Does the web make us smarter?
• Linking together in turn lets us tap our cognitive surplus; our cognitive surplus is so enormous that diverting even a tiny fraction of time from consumption to participation can create enormous positive effects.
• Wikipedia took the idea of peer review and applied it to volunteers on a global scale, becoming the most important English reference work in less than 10 years. Ushahidi, the Kenyan crisis mapping tool invented in 2008, now aggregates citizen reports about crises the world over; PatientsLikeMe, a website designed to accelerate medical research by getting patients to publicly share their health information
• The Net, in fact, restores reading and writing as central activities in our culture.
• increased freedom to create throwaway material, as well as freedom to indulge in the experimentation that eventually makes the good new stuff possible.
• Though there are a lot of throwaway cultural artifacts, the issue is whether there are any ideas so good today that they will survive into the future; Several early uses of our cognitive surplus, like open source software, look like they will pass that test.
• Just as required education was a response to print, using the Internet well will require new cultural institutions as well so that we can integrate digital freedoms into society.