Solving attention scarcity part 2 (autonomous agents)


Attention scarcity is a problem which you can see if you look at how shopping works in a mall or super market. Information asymmetry isn’t always the problem because food in the supermarket has labels on it allowing people to know the list of ingredients. The problem is most people simply do not have the time to research the ingredients on the list and instead just buy based on familiar brands due to advertising campaigns.

This means most people do not know what they eat. They do not know what they eat because food companies use deliberately confusing words in the ingredient list, big words, obscure words, words only a chemist would know. The simple words are in the big letters on the front of the package (the advertisement).

The first part of the solution to this problem is to pay the shopper for their attention. This way shoppers who do look at the advertisements/logos/brands are compensated for spending their attention on it. The other part of the solution is to use autonomous software agents to completely automate the process of shopping.

An autonomous software agent would work like a genie. You would simply tell it what you want or need and it will fetch it. It would be filter and understand different ingredients and it will also be able to allow only certain items on the list to rise to your attention. This would allow your attention to be prioritized while the artificial intelligence software agent does the shopping on your behalf.

Public Messaging and design for time well-spent