Cognitive Surplus and Society of Problem Solvers

Clay Shirky’s Articles are both articles denoting a cognitive surplus because of free time  and the complexisation of society throughout the years. He compares different mediums that made society much more complex over the years up until now. When I read the article Gin, Television, and Cognitive Surplus, I cannot help but still see Alcohol is still a tranquilizer as much as TV was. The fact is that we still do not know what to do with ourselves. Then, the other counterpoint that comes up in my mind is that we still need grunt work and we as a society have individuals that enjoy doing the dirty work.

Culture echoes the sentiments of Gin, Television, and Cognitive Surplus about the way culture utilizes time and resources of its members. Shirky contrasts the contributions to culture by the less than professional. He also makes a contrast with the freeloaders. However, he uses Alchemy to detail that culture is self-regulatory. I can side with Shirky in his talk because of belonging to a community of artists such as on Deviantart that post stories and art for the entire internet to partake of, and mostly for free.

Cognitive Surplus: The Great Spare-Time Revolution explains the culturally utilitarian views of Clay Shirky and Daniel Pink of how spare time has shaped culture. I do not disagree with this viewpoint of cognitive  surplus. I can relate about TV and vegging out. I especially agree with the fines and how persons get away with it and believe it is a sanction to keep doing bad. However, they don’t factor in disempowerment. In a society, if a single person is both not given an opportunity rather than does not take an opportunity then the point about desire is moot. Yet, I will give Shirky and Pink the benefit of the doubt.

Then, as a stark contrast to digitization and collaboration, Nicholas Carr talks about how computers and the internet make limit the ability of human minds to take in deep understanding of a concept. I thought about these findings in perpetuating brain rewiring and found this article very informative. The fact that the studies point at the degradation of the brain as a result of online activity seem to break with the assertion of Pink and Shirky. Instead, we are left with a warning that too much computer use benefits certain area of the brain while making worse other areas that matter. In the videos we watched in class, the point brought up really skews my view on this answer and takes it into the unknown for me. Considering the fact that using the computer is saving trees, technology is an asset to conservation in that way. Then again, perhaps this is a future change in intelligence that is geared toward more of a results driven product driven model. What I mean is as the video said, that the future societies will change to create many different solutions to complex problems all at one time through evolved multi-tasking.

However, my digression is that if Money can measure time then perhaps in the future, we will become so complex, compact and fast as a society that we won’t need money anymore. I hope, at least but until then, hurry it up.


One thought on “Cognitive Surplus and Society of Problem Solvers”

  1. I agree with most of it. The part about “vegging out” in contrast to the work on Deviantart is the interactive capability that we have today. You are only a “consumer” of TV, you’re a “consumer” AND a “producer” online.

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