human computation social computing crowdsourcing wisdom of crowds (e.g., prediction markets) group memory and problem-solving deliberative democracy animal collective behavior mechanism design organizational design public policy design ethics of collective intelligence (e.g., “-digital sweatshops”-) computational models of group search and optimization emergence of intelligence new technologies for making groups smarter
I don’t think Cowen failed to appreciate these points, but explaining the rate-of-change in productivity, mean income, asset returns, etc. in terms of a technological slowdown is still mainly a “story” that we are telling ourselves. We could also tell a story in terms of demographic structure and population growth. Both narratives are plausible, but difficult to show rigorously. Regardless of how we try to explain what has happened, it is uncontroversial that it is becoming harder to retire, and that fact has a large bearing on quality of life. It is difficult to quantify the gains from radio to television to color TV to Youtube on IPhone (where one might take pleasure in watching cigarette commercials from the ’60s and ’70s), but having to work or not seems a lot more straightforward, and stagnation on that front is more tangible. Of course, you will probably live longer in retirement, but can you afford that longevity? That is the more concrete issue here.
How do we know, now, that Intrade’-s market price was not an accurate estimate of the probability bin Laden was killed or captured by September 2011? Is an prior estimate of 50 percent likelihood that a tossed coin will come up heads wrong if the coin comes up as “-100 percent”- heads (and not half-heads and half-tails)?
I’-m not buying Chris’-s implied definition of success and failure.
However, one might ask Robin Hanson about what the Intrade market’-s performance implies about the usefulness of his Policy Analysis Market idea.
Note that I was contrasting the InTrade-Bin-Laden failure with the high expectations set by Robin Hanson, Justin Wolfers and James Surowiecki.
Also, other than statisticians, most people don’-t have a probabilistic approach of InTrade’-s predictions. That’-s the big misunderstanding, which is one part of the big fail of the prediction markets.