Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Daily Archives: May 1, 2024

The Battle for Attention

The New Yorker [unpaywalled] – “How do we hold on to what matters in a distracted age?Last year, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reported a huge ten-year decline in reading, math, and science performance among fifteen-year-olds globally, a third of whom cited digital distraction as an issue. Clinical presentations of attention problems have climbed (a recent study of data from the medical-software company Epic found an over-all tripling of A.D.H.D. diagnoses between 2010 and 2022, with the steepest uptick among elementary-school-age children), and college students increasingly struggle to get through books, according to their teachers, many of whom confess to feeling the same way. Film pacing has accelerated, with the average length of a shot decreasing; in music, the mean length of top-performing pop songs declined by more than a minute between 1990 and 2020. A study conducted in 2004 by the psychologist Gloria Mark found that participants kept their attention on a single screen for an average of two and a half minutes before turning it elsewhere. These days, she writes, people can pay attention to one screen for an average of only forty-seven seconds. “Attention as a category isn’t that salient for younger folks,” Jac Mullen, a writer and a high-school teacher in New Haven, told me recently. “It takes a lot to show that how you pay attention affects the outcome—that if you focus your attention on one thing, rather than dispersing it across many things, the one thing you think is hard will become easier—but that’s a level of instruction I often find myself giving.” It’s not the students’ fault, he thinks; multitasking and its euphemism, “time management,” have become goals across the pedagogic field. The SAT was redesigned this spring to be forty-five minutes shorter, with many reading-comprehension passages trimmed to two or three sentences. Some Ivy League professors report being counselled to switch up what they’re doing every ten minutes or so to avoid falling behind their students’ churn. What appears at first to be a crisis of attention may be a narrowing of the way we interpret its value: an emergency about where—and with what goal—we look…”

Cost of Living by County, 2023

Via Reddit: “Map created by me, an attempt to define cost of living tiers. People often say how they live in a HCOL, MCOL, LCOL area. Source for all data on cost of living dollar amounts by county, with methodology: To summarize, this cost of living calculation is for a “modest yet adequate standard… Continue Reading

Landmark Google antitrust case set to wrap after long break

Courthouse News Service: “The trial, which has been on hold since November, centers on whether the tech giant holds a monopoly over internet search, and could result in Google selling off core parts of its business. After a six-month break, a federal judge will hear closing arguments starting Thursday in a landmark antitrust trial against… Continue Reading

Remarkable graphic from study on deep history of flowering plants

Zuntini, A.R., Carruthers, T., Maurin, O. et al. Phylogenomics and the rise of the angiosperms. Nature (2024). – “Flowering plants (angiosperms) represent about 90% of all terrestrial plant species but, despite their remarkable diversity and ecological importance underpinning almost all main terrestrial ecosystems, their evolutionary history remains incompletely known. Since their Mesozoic origins, angiosperms… Continue Reading

Microsoft’s “responsible AI” chief worries about the open web

Washington Post: “…Natasha Crampton, Microsoft’s chief Responsible AI officer, spoke with The Technology 202 ahead of Microsoft’s release today of its first “Responsible AI Transparency Report.” The 39-page report, which the company is billing as the first of its kind from a major tech firm, details how Microsoft plans to keep its rapidly expanding stable… Continue Reading

Your Teams Should Drive AI Adoption Not Senior Leadership

Harvard Business Review: “Artificial intelligence has been around for a long time, but it is breaking out in a big way right now. As companies start to appreciate the almost boundless potential of Generative AI, they have begun to fast-track existing AI projects and are starting new ones in all areas of the business, including… Continue Reading

Election insights: Understanding public preferences for news coverage for 2024

“The public relies heavily on local and national news organizations as sources for news about elections, but many adults have concerns about the reliability of the information they get, according to a new survey by the Media Insight Project, a collaboration of the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.… Continue Reading

National Archives Bans Employee Use of ChatGPT

404 Media: “The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) told employees Wednesday that it is blocking access to ChatGPT on agency-issued laptops to “protect our data from security threats associated with use of ChatGPT,” 404 Media has learned. “NARA will block access to commercial ChatGPT on NARANet [an internal network] and on NARA issued laptops,… Continue Reading