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
(The character –- a highly intelligent, geeky, successful video game designer –- posted his medical symptoms on the internet and offered $25,000 for a successful diagnosis. Then, mentioning “-wisdom of crowd”- based reasoning, concluded that the most frequent diagnosis appearing in emailed responses was likely correct. As the story turned out, the crowd-sourced diagnosis was incorrect. Instead, the correct diagnosis was submitted by series main character Greg House, working from home after quitting his job at the hospital. The “-wisdom of crowds”- element doesn’-t make it into the official episode summary.)
Although the crowd was wrong (the better to highlight how clever our main character is when, later, he provides the correct diagnosis), at least the basic “-wisdom of crowds”- logic illustrated in the episode was correct. As a fan of the show, I appreciate that it doesn’-t insult my intelligence by dressing up clever cons with misleading science-based patter.
On 9 September 2009, [British illusionist] Derren Brown conducted a live TV broadcast in which he suggested that he had successfully predicted the winning National Lottery numbers prior to them being drawn. During the broadcast a number of blank lottery balls were displayed on a glass stand in clear view of the camera, and after the lottery draw had been made, the balls were rotated to reveal the winning numbers. It was claimed by Derren Brown that the only other people in the studio were two camera operators, to avoid legal issues, and that the stunt had been authorised by Camelot, the National Lottery operators.
He claimed it was based on an old trick which tells how a crowd of people at a country fair accurately estimated the weight of an ox when their guesses were all averaged out. He gathered a panel of 24 people who wrote down their predictions after studying the last year’s worth of numbers. Then they added up all the guesses for each ball and divided it by 24 to get the average guess. On the first go they only got one number right, on the second attempt they managed three and on the third they guessed four. By the time of last week’s draw they had honed their technique to get six correct guesses, and these were the numbers shown on the Wednesday night programme. [Derren] Brown claims that the predictions were correct because of the “wisdom of the crowd” theory which suggests that a large group of people making average guesses will come up with the correct figure as an average of all their attempts. He also suggested that if the people were motivated by money, it may not work.
As instructed by Mike Linksvayer at the Creative Commons foundation, I have just voted “-YES“-. Please, if you have done at least 25 edits on Wikipedia, go there and vote “-YES”-. Please, blog about your vote, and make sure all your friends go voting on this issue too.