I am surrounded by fabulous podcasts, newsletters, magazines, blogs, tweets, Instagram posts, streaming services, and media libraries. With so many great offerings, there’s simply not enough time in the day to enjoy them all. To manage my media consumption, I follow the advice of Guardian author Oliver Burkeman, who recommends treating attention like money, as both are limited resources. When we devote our attention to one thing, it becomes unavailable for others. As such, we should be just as selective with our attention as we are with our money, not giving it to everyone who asks.
The concept is straightforward, but now AI chatbots like ChatGPT-4 are entering the market, seeking my undivided attention – and they’re getting it, currently even in abundance. If my attention continues to shift from traditional media offerings to chatbots, and if many others behave similarly, will media usage time for other platforms inevitably decrease?
One may wonder whether a chatbot even qualifies as a media offering. In the case of ChatGPT-4, I would say it does, at least subjectively. The chatbot continuously generates new content for me to read, capturing my attention. The fact that this content is based on probability calculations rather than editorial work is secondary in terms of media usage time. The source of the content is less important than the chatbot’s ability to engage my attention – or, as the saying goes: “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.”
Does ChatGPT-4 also request my financial contribution? Indeed, I support the AI by paying a 23.80-dollar monthly subscription fee to OpenAI. By doing so, I adhere to Oliver Burkeman’s recommendation, allocating both my money and attention…