Attention!

I bet that got your attention. What is so important about your attention? 

Pay attention! I’ve heard this often throughout my life. When you are driving, pay attention to the road. It wasn’t until recently that I realized we actually are paying when we pay attention. It is not just our time we are paying. We also pay with our interest and with our information. In some cases, these lead to paying actual money. 

Have you heard the saying, “Time is money.” What does it mean to you? Today it goes a little deeper. In the Technojungle, a new monetary fund is attention. Isn’t where you spend your time also that which you give your attention to? Stop and think about all the things that grab your attention. Are there things you don’t want to spend your attention on? Can you be more economical with your attention?

Your attention is at the centre of a new Technojungle economy, so it is important to steward your attention carefully. Do you remember another saying about time; “That was time well spent”? It’s always important to consider the who, what, where, when, why and how of time. Give some careful thought to the following questions. Who do you spend time with? What do you spend your time on? Where do you spend your time? When do you spend your time on something, or someone? Why do you spend time on something, or someone? How do you spend your time? We have all heard these questions regarding time. How often though, do you consider these questions in relation to attention? 

Your attention is at the centre of a new economy, so it is important to steward your attention carefully.

What exactly does the word attention actually mean to you? Is it focusing your vision, hearing, and thoughts concentrating on someone or something while ignoring everything else. This can happen for a measurable length of time, or for only a split second. Sometimes we say, that something “…grabbed my attention.” Can your subconscious take your conscious attention away? Have you ever been reading something only to suddenly realize that you can’t remember what you just read because your attention and thoughts wandered? Was this when somebody was talking and you had to embarrassingly ask, “Could you repeat that?”

Who do you give your attention to? What do you give your attention to? Where do you give your attention? When do you give your attention to something, or someone? Why do you give your attention to something, or someone? How do you use your attention?

When we talk about time, are we not also talking about our attention? Well, in a way, yes. Has anyone ever said something to you like, “You are here, but your attention is somewhere else”? Can you split or divide your attention? Can you think you are turning your attention to something and actually have something else creep in and steal some of your attention, possibly without you knowing? Isn’t advertising about grabbing your attention, if only for an instant?

Permission to be obtained.

Why is your attention so important and valuable in the Technojungle? When you notice something, either consciously or unconsciously, it has an impact on you in some way that may be meaningful. Advertisers hope to sell you something, right?

There is so much more to it. Here is what I discovered is really happening. The online world of the Technojungle started a new gold rush. In the Industrial Age, oil became the new gold. Technojungle corporations now understand that, if they can get your attention, it is likely they will be able to mine the gold or oil of the Information Age. Aren’t corporations trying to extract data and information from you?

I talked earlier about data mining in the vast amounts of data and information out there in the Internet Technojungle. Can you see that, if a corporation can get your attention, there is a better likelihood that they can get data and information with less effort (and cost)? Remember, any piece of information collected about you might link to other information already out there somewhere. I think it’s sort of like finding and identifying pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. The pieces of data and information are out there waiting to be assembled. By grabbing your attention you might reveal something about yourself that could connect pieces of the jigsaw puzzle.

I am always amazed at the number of Technojungle businesses that want me to subscribe to their service, often for no apparent reason. I have downloaded countless apps for my devices, only to find the first screen I see on launch is for registering on their server. I delete the app immediately. I’m registered on more Technojungle servers than I ever wanted.

How many servers are you registered on? Do you use the same password? What if one of those servers gets hacked and your password, and more, gets stolen? What if the app collects information about you? Be careful about allowing technology to know your location, what you like to do, and other personal, or semi-personal activities.

Could there be even more to all this seeking of your attention?

Are you surprised that so much of this book looks at data and information? Isn’t who you are, and how you exist in the virtual online world of the Technojungle, based on all your data and information? Do you understand that what you see in the online world is not reality—can we call it an unreality? Why is this so? Can you think about all the things you do online and how you leave your mark? How about a Like on a social media post, or all the searches you do, or simply all the websites you visit? As we have seen earlier everything you do gets tracked. Do you realize that the more the Technojungle understands what you like, the more it feeds you back that which you like? Doesn’t the Technojungle reinforce your worldview? It is a sort of mirror. You can end up living in a bubble. We’ll get to more about this later.

What if what you like can be manipulated? How can this happen? You can see this with shopping online. A suggester, or recommender, algorithm, hoping to grab your attention, will show you more items with the comment, “You might also like these….” If you click on any of them, they get registered as something you are interested in and like. Items remain flagged as something you like, even if you don’t like them. That is false information. This is just one example, but you can see that the Technojungle can misunderstand other information about you.

Think about what we understand about algorithms. Remember in book one we looked at algorithms and how they have biases. What if the biases of algorithms are carefully purposed intentionally to mislead you? 

At the risk of seeming like a conspiracist, I’ll just be blunt here and ask a question. Is it possible for someone to divert your attention and intentionally misinform you and thereby manipulate your viewpoint, perspective, or worldview through the Technojungle? Could this lead to propaganda? Is it possible that you would make decisions on what to believe and what actions to take in situations based on false, or misleading, information? Could your life be controlled? Is this happening?

I think we should conclude that it is important for us to pay attention to our attention. Next time your device makes a sound alerting you to perhaps an incoming text message or E-mail, can you ask yourself if it is really necessary to check it immediately?

What do you think and how do you feel when someone pulls out their device while in a conversation with you, maybe in mid-sentence? People will take a phone call leaving the other person they are with to just wait around waisting their time and attention. Often the other person pulls out their device and suddenly both people have diverted their attention to the Technojungle instead of the real person they are with. Wouldn’t interruptions to personal conversations by devices have been considered rude only a few decades ago? Shall we also conclude then that the Technojungle is trying to separate humans from face-to-face interactions?

At the risk of seeming like a conspiracist, I’ll just be blunt here and ask a question. Is it possible for someone to divert your attention and intentionally misinform you and thereby manipulate your viewpoint, perspective, or worldview through the Technojungle? Could this lead to propaganda? Is it possible that you would make decisions on what to believe and what actions to take in situations based on false, or misleading, information? Could your life be controlled? Is this happening?

What happens when we have our attention funnelled through the Technojungle? We may see ourselves as having a wonderful ability to communicate with people at a distance, but, what do you know about communications and what do you know about the growing Technojungle? Isn’t the quality of communication reduced when mediated by Technology? If we are constantly using the Technojungle to do things, don’t we need more Technojungle to handle the needs and demands? Doesn’t the Technojungle grow, but we as humans grow very little in comparison? I know this is repetitious, but this is important. What shape is a funnel? That’s right, your human experience gets reduced. Much gets left out.

With our attention being so extremely valuable in the modern Technojungle world, shouldn’t we be smart to carefully watch for ways corporations are monetizing our attention? Remember, corporations can be sneaky. 

Isn’t our attention an important part of being a human being? Can we turn our attention to learning to redeem and reclaim that which we may have lost, retain and maintain what we have today, and to protect our humanness and humanity for our future as we learn about being better human beings and living in a world of technology—the Technojungle.

Hopefully you can now see that your attention is valuable and that it is important to spend it wisely. Let’s turn our attention to how we get everything done in our busy lives? How can we do things well?


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