I don’t always agree with Clay Shirkey, but he’s always entertaining, and his recent post (taken from an address at the Web 2.0 conference) is no exception, as he compares the role of gin during the industrial revolution to that of the sitcom in modern society (i’d throw in reality shows as a recent addition), and riffs on the question a TV interviewer asked him in response to his description of the exciting things happening in collective intelligence projects like Wikipedia, namely, “Where do people find the time?”

The critical factoids:

  • the estimated number of human hours of thought that have gone into Wikipedia: 100 million
  • the estimated number of hours spent watching television: “Two hundred billion hours, in the U.S. alone, every year. “
  • the simple math: “that’s 2,000 Wikipedia projects a year spent watching television.”

Wow.