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· One min read

Just spitballing something I have been thinking about increasingly often.

Many problems arising from humans interacting with computing systems occur because at a digital level it’s impossible to identify if a human or a computer caused an action to occur. Think of spam, banking fraud, or even DDOS sttacks.

Of course, expecting a boolean answer to the question "was this action caused by a human or a computer", doesn’t cover all the intricacies. For example, of a recurring bank transfer, or mailmerge.

What if we could measure how much human attention was consumed for something to be generated?

For example, generating a template for a mail merge would need 10 braincycles, since a human would need to work on it for a while.

But the action of mail merging the template and generating N mails, means that the content of each email is worth only 1 braincycle (or some fraction of the 10 braincycles of the template).

At the very least, this would be a good metric to sort my inbox -- if your email contains only 1 braincycle, it means you didn’t spend that much time (attention/braincycles) to generate it, therefore I shouldn’t spend much time either.