Wednesday, 14 August 2013

This week on Wisdom of the Individual

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Wisdom of the Individual

I was recently reading an essay by P.J. O’Rourke titled Individualism ‘R’ Us, and it made me realise that we must specify a rather important point.
Here at we speak often and highly of the so-called “wisdom of crowds”: the opinions of many people will be closer to the truth than the one opinion of a single “expert”. The important thing to note here is the plural use of “opinions”. In other words, the accumulation of many individual opinions, made independently of one another. This is the opposite of a single collectivised opinion. Otherwise, as O’Rourke says, “the system that elected the prom queen at your high school is in charge of your whole life”.
So to use the wisdom of crowds, you have to ensure each individual is not aware of, or influenced by, the decisions, thoughts and guesses of the other individuals involved.

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