Editor’s note: ARGN is proud to bring coverage of the SXSW Interactive festival taking place this weekend. Staff reporter Dee Cook will be attending the event and sending us reports as she gets them. Check this site often for updates on SXSW and the connections to Alternate Reality Gaming as they happen.
James Surowiecki is a business columnist for The New Yorker and has also written a book entitled The Wisdom of Crowds. In his solo panel today at South by Southwest Interactive, he discussed why large groups of people are smart and why we should trust them.
According to Surowiecki, large groups of people are remarkably intelligent under the right conditions, and their potential has been greatly enhanced in the last decade from the rise of technology – most notably the widespread use of the internet. He gave several examples as proof: in a jellybean contest the crowd as a whole will do better than individuals; at a racetrack the odds very closely resemble a horse’s actual performance; when you search Google, relevant pages are usually closer to the top of the results listed. All of these things are brought about by collective intelligence. It is a mistake, he argues, to rely solely upon experts, who don’t have a good grasp of where their weaknesses and blind spots lie (with the exception of bridge players and weather men).