Shirky After Dark

In today’s class, we covered Clay Shirky’s book The Cognitive Surplus and how the Internet has made possible production on a level never before available. In an article from 1999, Shriky actually addressed this issue. He called it “RIP The Consumer, 1990–1999.

For Shirky, the Internet made every consumer a potential producer, thus the passive consumer as we know it would become extinct. Judging from your response to Shirky this week, it seems like many of you would disagree with this techno-utopian artifact from the past decade.

Morozov linked to this article on Twitter last week, and I posted it in last week’s course notes.

Another important aspect of Shirky’s argument is to determine what motivates all this production and all this cognitive surplus. Why are people wasting their time putting this stuff online? He lists two types of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic. He explains this motivation in a 2010 TED Talk.

If you’ve heard the example of the Israeli day care center, you probably read it in the best-selling book Freakonomics (2005).

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