NECC: Opening Session (Live Blogging)

James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of the Crowds

Tap into collective intelligence

wisdom of the crowds + new tools = radical transformation

jellybean experiment- how many jellybeans in the jar?

  • no one person comes closer than the group guess
  • the more they do this as a group, individuals begin to get closer

Who wants to be a millionaire?

  • phone-a-friend
  • poll the audience (gets it right 91% of the time)

Racetrack example

  • prediction machine in action
  • look at odds- in the course of a season, crowd of betters can forecast the winners

Google- founders realized that there is a hidden talent beneath the surface

What does it take to make a crowd wise?

  • some way to group judgements (aggregate the information to get group decision)
  • diversity (the fundamental characteristic)-cognitively diverse in the way they approach and solve problems; best of the best group is out performed by the random group; other diversity (age, experience, culture, geography, discipline); less likely to make the same mistakes (homogeneous group: the more they talk, the dumber they become-echo chamber); appoint someone to become the devil’s advocate (originated in the catholic church)-cannot have the same person as the devil’s advocate all of the time
  • independence-want people to think for themselves; imitation works a lot of the time; have to get people to get beyond imitation; best group decisions come from conflict rather than consensus (differences of opinion can make us smarter-have a good fight; even if the answer is not your answer)

Technology allows more people to contribute and say what they really believe in their hearts.

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