Malcolm McCullough publishes book on ambient information

Malcolm McCullough publishes book on ambient information

Ambient Commons—Attention in the Age of Embodied Information (MIT Press) explores the question of information superabundance from the perspective of the built environment. Today, as media proliferates into ever more formats, contexts, and patterns of use, the disciplines of architecture, interaction design, and cognition converge on the question of attention to surroundings.

Ambient Commons follows Malcolm McCullough’s widely-read Digital Ground, which was among the first books to develop a connection between the disciplines of architecture and interaction design. Ambient Commons extends this reach toward an environmental history of information, in which the recent explosion of augmented realities and situated technologies seems an important new stage.

Although McCullough began writing the book in 2012 while on sabbatical at Berkeley Center for New Media, it reflects the University of Michigan’s long expertise in informational, organizational, and cognitive sciences, as well as McCullough’s participation in the Science-Technology-Society program here at Taubman College. The book explores McCullough’s inquiry into what by now seems the most valuable resource of the times: attention.

For more information, visit the Publisher catalog or the Ambient Commons website.


“…[I]n an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it” – Herbert Simon, 1971 (long before Google, Twitter, or media facades.)