This is not an information economy, but an economy of attention.
The world is changing. Absolutely new industries come into the first place, which no one knew about for several decades. This fundamentally changes the economy, when not only new spheres are created, but the role of man, both as the creator of this economy and as a consumer of its products, changes.
Computers have brought a new understanding of information into our world. However, when an excess of information has arisen today, which essentially impedes its advancement to the consumer, an emphasis has been placed on the concept of attention, since information processes are impossible without attention.
Information and attention appear as two sides of the same coin. Without attention, no movement of information in human society is impossible. Modern education is looking for new ways of learning precisely because in an environment rich in information, it has lost the attention of students. For this reason, the Bologna system arose, and Britain had already converted 10% of school subjects into a game form, for which purpose it created a special Institute for Serious Games.
By controlling attention, we control individual and mass consciousness. The child will always choose from two candies that which will be in a brighter wrapper. Stopping attention makes him that choice. The attention here wins the information. In many ways, this process is likely to manifest itself in the presidential election, where the brightest candidates like Donald Trump hold the attention of voters.
The USSR at one time lost the attention of the population when everything turned into a ritual. May 1 or November 7 were uninteresting, the Beatles as new attracted attention. When writers, journalists, dissidents appeared on the television screens of perestroika instead of the usual secretaries of the regional committee, the USSR as an object of interest was completely lost, attention was taken by other talking heads, which today have become flashy heads in television political talk shows to return this interest already at a new stage.
M. Goldharber spoke about the economy of attention more than thirty years ago, as he recalls in his interview. He talks about the essence of his understanding of the future development of the situation that arose when he had not so many computers: “My main idea was that the real goal in the situation of choosing information is attention – the attention of other people. The scope of such attention is limited, since each person can give only his attention throughout life. At the same time, attention is undoubtedly desired; it is necessary for everyone, and unlike material goods there is not too much attention. Therefore, both existing and future “information technologies” are better understood as “attention technologies”, each of which offers its own specific path of attention-seeking ”.
Another basic idea to which he comes is the division of actions into two types – limited and unlimited. Our usual actions are limited, they should be repeated all the time – to breathe, eat and under. All prehistoric time of man consists of such actions. But here comes the alphabet. Now it’s enough to write something down and it will be accessible to people all over the world. Humanity has entered a world of unlimited action. These are photos, videos, sounds, words in digital form – all of them can be copied unchanged ad infinitum.
The past economy was built on the basis of limited action. It was the same money, coin, check, paper money. Today, the world is moving to electronic money, which is unlimited.
By the way, Goldhaber himself notes one discrepancy with the ideas that he saw in the future and predicted. He talks about these new ways to use attention: “With more and more accessible media through which attention is achieved, such as Youtube, as well as self-printing books, getting Twitter followers, NY Times blog commentators, Amazon or Yelp reviewers and under., we get what can be designated as micro-stars. This makes the attention economy not as equal as I thought it should be, but no doubt it can give everyone the same star status. ”
Goldhaber builds a model according to which information flows on the one hand and attention on the other. This is an interdependent process.
Here you can finally object. Humanity has always known a certain role of attention, introducing for this certain restrictions on distractions. For this reason, the lights turn off in the theater and conversations are prohibited, as is the rustling of candy wrappers. For the same reason, spectacles have always been attractive, the church created its sacraments and under. The lecture also makes the student listen, and the teacher in the lesson can punish the student for not paying attention.
Goldhaber simply puts attention as a starting point in the proposed system and begins to build the world, starting from this. Another point of reference is very important: attention is a limited resource. If we read an article, then it can take all our attention into this unit of time.