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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.
originally posted by: LookingForABetterLife
a reply to: bigfatfurrytexan
The amount of advertising esp. on TV is getting sickening. I have to turn off the TV half the time as I'm tired of seeing the same ads over and over.
originally posted by: rickymouse
So, you copyright a sign and then stick it out into the public so people look at it. Then it is illegal to take a picture of it as you drive by? I think we have something wrong with our laws, if it is put out in public for people to see, they should be able to draw it or photograph it. We need to change our laws. This is getting ridiculous.