Week 6: Attention and The Commons

Now we’re delving into extremely complex territory in this weeks readers, synthesising the neuro-biological processes that underlie our attention when we Seek, use our Computers and consume information that in turn drives our appetite for more. It feeds into this issue as to what extent modern technology shapes our neurological processes, as Ritchell notes, “how heavy technology may fundamentally alter the frontal lobe during childhood, how addictive behavior can lead to poor decision-making and how the brain is rewired when it is constantly inundated with new information…” but also how technology augments and simplifies the seeking system with various informational filtering tools.

Dr. Adam Gazzaley presenting at TED about the Brain: Memory and Multitasking summarises the complexities of neuroscience very well and provides us with a few practical examples as to how dividing attention effects us cognitively:

Since the shift began in advanced capitalist societies from an industry commodity production economy to an information industry based on networks of exchanges, the Attention Currency is slowly what comes to define value in this epoch shift. TV ratings, paper readership and internet hits have long been defined as what generates revenue, (along with advertising) yet it is the public and private attention invested in these media that drive the industry. These media industries often create attention controlling apparatuses in the form of ‘Spectacles,’ advertising and scheduling, exerting a kind of Psychopower over individuals and society. The readers from the Paying Attention conference go into more detail than I could understand, so perhaps it’s best to let their promotional video summarise the many facets of attention :

So if attention and information value are reappraised and remixed by lead users in the internet age, so too must the social institutions such as law, and in particular copyright and the commons, evolve. What better system then, to champion the ideals of a commonwealth, than peer 2 peer networks and media advocates? We have a Call to Arms against conglomerate corporations’ stranglehold on creative copyrights, along with this excellent Reclaimation Paper flying the flag for the Commons, to the stronghold located at the P2P Foundation. While perhaps the commodity industrial complex is on the wane, reflected by economic instability and the GFC, and that outdated laws need to be revised as technology develops social interaction, these articles did make me feel we can make a difference in our lifetimes. Yet there are still many seemingly insurmountable unanswered questions that need to be debated and developed before real institutional and lasting change is set. Let’s end here with these short videos from two champions of the new P2P Commons cause: Michel Bauwens on The Commons & Lawrence Lessig on Creative Copyright

Hoisting the Flag…


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