Wisdom of crowds in popular culture, again

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&#8220-The wisdom of crowds&#8221- has apparently seeped a bit into popular culture, or at least the geekier end of it.

On the heels of British illusionist Derren Brown&#8217-s invoking of &#8220-the wisdom of crowds&#8221- as a (false) part of his explanation of how he appeared to predict winning lottery numbers, last night a character in the American TV show House invoked the wisdom of crowds as part of an explanation for how he obtained a diagnosis of his medical condition.

(The character &#8211- a highly intelligent, geeky, successful video game designer &#8211- posted his medical symptoms on the internet and offered $25,000 for a successful diagnosis. Then, mentioning &#8220-wisdom of crowd&#8221- 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 &#8220-wisdom of crowds&#8221- element doesn&#8217-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 &#8220-wisdom of crowds&#8221- logic illustrated in the episode was correct. As a fan of the show, I appreciate that it doesn&#8217-t insult my intelligence by dressing up clever cons with misleading science-based patter.

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