Updated: 5/16/2006; 4:19:17 PM.

Digital Development
Communications and info tech in developing countries, especially wireless broadband and high-value applications


daily link  Monday, August 16, 2004


The Wisdom of Crowds: A popular new book sheds light on the earlier post about Open Production.  The publisher's notes provides an outline; the Amazon reader's comments are interesting, not least in noting examples (like intelligence failures -- reminding me of the movement to open source intelligence).  "While our culture generally trusts experts and distrusts the wisdom of the masses, Surowiecki argues that "under the right circumstances, groups are remarkably intelligent, and are often smarter than the smartest people in them." To support this almost counterintuitive proposition, Surowiecki explores problems involving cognition (we're all trying to identify a correct answer), coordination (we need to synchronize our individual activities with others) and cooperation (we have to act together despite our self-interest). His rubric, then, covers a range of problems, including driving in traffic, competing on TV game shows, maximizing stock market performance, voting for political candidates, navigating busy sidewalks, tracking SARS and designing Internet search engines like Google. If four basic conditions are met, a crowd's "collective intelligence" will produce better outcomes than a small group of experts, Surowiecki says, even if members of the crowd don't know all the facts or choose, individually, to act irrationally. "Wise crowds" need (1) diversity of opinion; (2) independence of members from one another; (3) decentralization; and (4) a good method for aggregating opinions. The diversity brings in different information; independence keeps people from being swayed by a single opinion leader; people's errors balance each other out; and including all opinions guarantees that the results are "smarter" than if a single expert had been in charge."  5:18:54 PM  permalink  

The Cgnet Story: A Case Study of International Computer Networking: How cool: Our 1994 book is actively traded on second-hand book sites.  Under $6...  7:37:40 AM  permalink  

 
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Copyright 2006 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 5/16/2006; 4:19:17 PM.