Directv has a new moto. “It will change your life”. I assume they mean in a good way, but research would probably say differently. At least about tv in general. A local radio morning show was talking about a study that found that people who watch more than four hours of tv a day were more likely to die of any cause. I really began to understand the difference between causation and correlation when I read the book Freakonomics. It is easy to think that something is the cause just because two things happen at the same time. It could simply be that people who are dying watch a lot of tv because they are unhealthy and can’t do much else. Or, as the DJ’s I heard this morning assumed, maybe sitting on the couch watching tv is a primary cause of our unhealthiness. Seth Godin claims that he doesn’t watch tv, or go to meetings. I don’t know if I could take it that far, but image all the time it would free up! Clay Shirky helped to quantify the collective amount of time we spend vegging out in front of the tube and even used Wikipedia as a unit. Are we beginning to learn better ways of spending our cognitive surplus? We may be witnessing a revolution, but TV is still a sacred part of American culture. A co-worker of mine got a surprise bonus, and his first thought was “big screen”! The first caller on the radio show asked, “what else are we supposed to do?”. Most adults grew up watching tv. Most of us never dreamed of today’s toys. New gadgets like the iPab continue to blur the line between fun and functional. Digital media is highly portable and very easy to share. As Mark Cuban wrote that “the IPad will change how kids grow up”. Entertainment is becoming interactive. Finding music videos on youtube and sharing them with your friends on Facebook must require a little more brain activity than sitting on the couch watching Lost. It certainly doesn’t require much more physical activity, so it may not do much for our health, but it just might do wonders for our society. As future generations grow up using interactive technology they may spend their time creating and collaborating rather that sitting and watching. Today’s kids use Facebook to talk about not wanting to do their homework or the cute boy in science class, but they also use it to have meaningful discussions about the tragedy in Haiti. There is tremendous power in the collaboration of human minds. My children will be “connected” by default and will simply expect to be able to exchange ideas and information worldwide at will. Anytime, anywhere. The real question isn’t where whill they find the time, but what will they create?