Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wisdom of the Crowd

Friend and fellow blogger Justin Wehr (recently outed as Justin Landwehr) conducted an interesting survey among his readers to test the wisdom of the crowd theory. In its simplest form, the idea theory suggests that groups of individuals combined opinions are better than a person alone. His results are here. Of the 8 questions asked, none of them had more people right than the rest of the crowd. I've once tested this same theory before in my classes with an informal poll on how much I weigh. The results were similar. This helps explain why Wikipedia is so accurate, why blogging comments are so important, and most of all, why the market's predicting power is so strong. Also, the limits of crowd wisdom show us why voter bias makes democracy a dangerously flawed system.

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You are the reason why I do not write privately. I would love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree or not.