While most of PZ Myers’ comments (in his blog post entitled “Ray Kurzweil does not understand the brain” posted on Pharyngula on August 17, 2010) do not deserve a response, I do want to set the record straight, as he completely mischaracterizes my thesis.
For starters, I said that we would be able to reverse-engineer the brain sufficiently to understand its basic principles of operation within two decades, not one decade, as Myers reports.
Clay Shirky looks at “cognitive surplus” — the shared, online work we do with our spare brain cycles. While we’re busy editing Wikipedia, posting to Ushahidi (and yes, making LOLcats), we’re building a better, more cooperative world. TED Video of Talk.
About Clay Sharpey
Clay Shirky believes that new technologies enabling loose collaboration — and taking advantage of “spare” brainpower — will change the way society works. Learn more.
Core Point: Over a trillion hours a year in cognitive surplus–Internet and media tools are shifting all of us from consumption to production. We like to create; we like to share. Now we can.
This talk gets at something that could go into the proposal for Virtual Systemic Inquiry (VSI). I need to emphasize that the VSI products have civic value. That motivates participation, but we also need to make it a little more obvious and easy how to participate, in order that generosity can flow more readily from more people. That’s what I was trying to get at by making projects more standardized and quick. Software can let that flow, as Shirky says. The process and products should probably be pretty in some way too, like IDEO (also LOL cats).
Recommended by Dr. Kent Myers. Eleveated by Phi Beta Iota to 6 Stars and Beyond because this book is much more readable than Wealth of Networks and captures the essence for the general reader in a manner more likely to accelerate understanding and transformation.
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended as THE book to understand the fundamentals of social media collaboration
Clay Shirky captured the ethos of social media with his bookHere comes everybody. He follows that book up with one that concentrates on the fundamentals of turning our cognitive surplus into value. Cognitive Surplus provides a compelling and clear description of the fundamentals of social media and collaboration as well providing principles that are guiding developments and innovation in this space.
There are many books out there that either describe the social media phenomenon or profess to provide a `recipe’ for success. Neither of these approaches can provide you with the insight needed to effectively experiment and deploy social media for the simple reason that social media is changing too fast.
The book is organized into seven chapters that outline a complete way of thinking about social media.
The central problem of our time is the failure of human organization–its failure to scale, to adapt, to assimilate.
We believe the failure stems directly from a rejection of diversity and a falsification of feedback loops–the absence of integrity.
We’ve come to the conclusion that the discord between politics and intelligence is contrived–there is no inherent opposition between politics (choice of best path for all) and intelligence (presentation of best achievable truth for all) provided ONE condition is met: integrity among the majority of individuals engaged in each.
If intelligence loses its integrity and allows itself to be politicized or worse, ignored, then intelligence fails. Similarly, if politics loses its integrity and overplays the secrecy card while also shutting out the diversity of views that are essential to achieving a sustainable consensus, then politics fails.
KENT C. MYERS is a strategic management consultant to the U.S. government.
He has worked with many intelligence, military, and other federal clients. He has a Ph.D. in Social Systems Sciences, Wharton School. Research interests include resilience strategy, inter-organizational networks and alignment, and environmental scanning.
Since 2006 he has conducted varied strategy and research tasks for the Office of Director of National Intelligence.