Monday, January 14, 2008

Collective wisdom

Since James Surowiecki published his book The Wisdom of Crowds activities and sites focussed on the idea of collective wisdom have mushroomed.

Here a few links on pratical sites on collective wisdom:

There are times when crowds can get it all wrong; key criteria that separate wise crowds from irrational ones are:
  • Diversity of opinion. Each person should have private information even if it's just an eccentric interpretation of the known facts.

  • Independence. People's opinions aren't determined by the opinions of those around them.

  • Decentralization. People are able to specialize and draw on local knowledge.

  • Aggregation. Some mechanism exists for turning private judgments into a collective decision.

Certainly an idea to let Africans speak on their own development needs. With mobile phones and the Internet, diversity, independence and decentralised inputs should not be so much of a (conceptual) problem.

It seems as if the trick will be to find a reasonable way of aggregation.

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