Cognitive Surplus and the Coming Human Renaissance

Currently, the vast majority of human beings on the planet are stuck trying to fulfill base survival needs for themselves and their loved ones.  Being stuck in the bottom level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs renders them unable to contribute to society and the improvement of the human enterprise.  What happens, then, when improvements in technology make food, water, shelter and energy accessible to the billions without it? A human renaissance.

Cognitive Surplus

This is the premise of ‘Cognitive Surplus’ as coined by Clay Shirky in his book ‘Cognitive Surplus: How Technology Makes Consumers into Collaborators’.  While Shirky mainly focused on the increase of collaboration and creative output on the internet, the implications of his idea could be much bigger.

New Tech Breakthroughs Are Making Poverty Obsolete

Though most people still live in relative poverty with 80% living on less than $10 per day, humanity is on a trajectory of abundance. We are truly on the cusp of having the means to end hunger, homelessness, and energy scarcity.

The proliferation of hydroponic and aquaponic technologies are allowing food to be grown abundantly and with unmatched efficiency, even in places that don’t have arable land.  Advancements in vertical gardening and gardening automation are about to allow agriculture companies to grow exponentially more food per square foot. Thankfully, these advancements aren’t reserved for big corporations.  Open source, grass roots projects like Farmbot are poised to decentralize food production, bringing cheap, efficient, automated gardening to your backyard.

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