How do we deal with algorithms in the attention economy?

How do we deal with algorithms in the attention economy?

This session will be live streamed via Webex. Please provide your contact information to receive the meeting link before the session.


Famous for coining the term ‘net neutrality, Tim Wu, an author, lawyer, activist, and professor at Columbia Law School, published his book titled ‘The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads’ in 2016. In the book, Wu delineated how the tech companies became the newest heads of the attention merchants by cultivating and harvesting our attention with the help of algorithms and customized advertisements. According to this argument, users are constantly facing trade-offs between their attention and free internet services. 

People have argued that the newest form of attention economics, where the tech companies and social media platforms cultivate our attention by personalized contents and sell them to other businesses to make money, is what leads to today’s divided society and growing hate crimes. How do we address this issue? American technology ethicist Tristan Harris advocates that the economic principle of maximizing net profits should evolve along with the impact technology poses on humans and our environment. In other words, the tech giants should rethink what it means to ‘grow the business.’ Should Harris’s idea be realized? Or is this going to slow technology innovation?  

Through the lenses of sociology, public policies, mass communication, technology, and human rights, experts from academia and the industry will discuss the problems caused by the attention economy propose possible solutions.


  • Date: August 26 (Thu.) 2021, 14:00-16:00(on live)
  • The speakers are being invited as of now and names will be listed in the alphabetical order, which is subject to change.
  • The Event may be cancelled without notice in the case of natural disaster or force majeure, based on the Government announcement.

Scroll to Top