Clay Shirky: How cognitive surplus will change the world

Cognitive Surplus: Volunteer, Contribute, Collaborate

Clay Shirky argues that today’s media landscape enables us to create a world community, that is engaged in producing what he refers to as „cognitive surplus„, that is

„the ability of the world’s population to volunteer and to contribute and collaborate on large, sometimes global, projects.“

20th century media turned us into couch potatoes

The consumer society is a result of the restrictions of our media landscape according to him:

„We were couch potatoes because that was the only opportunity given to us. We still like to consume, of course. But it turns out we also like to create, and we like to share. And it’s those two things together — acient human motivation and the modern tools to allow that motivation to be joined up in large-scale-efforts — that are the new design resource.“

21th century media give us the potential to make a new choice

In contrast to the 20th century media the Internet and the modern tools that go along with it have the potential to turn the world into what Marshall McLuhan in the 1960-ies described as the „Global Village.

Creating a New Social Climate

Clay Shirky is not promising the wonderland of New Media. That is, in fact, what I like about his talk. He quite pragmatically points out what we have to do: Create a social climate in which „cognitive surplus“ is being supported and rewarded! Clay Shirky concludes that to

„the degree we’re able to do that, we’ll be able to change society.“

Makes sense to me, but see for yourself …

Book: Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age

Review of the book: Cory Doctorow from Boing Boing

„Cognitive Surplus continues to prove that Clay Shirky is one of the best thinkers and advocates the net has. It’s a delight to read and will change how you think about the future.“

Related: Virtual Mobility – Judith Staines‘ study „Exited Atoms“ Informs about a New Powerful Arena for Performing Artists

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