Clay Shirky has been talking about the Cognitive Surplus for a couple of years now and I have blogged about it in the past and I had assumed that everyone was aware of the concept but during my recent travels I was surprised how many people had not heard of Clay nor Cognitive Surplus so here's the gist and video talk here.
The central theme of the book Cognitive Surplus is that people are now learning how to more constructively use the free time afforded to them since the 1940s for creative acts rather than consumptive ones, particularly with the advent of online tools that allow new forms of collaboration. It goes on to catalog the means and motives behind these new forms of cultural production, as well as key examples.
While Shirky acknowledges that the activities that we use our cognitive surplus for may be frivolous (such as creating LOLcats), the trend as a whole is leading to valuable and influential new forms of human expression. He also asserts that even the most inane forms of creation and sharing are preferable to the hundreds of billions of hours spent consuming television shows in countries such as the United States.
Credit: Adapted from Wikipedia
Video: Clay Shirky: How cognitive surplus will change the world