Clay Shirky’s lucid and penetrating analysis will steer us through the online social explosion and ask what happens when people are given the tools to do things together, without needing traditional organisational structures.

Clay Shirky is one of the new culture’s wisest observers. He will argue that the dramatic improvement in our social tools makes our control over them much like steering a kayak; we are being pushed rapidly down a route largely determined by the technological environment. We have a small degree of control over the spread of these tools, but that control does not extend to being able to reverse, stop, or even radically alter the direction we’re moving in. The question now is therefore not whether the spread of these social tools is good or bad, but rather what the impact will be, for better or for worse.

Places are free and open to all but advance booking is recommended.

Book online at or email [email protected]

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Added by RSAEvents on March 4, 2008



There is a full and annotated write-up by Kevin Anderson on Strange Attractor. Lee Bryant of Headshift has written a comprehensive summary of the event: Boring technology can become socially interesting. See David Wilcox's notes and video clip. The event was filmed for the RSA's new online initiative ‘Vision’, and a link to this will be added when the film is available. Meanwhile, an audiocast of the full lecture and Q&A session has been posted.