## Cognitive Surplus ### Cognitive Surplus ![rw-book-cover](https://is3-ssl.mzstatic.com/image/thumb/Publication/b0/c1/86/mzi.foclfhrq.jpg/1400x0w.jpg) #### Metadata * Author: [[Clay Shirky]] * Full Title: Cognitive Surplus * Category: #books #### Highlights * brisk business renting straw pallets by the hour (Location 53) * Toxicologists like to say "The dose makes the poison"; both alcohol and caffeine are fine in moderation but fatal in excess. (Location 106) * The psychologists Jaye Derrick and Shira Gabriel of the University at Buffalo and Kurt Hugenberg of Miami University of Ohio concluded that people turn to favored programs when they are feeling lonely, and that they feel less lonely when they are viewing those programs. (Location 132) * Note: probably explains why we watch friends * Imagine treating the free time of the world's educated citizenry as an aggregate, a kind of cognitive surplus. (Location 159) * Life in the developed world includes a lot of passive participation: at work we're office drones, at home we're couch potatoes. (Location 174) * As Kurt Vonnegut's protagonist says at the close of The Sirens of Titan, "The worst thing that could possibly happen to anybody would be to not be used for anything by anybody." (Location 376) * The great tension in media has always been that freedom and quality are conflicting goals. There have always been people willing to argue that an increase in freedom to publish isn't worth the decrease in average quality; Martin Luther observed in 1569: "The multitude of books is a great evil. There is no measure of limit to this fever for writing; every one must be an author; some out of vanity, to acquire celebrity and raise up a name; others for the sake of mere gain." Edgar Allan Poe commented in 1845: "The enormous multiplication of books in every branch of knowledge is one of the greatest evils of this age; since it presents one of the most serious obstacles to the acquisition of correct information by throwing in the reader's way piles of lumber in which he must painfully grope for the scraps of useful lumber." (Location 620) * Note: signal and noise * All media can now slide from one to the other. A book can stimulate public discussion in a thousand places at once. An e-mail conversation can be published by its participants. An essay intended for public consumption can anchor a private argument, parts of which later become public. (Location 739) * The writer Nicholas Carr has dubbed this pattern digital sharecropping, after the post- Civil War sharecroppers who worked the land but didn't own it or the food they grew on it. With digital sharecropping, the platform owners get the money and the creators of the content don't, a situation Carr regards as manifestly unfair. (Location 758) * occasionally letter writing (an act so laborious and rare that many a letter began with "Sorry I haven't written in so long . . .") (Location 809) * In psychological literature, experiments designed to illuminate voluntary engagement are called "free choice" tests—when someone has control over his actions, how likely is he to engage in a particular behavior? Deci's Soma experiment found that payment for working with the puzzle depressed free choice for the same activity. Deci's conclusion was that human motivation isn't purely additive. Doing something because it interests you makes it a different kind of activity than doing it because you are reaping an external reward. The experiment substantiated (Location 934) * Philanthropies vary greatly in determining where their money goes: how much goes to actual recipients and how much for day-to-day operating expenses, including salaries for the people running the organization. The American Institute of Philanthropies gives a passing grade to philanthropies that use 40 percent of donated money for expenses while giving away 60 percent—not terrible, but not great. Philanthropies that limit their expenses to 15 percent and give away 85 percent are rated excellent. And what of Grobanites for Charity—how much of the money donated by their fellow fans do they take for expenses? Nothing. Zero percent. They draw no salary, and as much labor as possible is donated from Grobanites willing to invest time instead of (or as well as) money. Grobanites for Charity doesn't just happen to be a labor of love; it is designed and incorporated as a labor of love. (Location 974) * The Grobanites for Charity site, on the other hand, doesn't look like that at all. It looks like 1996 threw up, with all of the loopy touches that characterized web design in its early days—lists bulleted by hand-drawn hearts, and colored tabs showing the viewer the sections. It looks, in other words, as if it were done by amateurs, because it was done by amateurs, not just in the sense of "not professional," but also in the original sense of the word amateur: someone who does something for the love of (Location 994) * Social forms of organization can affect even the most seemingly personal issues. Katherine Stone, a U.S. advocate for women suffering from anxiety disorders, noted the recent and rapid growth in postpartum support groups organizing via Meetup.com, a service that uses the internet to coordinate real-world meetings of the like-minded. Stone explained this rapid growth by saying, "Women going through postpartum depression . . . WANT AND NEED TO TALK to other women who are just like them. To share. To see they are not alone. To see they will get well." The motivation to share is the driver; technology is just the enabler. (Location 1029) * Many other sites are dedicated to helping users donate time and expertise as well as money. NetSquared.org supports nongovernmental organizations working on global aid or development, Idealist.org helps people find opportunities for local community development, and Care2.com supports environmental initiatives. The microlender Kiva.org uses donations from individuals as capital for providing loans to people in the developing world. (Location 1068) * Amateurs are sometimes separated from professionals by skill, but always by motivation; the term itself derives from the Latin amare—"to love." The essence of amateurism is intrinsic motivation: to be an amateur is to do something for the love of it. (Location 1077) * Japanese anime (animated cartoons) are often subtitled in English by networks of volunteer fans, in a process called fansubbing; fansubbing networks are small and global by nature, and different groups of fansubbers typically concentrate on particular anime shows or artists. Yahoo.com hosts a mailing list for sufferers from Crohn's disease, providing a place for them to share their worries and observations; it has a few hundred active members, drawn from Europe, North America, and Asia. (Location 1109) * Digital folk art often takes the form of a mashup, the combination of existing materials into something new. (Lolcats is an example of a mashup: a person adds a caption to an existing picture.) (Location 1125) * The spread of digital hobbies hardly seems significant, in part because we've learned to regard amateur interests as faintly ridiculous, if not actively suspect. While I was growing up in the United States in the 1970s, I learned, without being explicitly told, that grown men who built model trains or women who created macramé were, in some unstated way, pathetic. Meanwhile it was perfectly acceptable to spend hours every day watching The Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch (a task I performed, as most of us did, as if it were my job). (Location 1133) * Social media also drives discovery costs through the floor: web access allows you to find other people who like building model trains and doing macramé, or designing paper airplanes, or dressing up as anime characters, or practicing jnana yoga, or knitting socks, or photographing pay phones, or cooking Catalan food, on and on, at any hour of the day or night, worldwide. (Location 1153) * In the 1990s, when anyone asked, Will older people adopt all this confusing new technology? the assumed answer was no, but that was the wrong answer, because it was the wrong question. The right question was, Will older people adopt new ways of communicating with friends and family? No one wants e-mail for itself, any more than anyone wants electricity for itself; rather, we want the things electricity enables. Similarly, we want the things e-mail enables—news from home, pictures of the kids, discussion, argument, flirtation, gossip, and all the mess of the human condition. The surprise behind those "Old people communicating with each other!" articles came from a focus on the technical means rather than on the social opportunities of that communication. (Location 1268) * As we have seen, the question, Why are all these people working for free? presupposes a theory of human action based mainly on personal and financial motivation: The sensible reason to do things is for money, so doing things for free requires a special explanation. Within that theoretical framing, there is no good reason why someone would upload their video to YouTube or edit a Wikipedia article. The problem here isn't with the behaviors, it's with the explanation. Once you stop asking why people do these things "for free" and just start asking why they are doing them, the whole range of intrinsic (and nonfinancial) motivation becomes part of the explanation. (Location 1281) * The Ultimatum Game is a two-person interaction. Imagine you and a stranger are the players, and you each have a role: your unknown partner is the proposer, and you are the responder. The game starts when the researcher gives your partner ten dollars, instructing her that she is to decide how she would like to split the money between the two of you. Once she proposes such a split, you cannot change it. The only say you have in the matter is to decide whether to accept or reject her offer. (Hence the game's name.) If you accept, she gets to keep her proposed piece of the ten dollars, and you get the remainder. If you refuse, though, neither you nor she gets anything. Neoclassical economics predicts the outcome of this game quite clearly: she will propose keeping nine dollars for herself, offering you a dollar, and you will accept, because you will be a dollar better off than if you refuse. One dollar, however small it is relative to her share, is still more than nothing, and hence preferable to nothing. So the theory goes, but the game doesn't run this way in practice. Instead, the proposer typically offers amounts between four and five dollars, which the responder generally accepts. When the proposer does offer lower amounts, the responder typically refuses, costing both the participants any reward. The lower the amount offered, the greater the likelihood of refusal. (Location 1363) * Note: More like chimpanzees in the lab * One of the few variations of the Ultimatum Game that does produce behavior in line with neoclassical predictions is when several responders compete to get a share of a single proposer's cash and do so without communicating with one another. In this case, the proposer can get away with a nine-to-one split, because responders who don't accept such a split get nothing. This is the game played as a market, in which the proposer captures the advantages of pure competition. (The splits shift to one-to-nine when many proposers compete for a transaction with a single responder.) The lesson here is that markets can work as advertised, but they have to be designed and implemented to defeat social coordination. (Location 1396) * People derive pleasure from punishing wrongdoing, even if it costs them time, energy, or money to do so. In the Ultimatum Game, responders punish skin-flint proposers by refusing the offered share of the money, but what they get in return is the satisfaction of knowing the proposer hasn't gotten away with an unfair share. (Location 1405) * In his book Public Associations in Civil Life, he wrote: "In democratic countries, knowledge of how to combine is the mother of all other forms of knowledge; on its progress depends that of all the others." Social production increasingly relies on de Tocqueville's "knowledge of how to combine." (Location 1436) * Ostrom has concentrated on how groups of people share the management of common property, such as groups of farmers who have to share water for irrigation, or fishermen who have to select locations for setting out their nets, a set of conditions usually called the tragedy of the commons. The condition of shared access to common resources is a tragedy because selfish actors can exhaust the resource they have access to, as with shepherds over-grazing sheep on a common green or farmers overirrigating from a shared source of water. (Location 1452) * Note: in terms of our utilisation of public resources in terms of land water air * This internalization relies on the finding demonstrated by the Ultimatum Game; namely that people in social circumstances will moderate their behavior to be less selfish. The social reduction of selfish impulses can be triggered easily. When a plate of doughnuts is set out in a common area, office workers will take fewer if there are paper cutouts of eyes nearby (thereby proving H. L. Mencken's hypothesis, "Conscience is the little voice that tells you someone might be looking"). (Location 1464) * equality of access and freedom for unlimited use of Apache means that while people can (and do) make commercial versions of the code, most of the programmers working on it will work on the free version. Furthermore, because anyone can modify a version of Apache for his or her own private use, the license encourages a huge amount of experimentation, and the results of those experiments can end up being reintegrated into the main version. Low hurdles to participation make both research and the incorporation of results easier than for a commercially developed product. (Location 1493) * It runs so deep, in fact, that psychologists have a name for it: the fundamental attribution error. The fundamental attribution error is at work when we explain our own behavior in terms of the constraints on us ("I didn't stop to help the stranded driver because I was late for work") but attribute the same behavior in others to their character ("He didn't stop to help the stranded driver because he's selfish"). Similarly, we fell into the fundamental attribution error when we thought Gen Xers weren't working hard because they were lazy. (Location 1581) * The size of the community, the first condition, is fairly intuitive. Knowledge, unlike information, is a human characteristic; there can be information no one knows, but there can't be knowledge no one knows. A particular bit of knowledge lives only in minds capable of understanding it. The community that can understand the lyrics to "Happy Birthday" is much larger than the community that can understand Sanskrit poetry. (Location 1794) * those bits of knowledge. The second condition that affects combinability is the cost of sharing knowledge. Anything that lowers the cost of transmitting knowledge can increase the pool of knowers. When the printing press lowered the cost of both making and owning books, it hugely increased the number of people who could read any given book, and the number of books a literate citizen could read in a lifetime. (Location 1799) * Foray's third condition for combinability is clarity of the knowledge shared. We communicate instructions about cooking in recipe form for a reason: by listing ingredients and ordering instructions in steps, a recipe is clearer than a purely narrative description of how to cook a dish. A rambling description might have the same informational content as a recipe, but the form of a recipe is clearer. As a result, once any field of endeavor acquires something like a recipe—a set of instructions for an activity, separable from the activity itself—it can circulate much more effectively among people who can understand it. (Location 1807) * Eric von Hippel, the scholar of user-driven innovation quoted in Chapter 4, studied a kite-sailing community called Zeroprestige, which designed kites using 3D rendering software. (Location 1815) * These three conditions—community, cost, and clarity—aren't enough, however, as we know from the Invisible College. Foray's fourth condition is culture, a community's set of shared assumptions about how it should go about its work, and about its members' relations with one another. To really take advantage of combinability, in other words, a group has to do more than understand the things its members care about. (Location 1824) * Note: belief in imagined entities * in a group of 146, that someone was freeloading, taking advantage of the shared creation of value without offering much in return. Indeed, many online collaborations, whether study groups or open source software or user-created collections of media, are free-rider tolerant, in which small, highly involved groups of people co-create something valuable for a much larger group of people who take advantage of it. Such free-rider-tolerant systems can be tremendously valuable, but they are often a lousy fit for education. (Location 1890) * The second weakness in the brain surgeon analogy is that it invites the hearer to assume that we should always go with a professional over an amateur. But curiously, no one believes this proposition, not even the people fretting about Wikipedia-trained brain surgeons. (Location 1965) * Bio wondered whether he should analyze the situation as a collection of individuals taking action, or as a coordinated group. He couldn't resolve the question, and he ultimately decided that unresolvability was the answer. To the question "Are groups of people best thought of as aggregations of individuals or as a cohesive unit?" his answer was that we are, as a species, "hopelessly committed to both." (Location 2066) * Hitchhiking was also integral to the message of the piece—as the artists said on their site documenting the project, "Hitchhiking is choosing to have faith in other human beings, and man, like a small god, rewards those who have faith in him." (Location 2120) * Both CouchSurfing.com and the Association of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women offer ways of mitigating the specific dangers women face, but they do it in different ways. CouchSurfing is a kind of communal resource, combining individual responses into a market for surfers and surfees; its value is mainly enjoyed by its participants (and the risks are largely mitigated by its participants as well). Susan's association, by contrast, was a civic intervention, designed to make India safer not just for the women who mailed the chaddis but for all women who want to be free of the threat posed by Sri Ram Sene. The differing methods and results of these two groups illustrate ways that voluntary participation can change society. (Location 2167) * Increases in personal satisfaction, though, are not all that's at stake. In terms of social, as opposed to individual, value, we care a lot about how our cognitive surplus gets used. Participating in Ushahidi creates more value for society than participating in ICanHasCheezburger; making and sharing open source software creates value for more people than making and sharing Harry Potter fan fiction. The value from Ushahidi or open source software is more than the sum of the personal satisfactions of the participants; nonparticipants also derive value from the effort. You can think of this scale of value as rising from personal to communal to public to civic. (Location 2177) * Neither perfect individual freedom nor perfect social control is optimal (Ayn Rand and Vladimir Lenin both overshot the mark), (Location 2234) * An indulgence, in Catholic theology, is a way to reduce the amount of time a person spends in purgatory for sins that have already been forgiven. Sinning, Catholics believe, runs up the time you have to wait after death to get into heaven. Indulgences are a way to reduce that wait, and the way you get an indulgence is to make a donation to the Church. The practice was viewed with suspicion in some theological quarters as an exchange of value that veered dangerously close to a purchase, but so long as the exchange of indulgences for donations was allowed, the desire to both issue (Location 2341) * "indulgence inflation"—further evidence that abundance can be harder for a society to deal with than scarcity. (Location 2363) * Abraham Lincoln's address commemorating the Battle of Gettysburg, a marvel of clarity and brevity, famously begins "Four score and seven years ago." This construction was archaic even then, but it was clearly in keeping with Lincoln's design for the speech. (Location 2598) * was having dinner with a group of friends, talking about our kids, and one of them told a story about watching a DVD with his four-year-old daughter. In the middle of the movie, apropos of nothing, she jumped up off the couch and ran around behind the screen. My friend thought she wanted to see if the people in the movie were really back there. But that wasn't what she was up to. She started rooting around in the cables behind the screen. Her dad asked, "What you doing?" And she stuck her head out from behind the screen and said, "Looking for the mouse." Here's something four-year-olds know: a screen without a mouse is missing something. Here's something else they know: media that's targeted at you but doesn't include you may not be worth sitting still for. Those things make me believe that the kind of participation we're seeing today, in a relative handful of examples, is going to spread everywhere and to become the backbone of assumptions about how our culture should work. Four-year-olds, old enough to start absorbing the culture they live in but with little awareness of its antecedents, will not have to waste their time later trying to unlearn the lessons of a childhood spent watching Gilligan's Island. They will just assume that media includes the possibilities of consuming, producing, and sharing side by side, and that those possibilities are open to everyone. How else would you do it? (Location 2668) * 142 a kite-sailing community called Zero Prestige: Eric von Hippel, Democratizing Innovation (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005): 103-25. (Location 2974) * Clay Shirky teaches at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University, where he researches the interrelated effects of our social and technological networks. He has consulted with a variety of groups working on network design, including Nokia, the BBC, NewsCorp, Microsoft, BP, Global Business Network, the Library of Congress, the U.S. Navy, and Lego. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Times (London), Harvard Business Review, Business 2.0, and Wired. (Location 3395) # Cognitive Surplus ![rw-book-cover](https://is3-ssl.mzstatic.com/image/thumb/Publication/b0/c1/86/mzi.foclfhrq.jpg/1400x0w.jpg) ## Metadata - Author: [[Clay Shirky]] - Full Title: Cognitive Surplus - Category: #books ## Highlights - brisk business renting straw pallets by the hour (Location 53) - Toxicologists like to say “The dose makes the poison”; both alcohol and caffeine are fine in moderation but fatal in excess. (Location 106) - The psychologists Jaye Derrick and Shira Gabriel of the University at Buffalo and Kurt Hugenberg of Miami University of Ohio concluded that people turn to favored programs when they are feeling lonely, and that they feel less lonely when they are viewing those programs. (Location 132) - Note: probably explains why we watch friends - Imagine treating the free time of the world’s educated citizenry as an aggregate, a kind of cognitive surplus. (Location 159) - Life in the developed world includes a lot of passive participation: at work we’re office drones, at home we’re couch potatoes. (Location 174) - As Kurt Vonnegut’s protagonist says at the close of The Sirens of Titan, “The worst thing that could possibly happen to anybody would be to not be used for anything by anybody.” (Location 376) - The great tension in media has always been that freedom and quality are conflicting goals. There have always been people willing to argue that an increase in freedom to publish isn’t worth the decrease in average quality; Martin Luther observed in 1569: “The multitude of books is a great evil. There is no measure of limit to this fever for writing; every one must be an author; some out of vanity, to acquire celebrity and raise up a name; others for the sake of mere gain.” Edgar Allan Poe commented in 1845: “The enormous multiplication of books in every branch of knowledge is one of the greatest evils of this age; since it presents one of the most serious obstacles to the acquisition of correct information by throwing in the reader’s way piles of lumber in which he must painfully grope for the scraps of useful lumber.” (Location 620) - Note: signal and noise - All media can now slide from one to the other. A book can stimulate public discussion in a thousand places at once. An e-mail conversation can be published by its participants. An essay intended for public consumption can anchor a private argument, parts of which later become public. (Location 739) - The writer Nicholas Carr has dubbed this pattern digital sharecropping, after the post- Civil War sharecroppers who worked the land but didn’t own it or the food they grew on it. With digital sharecropping, the platform owners get the money and the creators of the content don’t, a situation Carr regards as manifestly unfair. (Location 758) - occasionally letter writing (an act so laborious and rare that many a letter began with “Sorry I haven’t written in so long . . .”) (Location 809) - In psychological literature, experiments designed to illuminate voluntary engagement are called “free choice” tests—when someone has control over his actions, how likely is he to engage in a particular behavior? Deci’s Soma experiment found that payment for working with the puzzle depressed free choice for the same activity. Deci’s conclusion was that human motivation isn’t purely additive. Doing something because it interests you makes it a different kind of activity than doing it because you are reaping an external reward. The experiment substantiated (Location 934) - Philanthropies vary greatly in determining where their money goes: how much goes to actual recipients and how much for day-to-day operating expenses, including salaries for the people running the organization. The American Institute of Philanthropies gives a passing grade to philanthropies that use 40 percent of donated money for expenses while giving away 60 percent—not terrible, but not great. Philanthropies that limit their expenses to 15 percent and give away 85 percent are rated excellent. And what of Grobanites for Charity—how much of the money donated by their fellow fans do they take for expenses? Nothing. Zero percent. They draw no salary, and as much labor as possible is donated from Grobanites willing to invest time instead of (or as well as) money. Grobanites for Charity doesn’t just happen to be a labor of love; it is designed and incorporated as a labor of love. (Location 974) - The Grobanites for Charity site, on the other hand, doesn’t look like that at all. It looks like 1996 threw up, with all of the loopy touches that characterized web design in its early days—lists bulleted by hand-drawn hearts, and colored tabs showing the viewer the sections. It looks, in other words, as if it were done by amateurs, because it was done by amateurs, not just in the sense of “not professional,” but also in the original sense of the word amateur: someone who does something for the love of (Location 994) - Social forms of organization can affect even the most seemingly personal issues. Katherine Stone, a U.S. advocate for women suffering from anxiety disorders, noted the recent and rapid growth in postpartum support groups organizing via Meetup.com, a service that uses the internet to coordinate real-world meetings of the like-minded. Stone explained this rapid growth by saying, “Women going through postpartum depression . . . WANT AND NEED TO TALK to other women who are just like them. To share. To see they are not alone. To see they will get well.” The motivation to share is the driver; technology is just the enabler. (Location 1029) - Many other sites are dedicated to helping users donate time and expertise as well as money. NetSquared.org supports nongovernmental organizations working on global aid or development, Idealist.org helps people find opportunities for local community development, and Care2.com supports environmental initiatives. The microlender Kiva.org uses donations from individuals as capital for providing loans to people in the developing world. (Location 1068) - Amateurs are sometimes separated from professionals by skill, but always by motivation; the term itself derives from the Latin amare—“to love.” The essence of amateurism is intrinsic motivation: to be an amateur is to do something for the love of it. (Location 1077) - Japanese anime (animated cartoons) are often subtitled in English by networks of volunteer fans, in a process called fansubbing; fansubbing networks are small and global by nature, and different groups of fansubbers typically concentrate on particular anime shows or artists. Yahoo.com hosts a mailing list for sufferers from Crohn’s disease, providing a place for them to share their worries and observations; it has a few hundred active members, drawn from Europe, North America, and Asia. (Location 1109) - Digital folk art often takes the form of a mashup, the combination of existing materials into something new. (Lolcats is an example of a mashup: a person adds a caption to an existing picture.) (Location 1125) - The spread of digital hobbies hardly seems significant, in part because we’ve learned to regard amateur interests as faintly ridiculous, if not actively suspect. While I was growing up in the United States in the 1970s, I learned, without being explicitly told, that grown men who built model trains or women who created macramé were, in some unstated way, pathetic. Meanwhile it was perfectly acceptable to spend hours every day watching The Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch (a task I performed, as most of us did, as if it were my job). (Location 1133) - Social media also drives discovery costs through the floor: web access allows you to find other people who like building model trains and doing macramé, or designing paper airplanes, or dressing up as anime characters, or practicing jnana yoga, or knitting socks, or photographing pay phones, or cooking Catalan food, on and on, at any hour of the day or night, worldwide. (Location 1153) - In the 1990s, when anyone asked, Will older people adopt all this confusing new technology? the assumed answer was no, but that was the wrong answer, because it was the wrong question. The right question was, Will older people adopt new ways of communicating with friends and family? No one wants e-mail for itself, any more than anyone wants electricity for itself; rather, we want the things electricity enables. Similarly, we want the things e-mail enables—news from home, pictures of the kids, discussion, argument, flirtation, gossip, and all the mess of the human condition. The surprise behind those “Old people communicating with each other!” articles came from a focus on the technical means rather than on the social opportunities of that communication. (Location 1268) - As we have seen, the question, Why are all these people working for free? presupposes a theory of human action based mainly on personal and financial motivation: The sensible reason to do things is for money, so doing things for free requires a special explanation. Within that theoretical framing, there is no good reason why someone would upload their video to YouTube or edit a Wikipedia article. The problem here isn’t with the behaviors, it’s with the explanation. Once you stop asking why people do these things “for free” and just start asking why they are doing them, the whole range of intrinsic (and nonfinancial) motivation becomes part of the explanation. (Location 1281) - The Ultimatum Game is a two-person interaction. Imagine you and a stranger are the players, and you each have a role: your unknown partner is the proposer, and you are the responder. The game starts when the researcher gives your partner ten dollars, instructing her that she is to decide how she would like to split the money between the two of you. Once she proposes such a split, you cannot change it. The only say you have in the matter is to decide whether to accept or reject her offer. (Hence the game’s name.) If you accept, she gets to keep her proposed piece of the ten dollars, and you get the remainder. If you refuse, though, neither you nor she gets anything. Neoclassical economics predicts the outcome of this game quite clearly: she will propose keeping nine dollars for herself, offering you a dollar, and you will accept, because you will be a dollar better off than if you refuse. One dollar, however small it is relative to her share, is still more than nothing, and hence preferable to nothing. So the theory goes, but the game doesn’t run this way in practice. Instead, the proposer typically offers amounts between four and five dollars, which the responder generally accepts. When the proposer does offer lower amounts, the responder typically refuses, costing both the participants any reward. The lower the amount offered, the greater the likelihood of refusal. (Location 1363) - Note: More like chimpanzees in the lab - One of the few variations of the Ultimatum Game that does produce behavior in line with neoclassical predictions is when several responders compete to get a share of a single proposer’s cash and do so without communicating with one another. In this case, the proposer can get away with a nine-to-one split, because responders who don’t accept such a split get nothing. This is the game played as a market, in which the proposer captures the advantages of pure competition. (The splits shift to one-to-nine when many proposers compete for a transaction with a single responder.) The lesson here is that markets can work as advertised, but they have to be designed and implemented to defeat social coordination. (Location 1396) - People derive pleasure from punishing wrongdoing, even if it costs them time, energy, or money to do so. In the Ultimatum Game, responders punish skin-flint proposers by refusing the offered share of the money, but what they get in return is the satisfaction of knowing the proposer hasn’t gotten away with an unfair share. (Location 1405) - In his book Public Associations in Civil Life, he wrote: “In democratic countries, knowledge of how to combine is the mother of all other forms of knowledge; on its progress depends that of all the others.” Social production increasingly relies on de Tocqueville’s “knowledge of how to combine.” (Location 1436) - Ostrom has concentrated on how groups of people share the management of common property, such as groups of farmers who have to share water for irrigation, or fishermen who have to select locations for setting out their nets, a set of conditions usually called the tragedy of the commons. The condition of shared access to common resources is a tragedy because selfish actors can exhaust the resource they have access to, as with shepherds over-grazing sheep on a common green or farmers overirrigating from a shared source of water. (Location 1452) - Note: in terms of our utilisation of public resources in terms of land water air - This internalization relies on the finding demonstrated by the Ultimatum Game; namely that people in social circumstances will moderate their behavior to be less selfish. The social reduction of selfish impulses can be triggered easily. When a plate of doughnuts is set out in a common area, office workers will take fewer if there are paper cutouts of eyes nearby (thereby proving H. L. Mencken’s hypothesis, “Conscience is the little voice that tells you someone might be looking”). (Location 1464) - equality of access and freedom for unlimited use of Apache means that while people can (and do) make commercial versions of the code, most of the programmers working on it will work on the free version. Furthermore, because anyone can modify a version of Apache for his or her own private use, the license encourages a huge amount of experimentation, and the results of those experiments can end up being reintegrated into the main version. Low hurdles to participation make both research and the incorporation of results easier than for a commercially developed product. (Location 1493) - It runs so deep, in fact, that psychologists have a name for it: the fundamental attribution error. The fundamental attribution error is at work when we explain our own behavior in terms of the constraints on us (“I didn’t stop to help the stranded driver because I was late for work”) but attribute the same behavior in others to their character (“He didn’t stop to help the stranded driver because he’s selfish”). Similarly, we fell into the fundamental attribution error when we thought Gen Xers weren’t working hard because they were lazy. (Location 1581) - The size of the community, the first condition, is fairly intuitive. Knowledge, unlike information, is a human characteristic; there can be information no one knows, but there can’t be knowledge no one knows. A particular bit of knowledge lives only in minds capable of understanding it. The community that can understand the lyrics to “Happy Birthday” is much larger than the community that can understand Sanskrit poetry. (Location 1794) - those bits of knowledge. The second condition that affects combinability is the cost of sharing knowledge. Anything that lowers the cost of transmitting knowledge can increase the pool of knowers. When the printing press lowered the cost of both making and owning books, it hugely increased the number of people who could read any given book, and the number of books a literate citizen could read in a lifetime. (Location 1799) - Foray’s third condition for combinability is clarity of the knowledge shared. We communicate instructions about cooking in recipe form for a reason: by listing ingredients and ordering instructions in steps, a recipe is clearer than a purely narrative description of how to cook a dish. A rambling description might have the same informational content as a recipe, but the form of a recipe is clearer. As a result, once any field of endeavor acquires something like a recipe—a set of instructions for an activity, separable from the activity itself—it can circulate much more effectively among people who can understand it. (Location 1807) - Eric von Hippel, the scholar of user-driven innovation quoted in Chapter 4, studied a kite-sailing community called Zeroprestige, which designed kites using 3D rendering software. (Location 1815) - These three conditions—community, cost, and clarity—aren’t enough, however, as we know from the Invisible College. Foray’s fourth condition is culture, a community’s set of shared assumptions about how it should go about its work, and about its members’ relations with one another. To really take advantage of combinability, in other words, a group has to do more than understand the things its members care about. (Location 1824) - Note: belief in imagined entities - in a group of 146, that someone was freeloading, taking advantage of the shared creation of value without offering much in return. Indeed, many online collaborations, whether study groups or open source software or user-created collections of media, are free-rider tolerant, in which small, highly involved groups of people co-create something valuable for a much larger group of people who take advantage of it. Such free-rider-tolerant systems can be tremendously valuable, but they are often a lousy fit for education. (Location 1890) - The second weakness in the brain surgeon analogy is that it invites the hearer to assume that we should always go with a professional over an amateur. But curiously, no one believes this proposition, not even the people fretting about Wikipedia-trained brain surgeons. (Location 1965) - Bion wondered whether he should analyze the situation as a collection of individuals taking action, or as a coordinated group. He couldn’t resolve the question, and he ultimately decided that unresolvability was the answer. To the question “Are groups of people best thought of as aggregations of individuals or as a cohesive unit?” his answer was that we are, as a species, “hopelessly committed to both.” (Location 2066) - Hitchhiking was also integral to the message of the piece—as the artists said on their site documenting the project, “Hitchhiking is choosing to have faith in other human beings, and man, like a small god, rewards those who have faith in him.” (Location 2120) - Both CouchSurfing.com and the Association of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women offer ways of mitigating the specific dangers women face, but they do it in different ways. CouchSurfing is a kind of communal resource, combining individual responses into a market for surfers and surfees; its value is mainly enjoyed by its participants (and the risks are largely mitigated by its participants as well). Susan’s association, by contrast, was a civic intervention, designed to make India safer not just for the women who mailed the chaddis but for all women who want to be free of the threat posed by Sri Ram Sene. The differing methods and results of these two groups illustrate ways that voluntary participation can change society. (Location 2167) - Increases in personal satisfaction, though, are not all that’s at stake. In terms of social, as opposed to individual, value, we care a lot about how our cognitive surplus gets used. Participating in Ushahidi creates more value for society than participating in ICanHasCheezburger; making and sharing open source software creates value for more people than making and sharing Harry Potter fan fiction. The value from Ushahidi or open source software is more than the sum of the personal satisfactions of the participants; nonparticipants also derive value from the effort. You can think of this scale of value as rising from personal to communal to public to civic. (Location 2177) - Neither perfect individual freedom nor perfect social control is optimal (Ayn Rand and Vladimir Lenin both overshot the mark), (Location 2234) - An indulgence, in Catholic theology, is a way to reduce the amount of time a person spends in purgatory for sins that have already been forgiven. Sinning, Catholics believe, runs up the time you have to wait after death to get into heaven. Indulgences are a way to reduce that wait, and the way you get an indulgence is to make a donation to the Church. The practice was viewed with suspicion in some theological quarters as an exchange of value that veered dangerously close to a purchase, but so long as the exchange of indulgences for donations was allowed, the desire to both issue (Location 2341) - “indulgence inflation”—further evidence that abundance can be harder for a society to deal with than scarcity. (Location 2363) - Abraham Lincoln’s address commemorating the Battle of Gettysburg, a marvel of clarity and brevity, famously begins “Four score and seven years ago.” This construction was archaic even then, but it was clearly in keeping with Lincoln’s design for the speech. (Location 2598) - was having dinner with a group of friends, talking about our kids, and one of them told a story about watching a DVD with his four-year-old daughter. In the middle of the movie, apropos of nothing, she jumped up off the couch and ran around behind the screen. My friend thought she wanted to see if the people in the movie were really back there. But that wasn’t what she was up to. She started rooting around in the cables behind the screen. Her dad asked, “What you doing?” And she stuck her head out from behind the screen and said, “Looking for the mouse.” Here’s something four-year-olds know: a screen without a mouse is missing something. Here’s something else they know: media that’s targeted at you but doesn’t include you may not be worth sitting still for. Those things make me believe that the kind of participation we’re seeing today, in a relative handful of examples, is going to spread everywhere and to become the backbone of assumptions about how our culture should work. Four-year-olds, old enough to start absorbing the culture they live in but with little awareness of its antecedents, will not have to waste their time later trying to unlearn the lessons of a childhood spent watching Gilligan’s Island. They will just assume that media includes the possibilities of consuming, producing, and sharing side by side, and that those possibilities are open to everyone. How else would you do it? (Location 2668) - 142 a kite-sailing community called Zero Prestige: Eric von Hippel, Democratizing Innovation (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005): 103-25. (Location 2974) - Clay Shirky teaches at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University, where he researches the interrelated effects of our social and technological networks. He has consulted with a variety of groups working on network design, including Nokia, the BBC, NewsCorp, Microsoft, BP, Global Business Network, the Library of Congress, the U.S. Navy, and Lego. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Times (London), Harvard Business Review, Business 2.0, and Wired. (Location 3395)