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Is there actually any wisdom displayed by the crowd? Or is it just the latest pet term to describe quantifiable results from chaos? .

Wisdom of the Crowd? Is the crowd capable of showing wisdom in literal terms or is the end result a chaotic decision that superficially resembles wisdom.


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  • Jun 15 2012: Structure is the key and it goes both ways.

    An absence of structure turns any abstract form of collaboration into a chaotic mess from which, if you're lucky, you'll see a dictatorship rise and give some form of direction and order.

    Too much structure and you kill creativity, innovation and adaptation. You create a static function which eventually becomes redundant. Think of it like a circuit board which is made of people.

    Even if you hit some Goldilocks balance of structure, you still need to have the right kind of structure. If you don't have the right people in the right place doing the right thing, you lose efficiency.

    This is an abstract concept which effects things as small and temporary as a business meeting and as large and permanent as a nations government.
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      Jun 15 2012: it is interesting that when you talk about structure, you immediately imagine some creating the structure. but in reality, structure emerges naturally in suitable systems, like biological systems or societies. too much or not enough structure can be either temporary or artificially maintained only. the natural state of things is to have just the right amount of structure, or tend toward it. we don't need to manage it.
      • Jun 15 2012: The reason I naturally think of structure as being created rather than naturally forming is because I'm a application developer and applications which I develop are structures which bring order to collaboration.

        You are right though, organisational structures often form and evolve naturally and without a single conscious intent or control.

        That isn't always the case. For better or worse we sometimes find ourselves in a unique position to influence the organisational structure of society. Judges do this when they make interpretative decisions about the implementation of law. Politicians do this when they vote on policy changes.

        Perhaps the most dramatic expression is when you have an overthrown dictator. The population has an opportunity to influence the organisational structure of their nation.

        You probably could argue that a natural evolution is preferable to a consciously designed structure but I don't believe that is universally the case.
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          Jun 15 2012: overthrown dictator is a perfect example of natural order replacing artificial order. it is a good thing in general.

          the opposite would be the rise of a dictator. not a good thing.

          i claim that the more we look, the less appealing artificial order becomes.
        • Jun 15 2012: I would say the rise of a dictator is the natural order. The primitive (natural, if you will) side of human society relates more to the animal kingdom, where "dictatorship" is the normal (again, if you will, natural) order.
          Saying that the rise of an dictator is artificial order, I'm strongly opposed to that belief. Because humans are able to diverge from natural order and replace it with something artificial, we are different from animals.
          Artificial order is what keeps human society and International Relations stable and going, without it we'd be hunting elephants again.
      • Jun 16 2012: Perhaps a better example would be the founding of a nation. The drafting of a bill of rights and a constitution.

        In such an instance you have a small group of people making decisions about how to structure the nation.

        Granted, it's not a single persons will but I think it's hard to look at such an event as a natural evolution.
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          Jun 16 2012: i don!t think nations are created that way. nation exists before some leader, who happen to be exist at the time, come together and discuss things. it is just a small step in the evolution of a nation. or a small step in an history of artificial rulership imposed on that nation.

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