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James Surowiecki The Wisdom Of Crowds Epub Download _BEST_



I am speaking here in broad and fairly abstract terms. Certain smaller crowds, or influential subgroups within crowds, will doubtless prove quite effective at expressing their collective will and achieving results. And conversely, some of those who establish crowd spaces and cultivate crowds may decide to foster collective action instead of chasing wisdom or productivity. They may decide that the value of an empowered collective outweighs the need to beat the experts and underbid the outsourcing subcontractors. However, I expect such projects will prove few and far between, given the strong financial incentive to do otherwise. The market for crowd production will continue to pursue the platonic ideal of an infallible, hyper-efficient, diverse, independent, decentralized crowd. When this happens we must recognize that the same things that make a crowd strong can also make it weak.




james surowiecki the wisdom of crowds epub download



Commentators describe the phenomenal capacity of crowds in various ways, including \u201Cwisdom\u201D (Surowiecki, 2004), \u201Cwealth\u201D (Benkler, 2006), and \u201Csurplus\u201D (Shirky, 2010). It\n boils down to the simple and perhaps self-evident premise that, in the right circumstances, we can get something more or better by sending \u201Cthe crowd\u201D to do what we would\n otherwise trust to the state, private enterprise, or individual agents. Yet I find myself wondering whether we spend too much time focusing on the strength of crowds, their\n ability to cohere, innovate, collaborate, and self-police. Crowds can be incredibly effective in building encyclopedias, developing products, processing data, constructing\n communities, entertaining themselves and others, and \u2013 in some cases \u2013 influencing powerful institutions. But we must be careful to avoid confusing the output of a crowd\n project with the individuals and groups that bring it into being. I would suggest that the very attributes that make crowd members so effective at producing also\n discourage them from engaging in collective action to protect and empower themselves.


In The Wisdom of Crowds, James Surowiecki identified three factors that make a crowd \u201Cwise\u201D: diversity of opinion, independence, and decentralization (Surowiecki,\n 2004). In this case, \u201Cwisdom\u201D refers to the ability of the crowd to outperform experts in solving various kinds of problems. At the core of Surowiecki\u2019s argument lies the\n presumption that crowds become wiser the more their members behave as individuals. If you need a problem solved, don\u2019t get an expert or build a bureaucracy.\u00A0 Instead, use\n a wise crowd to aggregate individual judgments and actions into some whole that will be better than the sum of its parts. You get the all the benefits while avoiding the costs\n and distortions of centralized authority, and the pitfalls of groupthink, bandwagoning, and information cascades. In Surowiecki\u2019s ideal crowd, no one is too influenced by\n anyone else, too similar, or too connected. Those concerned about the potential for solidarity within the crowd should begin to see some red flags here.


Wisdom, or problem solving, is not the only thing we want from crowds. Where productivity is paramount, the wisdom of crowds takes a back seat to their volume and\n efficiency. Volume allows crowds to produce and process more information, more quickly. Where crowd members are sufficiently independent and diverse, per Surowiecki, a large\n crowd may also function to smooth out statistical anomalies. However, a crucial element of the voluminous and productive crowd, one that cannot be overstated, is fungibility.\n In order for a crowd to function as a crowd, rather than a large and unwieldy remote workforce, its members must be interchangeable. Fungibility plays the most prominent role\n in microtask crowd labor models, such as Amazon\u2019s Mechanical Turk, where large projects are broken down into many small pieces to be performed by any member of a sufficiently\n large crowd. But a certain amount of fungibility is present in every crowd endeavor, in the sense that productive crowds do not and cannot depend on the contributions of any\n particular member.


I am speaking here in broad and fairly abstract terms. Certain smaller crowds, or influential subgroups within crowds, will doubtless prove quite effective at expressing\n their collective will and achieving results. And conversely, some of those who establish crowd spaces and cultivate crowds may decide to foster collective action instead of\n chasing wisdom or productivity. They may decide that the value of an empowered collective outweighs the need to beat the experts and underbid the outsourcing subcontractors.\n However, I expect such projects will prove few and far between, given the strong financial incentive to do otherwise. The market for crowd production will continue to pursue\n the platonic ideal of an infallible, hyper-efficient, diverse, independent, decentralized crowd. When this happens we must recognize that the same things that make a crowd\n strong can also make it weak.


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