August 17, 2004
Now Reading: Wisdom of Crowds
Everyone else was doing it, so I downloaded the audiobook of James Surowiecki’s The Wisdom of Crowds. (I’m finding audiobooks are able to hold my attention on the train commute… it’s like reading… with your eyes closed…) My favorite part so far:
“… the best way for a group to be smart, is for each person in it to think and act as independently as possible.”
The basic premise is that when the knowledge of individuals is aggregrated (without discussion/interaction) through a system such as a market, wagering, etc., the collective conclusion is generally as accurate — or more so — than the best individual answer. See the Iowa Electronic Markets for a classic example of how this is being used to predict the outcome of elections.
I’ll update as I go along…