Curious Minds: Innovation in Life and Work
About This Show
Learn from inspiring innovators who are rethinking life and work in a changing world. Each week, Gayle Allen discovers how these entrepreneurs, writers, scientists and inventors, achieve their most fascinating and inspiring breakthroughs. Have fun taking a peek into their Curious Minds!
Most Recent Episode
CM 065: Tim Wu on Reclaiming Our Attention
5 days ago
What is the hidden impact of constant demands on our attention? How does it affect how we think, how we act, and how we live?
We have clickbait on our mobile devices and computer screens, ads on buses, and commercials on radio and TV. But as Tim Wu, author and Professor at Columbia University Law School points out, this is a fairly recent development that has turned into a constant monetization of our attention.
Tim is the author of three books: Who Controls the Internet?, The Master Switch, and most recently, The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads. He has written for the New Yorker, the Washington Post, Forbes, and Slate magazine. He points out that this constant barrage of messaging actually shapes who we are, often without our realizing it.
Highlights from our conversation include:
How does what we are exposed to determine what we decide?
The connection between early war propaganda and the rise of advertising
How the science of advertising was built on engineering demand
Why early suffragettes were hired to sell cigarettes
How the Paris poster period led to an early revolt against the attention merchants
How Consumer Reports grew out of frustration with ads
The original remote control took the shape of a gun to blow away commercials
Bringing TVs into our homes meant attention merchants now had more access
1950s provided a captive prime time TV programming audience for advertisers
How advertising convinces us that to be individuals we need to buy things
How novelty and unpredictability makes things addictive
How idealistic tech founders work against own values in reliance on ads
Tech innovation of today focused more on getting inside our minds and featuring ads
Why harvesting captures so well how our attention is sought and used
How such a tiny sector of the economy has such a big impact on us and how we live
How spending time with others is actually a revolt against adve