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Buying time

Video, audio, books. These all ask for time to consume the experience and information provided therein.

Some people are so busy and so much occupied that they cannot spare 18 minutes of attention to watch a TED confernece presentation or read five-page Atlantic Monthly article delivered or written by their favorite thinker.

Despite all the means and tools such as mobile devices and 3G connection to allow access to huge amount of intellectual contents while on the move, it is often almost impossible to find that slim window of mind to focus on anything when your mind and schedule is fully saturated already.

Thus I imagine that we need an agent who would throw information at us without our own planning, like a secretary who have been given permission to interrupt his or her boss with a notice of an urgent call. The agent may also sneak around us waiting for the right moment to fill in just right amount of information between different tasks. An example would be the agent start playing an audio clip in the car that we drive, and the audio clip would be of such length that would fit the estimated duration of the drive, estimated by the agent based on the destination and the traffic condition. It then would be much like a form of personalized radio station, with the agent as the DJ.

Would a software someday be able to forecast my attention span ahead of the time and match my focus with my interests?


**Or, such service might already be available for some people, such as CEOs with smart secretaries, or children with attentive parents. Those real human beings can even go further to suggest, based on their own best judgments, what we should be interested in.

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