links for 2010-08-03

  • "Attention, at least the kind we care about, is an intrinsically scarce resource [ 4 ]. Consider yours, right now. You are reading this paper, or more likely, since it is intended to be delivered at a conference, listening to me speaking it. You have a certain stock of attention at your disposal, and right now, a large proportion of the stock available to you is going to me, or to my words. Note that if I am standing in front of you it is difficult to distinguish between paying attention to me and paying attention to my words or thoughts; you can hardly do one without doing the other. If you are just reading this, assuming it gets printed in a book, the fact that your attention is going to me and not just to what I write may be slightly less obvious. So it is convenient to think of being in the audience at this conference in order to consider what attention economics is all about."
  • "Innovation in Silicon Valley is […] an inherently social process: it is only through participating in a community that entrepreneurs pioneer the technological and commercial breakthroughs that have fueled rapid regional growth. And yet without opportunities for intensely competitive and single-minded individuals to achieve personal status and wealth, this self-organizing and technologically dynamic industrial system would simply grind to a halt. Frederick Terman's brilliance lay in his ability to envision and foster a technical community that transcends the boundaries between individuals, firms, and other local institutions–and one that balances the ongoing tension between individual autonomy and collective endeavor."
  • "The instantaneous nature of the Net is both its marvel and menace. We feel a need for speed. Thus the compulsion to answer emails and tweets quickly, without thinking things through. Impermanence is seen as a virtue, a signal of a world in constant change (where change is a buzzword). Like, nothing is forever, dude.

    Civility has gone out the window when you can hide behind the anonymity of the Internet. It's easier to be rude, even hateful -in the guise of "freedom of expression" -than it is to formulate a reasoned argument. (Indeed, reasoning and civility are slowing-down processes in themselves.) As an absolutist on freedom of expression, I oppose anti-hate speech laws -alas, hate speech is the price we pay for freedom. But that's no excuse for indulging in it because you can get away with it."

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