Shirky’s back! And now he’s explaining ‘cognitive surplus’.

Clay Shirky, the renowned ‘futurist’ and explainer of web trends is back on the talking circuit.

Following the tremendous success of ‘Here comes everybody…’, Clay lays down the hypothesis that in a post-tv (couch potato) world, we can achieve a lot more. With social networks and the power of the web, people are using their ‘spare brain power’ for that of good. His example is crisis crowdsource too Ushahidi, born out of the bloodshed after a disputed Presidential election.

I agree in a large part, we are able to get the most out of ourselves by using the linking and empowering potential of the web, its all about group action. However, the directions for use of these free brain hours are the same as always, and although we are problem solving to make life better in a civic way, we could just as easily find those that want ‘negative’ outcomes for everyone. The difference between those creating civic ‘good’ and civic ‘bad’ is the same as the differences that exist in life generally, and they can use the same tools to do either.

That said I am an altruist, and hope that the good that can be brought about but I am also aware that behaviours on the web more often than not follow patterns that already exist in day to day (offline) society.

Beware: He socks it to the LOLcats (mee no like that!)


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