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Your Attention, Please: Optimizing for Humans by John Feminella
Operators of large distributed systems often try to optimize for scarce computational resources — memory, network bandwidth, and CPU cycles. However, research shows that if we want to maximize the health of our systems, there’s another scarce resource we should be prioritizing instead: the attention of our users.
In this talk, I’ll show how we can use machine learning to improve how we present data and information and tell a story to our users, optimizing for their attention and holistic understanding, instead of overwhelming them with a barrage of low-level metrics. More intriguingly, we’ll see how this approach has produced massive improvements in several real-world systems at large Fortune 100 institutions. By the end of the talk, we’ll hopefully have convinced you that happier and more informed operators isn’t merely a good outcome, but rather is the most ethical thing to do if we don’t want to lead people astray.