In this informative keynote speech, author Clay Shirky introduces his concept of 'cognitive surplus,' and describes how it is improving relationships in society all over the world. Clay Shirky begins his discussion by talking about the emergence of crisis mapping in Kenya in 2008, when two programmers designed an open-source platform for citizens to alert other users about violence. Similar network systems have been used to track electrical fraud in Mexico, to clean up snow in Washington and to provide relief and updates concerning the earthquake in Haiti.
Clay Shirky attributes cognitive surplus as the reason why this small idea that originally emerged in Africa has been deployed all over the world. Shirky describes cognitive surplus as the ability of the world's populations to volunteer, collaborate and contribute to global projects using the Internet. As more and more individuals gain access to the Internet and become more willing to create and share information, the world becomes more informed and connected, creating a beneficial environment for everyone.