law, theft or larceny is typically defined as the taking control of a resource "under such circumstances as to acquire the major portion of its economic value or benefit." Given the established market value of time and attention, when taken without consent or compensation, it really is not much different from someone taking money out of your pocket. Hence, when the firms selling public-screen advertising to captive audiences brag of double-digit growth and billions in revenue, those are actually earnings derived by stealing from us.
 
As suggested, the key word here is "consent."  There's a big difference between leafing through a magazine, reading articles and advertising by choice, and being blasted at by a screen when you have no place to go. Indeed, consent is the usual way access to the body is conditioned. The brain is a pretty intimate part of your body, from which it follows that your permission ought be asked before having your synapses groped by a stranger.
It's easy to counter that these instances of attention theft are nothing more than annoyances; there are much more important things to worry about. But in overstimulated lives, moments do matter, and indeed sometimes few things matter more than a few chosen minutes of silence. The important question is the aggregate effect of all of these various intrusions on both our health and that precious thing known as autonomy.
For one thing, the effects on mental health of constant seizure of our attention are just starting to be understood. Gazzaley and Rosen point out that we live in a technological environment that encourages us to be constantly switching among stimuli. However, as they write, that switching comes at a cost. Constant switching "degrades our perceptions, influences our language, hinders effective decision making, and derails our ability to capture and recall detailed memories of life events. The negative impact is even greater for those of us with undeveloped or impaired cognitive control, such as children, teens, and older adults as well as many clinical populations."
 
But equally important is what growing attentional theft does to what we like to consider free will. Freedom of thought is supposedly a constitutional value, a bedrock of a free society, yet we allow it to be overrun regularly. As Charles Black, a constitutional scholar, put it: "I tremble for the sanity of a society that talks, on the level of abstract principle, of the precious integrity of the individual mind, and all the while, on the level of concrete fact, forces the individual mind to spend a good part of every day under bombardment with whatever some crowd of promoters want to throw at it."
 
Can anything be done? One option is to boycott companies that practice attentional theft. Yet, given the seizure happens in unavoidable situations, this may not be practical. (It isn't easy to boycott a hospital). The other option is for municipalities to update their laws governing public nuisances to include inflicting advertising screens on captive audiences. In some ways this is a problem we have faced before: In the 1940s cities banned noisy advertising trucks bearing loudspeakers; the case against advertising screens and sound-trucks is basically the same. It is a small thing cities and towns can do to make our age of bombardment a bit more bearable.
 
2017-04-15 05:42:17 PM  
I like how the little excerpt pops out of nowhere (left side of article) and steals your attention.

At least I wasn't asked to subscribe.

/HEY LISTEN!
 
2017-04-15 06:36:42 PM  

DammitIForgotMyLogin: Have you tried setting them on fire?


That idea works remarkably well on those gas pump TVs

/Protip: don't start the fire until you've finished pumping your gas
 
2017-04-15 06:46:53 PM  
I thought someone trying to get your attention made them an attention whore, not thief.
 
2017-04-15 07:31:53 PM  

jaylectricity: By now, it is pretty well understood that we regularly pay for things in ways other than using money. Sometimes we pay still with cash. But we also pay for things with data, and more often, with our time and attention. We effectively hand over access to our minds in exchange for something "free," like email, Facebook, or football games on TV. As opposed to "paying" attention, we actually "spend attention," agreeing to the view ads in exchange for something we really want.
 
The centrality of that deal in our lives makes it outrageous that there are companies who seize our time and attention for absolutely nothing in exchange, and indeed, without consent at all-otherwise known as "attention theft." Consider, for example, the "innovation" known as Gas Station TV-that is, the televisions embedded in gasoline pumps that blast advertising and other pseudo-programming at the captive pumper. There is no escape: as the CEO of Gas Station TV puts it, "We like to say you're tied to that screen with an 8-foot rubber hose for about five minutes." It is an invention that singlehandedly may have created a new case for the electric car.
Attention theft happens anywhere you find your time and attention taken without consent.
Attention theft happens anywhere you find your time and attention taken without consent. The most egregious examples are found where, like at the gas station, we are captive audiences. In that genre are things like the new, targeted advertising screens found in hospital waiting rooms (broadcasting things like "The Newborn Channel" for expecting parents); the airlines that play full-volume advertising from a screen right in front of your face; the advertising-screens in office elevators; or that universally unloved invention known as "Taxi TV."  These are just few examples in what is a growing category. Combined, they threaten to make us live life in a screen-lined cocoon, yet one that leaves us more like larva than butterflies, shrunken and incapable of independent thought.
 
What makes it "theft?" Advances in neuroscience over the last several decades make it clear that our brain's resources are involuntarily triggered by sound and motion; hence the screens literally seize scarce mental resources. As neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley and psychologist Larry Rosen put it in their book, The Distracted Mind, humans have an "extreme sensitivity to goal interference from distractions by irrelevant information." Meanwhile, in the law, theft or larceny is typically defined as the taking control of a resource "under such circumstances as to acquire the major portion of its economic value or benefit." Given the established market value of time and attention, when taken without consent or compensation, it really is not much different from someone taking money out of your pocket. Hence, when the firms selling public-screen advertising to captive audiences brag of double-digit growth and billions in revenue, those are actually earnings derived by stealing from us.
 
As suggested, the key word here is "consent."  There's a big difference between leafing through a magazine, reading articles and advertising by choice, and being blasted at by a screen when you have no place to go. Indeed, consent is the usual way access to the body is conditioned. The brain is a pretty intimate part of your body, from which it follows that your permission ought be asked before having your synapses groped by a stranger.
It's easy to counter that these instances of attention theft are nothing more than annoyances; there are much more important things to worry about. But in overstimulated lives, moments do matter, and indeed sometimes few things matter more than a few chosen minutes of silence. The important question is the aggregate effect of all of these various intrusions on both our health and that precious thing known as autonomy.
For one thing, the effects on mental health of constant seizure of our attention are just starting to be understood. Gazzaley and Rosen point out that we live in a technological environment that encourages us to be constantly switching among stimuli. However, as they write, that switching comes at a cost. Constant switching "degrades our perceptions, influences our language, hinders effective decision making, and derails our ability to capture and recall detailed memories of life events. The negative impact is even greater for those of us with undeveloped or impaired cognitive control, such as children, teens, and older adults as well as many clinical populations."
 
But equally important is what growing attentional theft does to what we like to consider free will. Freedom of thought is supposedly a constitutional value, a bedrock of a free society, yet we allow it to be overrun regularly. As Charles Black, a constitutional scholar, put it: "I tremble for the sanity of a society that talks, on the level of abstract principle, of the precious integrity of the individual mind, and all the while, on the level of concrete fact, forces the individual mind to spend a good part of every day under bombardment with whatever some crowd of promoters want to throw at it."
 
Can anything be done? One option is to boycott companies that practice attentional theft. Yet, given the seizure happens in unavoidable situations, this may not be practical. (It isn't easy to boycott a hospital). The other option is for municipalities to update their laws governing public nuisances to include inflicting advertising screens on captive audiences. In some ways this is a problem we have faced before: In the 1940s cities banned noisy advertising trucks bearing loudspeakers; the case against advertising screens and sound-trucks is basically the same. It is a small thing cities and towns can do to make our age of bombardment a bit more bearable.


tl/dr
jaylecyricity, did you write a manifesto about wasting time with the full knowledge it would waste the reader's time?  If so, brilliant and subtle.  If not, find a new hobby.
/ I enjoyed your post, but this is Fark after all.
 
2017-04-15 07:38:35 PM  
img.fark.net

When I was in high school a long, long, time ago, I listened to them.  Loudly.
 
2017-04-15 08:11:00 PM  
i know plenty of attention thieves.  i wish there was a blocker for them other than telling them to fark off
 
2017-04-15 08:13:37 PM  
img.fark.net
 
2017-04-15 09:49:24 PM  
Thieves?  Simple.  Cut off their hands. Corporations are people, right?
 
2017-04-15 10:54:35 PM  
Fark!

Fark!


Fark!

Fark!
 
2017-04-15 11:48:06 PM  
If the gas station tv bothers you, just mute the damned thing.

Top right 2 buttons, held at same time for about 2 seconds after it starts.   Mutes the sound.

\The programmer for it built in controls, use them.
 
2017-04-16 01:04:58 AM  

tdyak: If the gas station tv bothers you, just mute the damned thing.

Top right 2 buttons, held at same time for about 2 seconds after it starts.   Mutes the sound.

\The programmer for it built in controls, use them.


In my experience, second button from the top on the right side just needs to be pressed once.
 
2017-04-16 01:32:35 AM  

jaylectricity: indeed, without consent at all-otherwise known as "attention theft." Consider, for example, the "innovation" known as Gas Station TV-that is, the televisions embedded in gasoline pumps that blast advertising and other pseudo-programming at the captive pumper. There is n


TL;DR
 
2017-04-16 01:54:38 AM  

DRTFA: aylecyricity, did you write a manifesto about wasting time with the full knowledge it would waste the reader's time? If so, brilliant and subtle. If not, find a new hobby.
/ I enjoyed your post, but this is Fark after all.


Ummm...that was a copy and paste of the article for people that couldn't read the article because the website blocked you from reading it if you use noscript or adblock or similar add-ons.

You want a time waster?

They say that money is the root of all evil. Having it lends yourself to the evils of being able to get away with the things that the have-nots get punished for ; the evils of judging and/or snubbing the people who don't have money. Knowing that you can buy somebody else's pride, imagination, intellect, and labor can lead you to become idle. Idle hands are the devil's work is a popular cliché. Not having money lends yourself to the exploitation of the weaknesses of the people that have it. It causes you to lie, cheat, and steal to attain money, and all the luxuries it affords. That evil is usually directed at the people who have money. In reciprocation, the haves will try to oppress the have-nots which will lead to unsatisfactory living conditions. Is it easy to see how much evil is created by money?
Time is money. Notice how you spend time, and spend money? The grammatical interpretation would be that you use the same word, spend, to describe your actions with time and money. Application of that statement, however, runs much deeper. You have to spend time to make money, and spending money can save you time. How much of each usually depends on where you fit in to the social class system. If you use your time to help save another entity (one or many humans) time or money, you can make money for yourself. If you don't have enough time to help yourself, you can use that money to save time. If I install a light in a room with a switch near the door to enter the room, I am saving time for the owner of that room. They don't need to find a flashlight and make sure it has batteries to find their way in the room during the dark hours. On a more natural level...they don't need to find a candle and light that candle to enter the room. They simply need to flip a switch as they walk in the room. For this, they will spend their money to give it to me. If I don't have enough time to do my laundry for clean clothes, I can spend some of that money to have somebody do it for me. While I spend that money, I could possibly be out making more money while somebody does my laundry. I could also spend the time that I gained by spending money, by doing another task that I need, or even spend the time to do something I enjoy.
When you cause the masters of money to lose some of their money, you may be taking away some of their time. If they catch you, they will demand that you spend time or money to repay them. A fine or retribution may repay them to their satisfaction. Sometimes you may be allowed to spend your time helping the community to repay them. By helping the community in this way, you save the master's charity money, which in turn saves them time, or allows them to use the money on other helpful causes. If you can not repay the master in these manners, you must spend, or waste your time in jail or prison. While in prison you lose a lot of time and money, but the masters, and effectually your tax-paying peers also lose money. They use some of your time to save money on the costs of running a house for your criminal peers. The only way to avoid all this is to spend your time being cautious not to waste the master's money, or to spend your time avoiding this fate by devising plans to avoid being caught, running from the police, or hiding from the police. In the end you spend time or money when you waste the master's money. How much you lose isn't completely uncontrollable, but it is inevitable.
Money makes the world go 'round. The desire of the have-nots or even the have-not-as-muches to become the haves can quite possibly be the reason anything gets accomplished under a system of money. Somebody needs a house, somebody builds it for them for monetary compensation and the result is another place of shelter for humans, and money for another human to spend on his needs. In this way, development and advancement can occur. Under a monetary system it is virtually the only way advancement occurs. Time, in it's true definition, is a measure of the world going 'round. Each time the world goes around 360° , we label that measurement "a day." Shorter and longer amounts of time can be measured by: Is the sun in the sky, or not? (day and night) What angle does the sun's rays hit the Earth? (seasons) How much of the moon is illuminated? (weeks) Has the moon completed it's illumination cycle? (months) Is it high tide, or low tide? (Hours)
If time is money, and money makes the world go 'round...isn't it time that makes the world go 'round? If money is the root of all evil, isn't time the root of all evil? If money makes the world go 'round, then the root of all evils makes the world go 'round. So should we accept that we live on an evil planet? The ridiculousness of some of these notions will hopefully cause you to reconsider some of the ideas that you have been following. Time is relative,it is not the same for even each of us human beings, let alone the pets that live an entire life in 7-10 years or the housefly that lives it's entire life within a day or two. Just remember...a stitch in time saves nine...dollars.
 
2017-04-16 07:46:38 AM  

jaylectricity: DRTFA: aylecyricity, did you write a manifesto about wasting time with the full knowledge it would waste the reader's time? If so, brilliant and subtle. If not, find a new hobby.
/ I enjoyed your post, but this is Fark after all.

Ummm...that was a copy and paste of the article for people that couldn't read the article because the website blocked you from reading it if you use noscript or adblock or similar add-ons.

You want a time waster?

They say that money is the root of all evil. Having it lends yourself to the evils of being able to get away with the things that the have-nots get punished for ; the evils of judging and/or snubbing the people who don't have money. Knowing that you can buy somebody else's pride, imagination, intellect, and labor can lead you to become idle. Idle hands are the devil's work is a popular cliché. Not having money lends yourself to the exploitation of the weaknesses of the people that have it. It causes you to lie, cheat, and steal to attain money, and all the luxuries it affords. That evil is usually directed at the people who have money. In reciprocation, the haves will try to oppress the have-nots which will lead to unsatisfactory living conditions. Is it easy to see how much evil is created by money?
Time is money. Notice how you spend time, and spend money? The grammatical interpretation would be that you use the same word, spend, to describe your actions with time and money. Application of that statement, however, runs much deeper. You have to spend time to make money, and spending money can save you time. How much of each usually depends on where you fit in to the social class system. If you use your time to help save another entity (one or many humans) time or money, you can make money for yourself. If you don't have enough time to help yourself, you can use that money to save time. If I install a light in a room with a switch near the door to enter the room, I am saving time for the owner of that room. They don't need to find a flashlight and make sure it has batteries to find their way in the room during the dark hours. On a more natural level...they don't need to find a candle and light that candle to enter the room. They simply need to flip a switch as they walk in the room. For this, they will spend their money to give it to me. If I don't have enough time to do my laundry for clean clothes, I can spend some of that money to have somebody do it for me. While I spend that money, I could possibly be out making more money while somebody does my laundry. I could also spend the time that I gained by spending money, by doing another task that I need, or even spend the time to do something I enjoy.
When you cause the masters of money to lose some of their money, you may be taking away some of their time. If they catch you, they will demand that you spend time or money to repay them. A fine or retribution may repay them to their satisfaction. Sometimes you may be allowed to spend your time helping the community to repay them. By helping the community in this way, you save the master's charity money, which in turn saves them time, or allows them to use the money on other helpful causes. If you can not repay the master in these manners, you must spend, or waste your time in jail or prison. While in prison you lose a lot of time and money, but the masters, and effectually your tax-paying peers also lose money. They use some of your time to save money on the costs of running a house for your criminal peers. The only way to avoid all this is to spend your time being cautious not to waste the master's money, or to spend your time avoiding this fate by devising plans to avoid being caught, running from the police, or hiding from the police. In the end you spend time or money when you waste the master's money. How much you lose isn't completely uncontrollable, but it is inevitable.
Money makes the world go 'round. The desire of the have-nots or even the have-not-as-muches to become the haves can quite possibly be the reason anything gets accomplished under a system of money. Somebody needs a house, somebody builds it for them for monetary compensation and the result is another place of shelter for humans, and money for another human to spend on his needs. In this way, development and advancement can occur. Under a monetary system it is virtually the only way advancement occurs. Time, in it's true definition, is a measure of the world going 'round. Each time the world goes around 360° , we label that measurement "a day." Shorter and longer amounts of time can be measured by: Is the sun in the sky, or not? (day and night) What angle does the sun's rays hit the Earth? (seasons) How much of the moon is illuminated? (weeks) Has the moon completed it's illumination cycle? (months) Is it high tide, or low tide? (Hours)
If time is money, and money makes the world go 'round...isn't it time that makes the world go 'round? If money is the root of all evil, isn't time the root of all evil? If money makes the world go 'round, then the root of all evils makes the world go 'round. So should we accept that we live on an evil planet? The ridiculousness of some of these notions will hopefully cause you to reconsider some of the ideas that you have been following. Time is relative,it is not the same for even each of us human beings, let alone the pets that live an entire life in 7-10 years or the housefly that lives it's entire life within a day or two. Just remember...a stitch in time saves nine...dollars.


img15.deviantart.net
 
2017-04-16 09:25:59 AM  
Time burglars?
 
2017-04-16 10:57:52 AM  
I think there's a disconnect between what Wired writes and what they actually do.

img.fark.net
 
2017-04-16 11:15:20 AM  

mjjt: Most of the examples cited in article are 'situational' - they show you ads and infomercials while you're otherwise doing nothing, such as poring gas.

I'm way more irritated by the autoplay videos and animated popups that either obscure what you're trying to read, or stop you scrolling down the page until they're completely loaded. And don't get adblocked bc they're part of the page script.

I'd love to see a study of just how much web traffic is actually parasitic non-content hogging our bandwidth.

Yeah I know sites have to try to get some revenue, but doing it in a way that annoys your readers is counter-productive.


I can't understand why modern web browsers still let you control if images automatically load but have no similar control for audio and video.
I get why sites have it.  I don't get why browsers won't let you control it.
 
2017-04-16 02:39:13 PM  

GreenAdder: I think there's a disconnect between what Wired writes and what they actually do.

[img.fark.net image 850x396]


THIS.
 
2017-04-16 02:53:59 PM  
Oblig:
img.fark.net
 
2017-04-17 12:59:01 AM  
frinkiac.com
 
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