According to media columnist Michael Wolff, the name Clay Shirky is "now uttered in technology circles with the kind of reverence with which left-wingers used to say, 'Herbert Marcuse'." Wolff is right. Shirky has emerged as a luminary of the new digital intelligentsia, a daringly eclectic thinker as comfortable discussing 15th-century publishing technology as he is making political sense of 21st-century social media.
In his 2008 book, "Here Comes Everybody," Shirky imagined a world without traditional economic or political organizations. Two years later and Shirky has a new book, "Cognitive Surplus," which imagines something even more daring -- a world without television. To celebrate the appearance of the revered futurist's latest volume, we're delighted to share a February discussion between Shirky, Barnes & Noble Review editor in chief James Mustich, and BNR contributor Andrew Keen. What follows is an edited transcript of their conversation about the future of the book, of the reader and the writer, and, most intriguingly, the future of intimacy.