I think our nature is to be active and engaged. I’ve never seen a 2-year-old or a 4-year-old who’s not active and engaged. That’s how we are out of the box. And if you begin with this presumption, you create much more open, flexible arrangements that almost inevitably lead to greater satisfaction for individuals and great innovation for organizations.

Television was a solitary activity that crowded out other forms of social connection. But the very nature of these new technologies fosters social connection—creating, contributing, sharing. When someone buys a TV, the number of consumers goes up by one, but the number of producers stays the same. When someone buys a computer or mobile phone, the number of consumers and producers both increase by one. This lets ordinary citizens, who’ve previously been locked out, pool their free time for activities they like and care about. So instead of that free time seeping away in front of the television set, the cognitive surplus is going to be poured into everything from goofy enterprises like lolcats, where people stick captions on cat photos, to serious political activities like, where people report human rights abuses.

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