Clay Shirky on the Cognitive Surplus

Posted in Links and Videos on Tuesday, the 27th of May, 2008.


I came across this via a recent post on Jeremy Zawodny's blog, and found it fascinating.

I've been meaning to post something about this for a while, ideally accompanied by insightful and witty commentary. But that didn't happen so I figured I'd let Clay's presentation, from this year's Web 2.0 Expo, speak for itself.

In short, by the term Cognitive Surplus, Clay is referring to the huge amount of spare time and spare brain power that you guys have. That cognitive surplus has so far been swallowed up by the cultural black hole of TV, but little by little people are turning away from TV, and towards more interactive media, specifically the 'net. The upshot of all of this is that we might just be in the throes of something that rivals the industrial revolution in its significance.

I think he may well be right. You make up your own mind.


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