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Metagov House @ ETH Denver - The Noise of Democracy: Attention Economies and Governance Surfaces

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Denver, Colorado
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About Event

Workshop Facilitators

Nathan Schneider

Ronen Tamari

Metagov House @ ETH Denver Series

Join us for the Metagov House series at ETH Denver. We are hosting four discussions/workshops looking at:

  • Attention Governance,

  • DAO Constitutions and Amendability,

  • Games and Governance, and

  • Kinship-logics for DAOs

Event Brief

This event's workshop is focused on attention governance:

In this age of endless information and distractions, rethinking governance and economies also requires rethinking how we govern our attention, at both the individual and community level. For example: How is the attention of members being allocated in a given community? What kinds of interfaces do we need to organize our attention across multiple communities? How do members gain enough knowledge to make informed decisions? How much should communities expect of their members’ attention?

Corporate capitalism dominates our current economy to the extent that most people cannot imagine any alternative to it (if trying to imagine any at all). Similarly, the platform capitalism of social media platforms has locked us into a harmful yet seemingly inevitable attention economy. Platforms enact a “tyranny of convenience” in which it becomes increasingly harder to imagine, let alone implement, viable alternatives to a reality in which our attention is monetized, managed, and mediated by algorithms over which we have little say or control.

In this workshop we wish to explore together regenerative attention economies, which we hope will be more cooperative, decentralized and participatory, as well as more mindful of human abilities and limitations. Participants will come away with some basic frameworks for thinking about attention in governance, and their contributions will help inform a new research project on this topic at the Metagovernance Project.

More practically, some themes and questions we want to discuss in the workshop include:

  • Case studies in actual online communities/DAOs: where we are today vs where we want to be in terms of attention governance

  • The role of language models and other AI/data science tools (, etc)

  • Governance as attentional burden that we want to minimize (e.g., the number of proposals one has to go over every month) vs more intrinsic “fun governance” (e.g., a re-tweet on Twitter can contribute to collective knowledge curation - collective attention governance - but is also fun; social incentives, etc)

  • Invisible vs visible attention labor, remuneration of members for attention related activities

  • Tech tools (Discord bots, AI, etc) and organization tools (delegation, agreeing on various notification policies)

  • Cognitive models of attention (from behavioral science, cybernetics, complex systems) and implications/applications

Activity ideas:

  • Design a dashboard to organize governance in all the communities you’re part of

  • Create a map of the governance surfaces you interact with in your life