3-23 2013 action

The world we live in is noisy and getting noisier. Every day new information channels are being created. Determining which bit of noise is important has become as critical a skill as any in the modern world. Tom Davenport suggested a model in his book Attention Economy for how data transitions from noise to action. Davenport opined that attention leads to awareness, which is a prerequisite to action. Since our capacity for action is limited, having a filtering process so that you only take action when it is needed is another important skill.

If you need to get someone’s attention, then being loud and outrageous makes sense. More noise  means you have to be nosier! It is a vicious cycle. The ability to gather and filter the information from the noise is being taken to new levels, according to the Nova Podcast: Engineering Senses.  People are now engineering themselves by adding sensors to gather even more data from the world around them. One person had magnets surgically implanted so they could “sense” magnetic fields. Unfortunately, even though we might have better data gathering mechanism we still need to time and space to focus before we can take action. Each step acts as both a funnel and a filter. We will always be confronted with a funnel in which our ability to pay attention and then to be aware and then final to take action is a logistics exercise in which our capacity to think about a topic is the scarce resource. Descartes said “ I think, therefore I am” perhaps today he might have said “I filter, therefore I am.”