Productive Uses

June 6, 2012 — Leave a comment

As a Breaker I had the privilege of  hearing five visionaries speak about Civil Engagement and society last week at TED’s offices in NYC. It was an amazing night, and has laid the foundation for what I expect will be an amazing project.

One of the visionaries, Clay Shirky, told us something that blew me away:

  •  Wikipedia, the largest online reference tool, took 100 million hours of human thought to build and update
  • Americans spend 200 billion hours a year watching television

Think about that for a moment, Wikipedia is paramount to the amount of time we watch commercials on the weekend. There is an enormous amount of intellectual capacity which is not utilized every year. My background in economics leads me to think about this huge inefficiency in our economy, and I wonder what improvements could be made to our world if people turned off their televisions.

I’m not asking you to swear off television, but I urge you to consider your motives the next time you sit down to watch a sitcom. Is there a project you can’t seem to make time for? A loved one you don’t get to see as often as you’d like?