Aug 12, 2005

Wisdom of the crowds, not?

A friend of mine pokes some holes in the examples given in the book

“an attempt BY THE AUTHOR to appear academically serious”
e.g. the first example he starts with is itself wrong… he cannot take the mean as a valid measure in this case. It’s a fortunate case, that’s all. The median / mode (most ideal choice) would be better…

then, the “Bay of Pigs” example… the Kennedy administration was for a very long time AGAINST the Bay of Pigs invasion.. in fact, it was a CIA project, so putting it the way the author has put it is quite inaccurate, a twisting of fact.

Others too..
e.g. the Behavioral economics experiment. The outcome of the experiment is NOT at 50%, ESPECIALLY AT HIGHER AMOUNTS, and it certainly deviates once the amounts increase. You can read more about this set of experiments on the psychology section of

The author brings up valid points about “group-think” but that has all been stated before, and besides is not the basic aim of the article. And also for collective, disaggregated opinion combining to form wisdom, but there’s nothing new the author adds. In the end his article seems largely an attempt by someone to cobble together some various examples for an “academic looking” book!