First seen in 1978, spam has become the vaccine for your attention span. It’s the toxin that has stimulated our immunity system’s defenses. Thanks to spam, we’ve had to find technical, social and personal ways of keeping our eyes on the 22% of e-mail that isn’t pure junk, and to avoid the 78% that is.
The 1972 Internet gave us ELIZA, a computer therapist, and IANA, which allocates IP addresses. Together they structure our contemporary dilemma: how do we get scarce, human attention in a world of infinite online distraction?