Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The dumbness of crowds #UoLTUG

At #UoLTUG yesterday, I banged on about James Surowiecki’s 2004 book, The Wisdom of Crowds. According to Surowiecki, key criteria separate wise crowds from irrational ones:
  • Diversity of opinion (that's where noise-filtering tools like Flipboard and Zite come in)
  • Independence
  • Decentralization
  • Aggregation
If these criteria are not met, it can all go horribly wrong: 

Another way of saying this: the social media echo chamber is a dangerous place, tricking you into thinking things are happening when they're not.



  1. Thanks for this, Alan, and for your talk at UoLTUG yesterday -- I got a lot of great ideas for filtering all the stuff and people I follow on various platforms.

    On the wisdom or dumbness of crowds, I wonder if you've heard of The Cosmonaut -- a Creative Commons film being created by collaboration and crowdfunded -- anyone can donate at least 2 euros and get his/her name on the list of producers (over 3000 producers already)...

    It sounds such an interesting idea, I hope it will turn out to be an example of the wisdom of crowds:

  2. Oh, published under was my SPIDER account --
    I'm Terese Bird btw:-)

  3. There are quite a few crowdfunding projects around at the moment - sure sign of a bubble! ;-)

  4. So your "You're all miserable gits" post was actually an attempt to improve your cognitive abilities? Cunning!

  5. Dumb by default. Planned genius ;-)