TED Conversations

Lior Zoref

Crowdsourcing advocate, @liorz


This conversation is closed.

Do you use crowd wisdom to think? Be part of creating the first ever crowd sourced TED talk

I'm about to speak at TED 2012 and present the first ever crowd-sourced TED talk :-)
I'm inviting you to be part of this process and create together my presentation.
Before asking for your help, here's my main idea:
Wisdom of Crowds theory exists for many years. The theory states that the collective wisdom of big crowds is smarter than experts as we solve problems or make decisions.
Until recently, the use of the wisdom of crowds was possible primarily for organizations that have invested resources in developing technological solutions that transformed crowd wisdom into products such as Wikipedia.
This means that anyone with enough social network friends can ask questions that will require them to think. The collective wisdom from all the answers is probably the smartest thing to do.
There are already a few people who are using this method. By doing so, they upgrade their ability to think and make decisions significantly.
That's it…
I'm creating my TED talk using crowd wisdom, your wisdom. It will be the first ever crowd sourced TED talk.
I hope that you'll join me in this journey and take part of this process.
I'm looking for exceptional individuals (not organizations) who are using their own social network profile in order to get crowd wisdom in a way that improves their personal or professional lives significantly.
I'll share their stories in my TED talk :-)
Here are a few areas of interest – musicians, educators, designers, spiritual leaders, marketing experts, people looking for relationships etc.
In addition, if you have interesting stories or ideas that might add value to this topic, I'll be happy if you share them with me.
You can join my journey and get more information at my blog http://liorz.co.il/blog
Looking forward to read your insights.
Thank you.


Closing Statement from Lior Zoref

Thank you for the amazing insights and feedback.

You can read the text of my talk here - http://www.ted.com/conversations/8326/the_first_ever_crowd_sourced_t.html

Thank you so much.

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    Nov 30 2011: Hello Lior,

    I love your idea and I can't wait to see the result.

    I believe the Open Translation Project (https://www.ted.com/OpenTranslationProject) is very close to what you describe (if I understand it correctly). We have this huge network of volunteer translators from around the world and we all contribute and collaborate to improve the quality of the subtitles and help spread TED ideas even further.
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      Nov 30 2011: Hi Dimitra,
      Yes and No. Yes because it's a perfect example of crowdsourcing to deal with the very difficult challnge of translations. And no because I'm looking for examples where it's being practiced for personal use. This means that regular people are using their own profile on social networks to think with others and gain crowd wisdom in the personal or professional life.
      Besides that, the open translation project is amazing. Keep on doing the good work!
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    Dec 3 2011: Education should be a 3 way system
    Student - Teacher - Market expert
    Simple logica tells me that many teachers never visit a business or company so they just only chew the letters in the books so the students eat them easy.! It should be able to sign up for teaching when a company can affort to work with 1 employee less for a certain time. Or someone who is goin to retire or maybe even have a depression. This can be good therapy too i think. Students should get more access to to knowledge and be able to discuss around the table with the teacher and market expert.

    If companies decide to make time for employees to help out with teaching they should get credits that can be used for advertising job vacancies : for example students who pass get tour and/or additional information.

    It's important that the reward is unfair high so the market will wake up and challenge. May the best win! Students who can't find a job can join too! People who got sick can join too! There should be a "flying army" of people around every class/school. Meshed up international perhaps or set up non-profit projects in holidays/weekends. To reach the people who would never go to study.

    Schools with high scores help the schools who do less good. This should be monitored and controlled and documented here is the science behind teaching. An army of students of any sector that can help joins. And will go step by step class by class school by school. The more work u do the less u pay for ur education, if pay more u can contact anyone who then will be rewarded. like this even the worst students are important, and they will get boosted.

    Get people to hunt just like in nature, addept to new situations, travel, explore, communicate, work together, protecting, playing, invest, harvest, observe, hunt to find weakness, love to find the good. All connected to the three elements given earlier : Student : Teacher : Market expert.

    The system should work like tax but then the tax are working hours.
    • Dec 5 2011: market expert is profit driven, but it has nothing to do with, for example happiness, that makes life worth living.. why not teacher - student - philosopher or - shrink?
  • Dec 2 2011: I work in the development aid sector and am currently based in Kampala, Uganda, as a young post-grad originally from Montreal, Canada.

    Crowdsourcing as a concept is the wave of the future in development work. ICT4D, or Information and Communication Technologies for Development, is already taking off in Africa. Developers have already produced applications that enable cheap, Java-based mobile phone users in major cities to upload and share current gas prices, for example, farmers to share health concerns and agricultural yields to better inform policy both from a governmental and NGO perspective, and the organisation I'm based at, the Uganda Red Cross, is designing a mobile phone survey with our donors to improve the incentive structure underpinning blood colleciton. These are just some of the solutions that are taking off, very much made possible by the exponential rise of mobile phone technology and the expanded reach it has provided.

    Most development workers will tell you that one of the problems with development organisations in the South is fragmentation; there are way too many organisations performing similar functions, with limited information sharing and collaboration between them, one of the reasons why such projects are slow to begin, difficult to implement, and often unsustainable over the long-term. For this reason, I wonder whether the wisdom of crowds theory is relevant not only in social networks, but also as an ideal to pursue within the professional sphere. Even going part of the way sometimes makes a huge impact. My home-based NGO, Pepal, for example, brings together the corporate sector, domestic NGOs, and academic participants to work on development projects together. As such, there is a huge skillset transfer as the partnerships flourish, and as the project takes off each actor gains input all the way down to their teams. The end result is a more refined project with the power of multiple actors.

    Good luck with the presentation!
  • Dec 1 2011: On the one hand: In the world of genealogical/family history research, we've been helping one another even before the interweb. Absolutely massive amounts of data from research, transcribed records, and contributed history-from individuals who have walked through their local graveyard and taken pictures of gravestones, transcribed old docmts, or participated in indexing the ENTIRE US Census -- all donating their time to collect and share millions of records, through free sources like Rootsweb, Findagrave and the USGenWeb projects. There's even a site for Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness, where a person can ask someone across the country to look something up for them that they can't access locally. In return, the "pass it forward" rule applies. Why? Because we are all related, if you just go back far enough. (Why? My study results from 2000, psych.fullerton.edu/genealogy/ )

    On the other hand, this new world of communication works very well for those who have adopted it and have been able to figure out how to maneuver in it. Not to be a buzz-kill, but I wonder about those of us who've fallen behind.

    My parents don't use any social media. Their network of friends is huge, based on years of face to face contact, letters, phone, emails. They use a "Google" search to look things up, and I doubt they've ever looked up a blog. I don't worry about them much, because they have the "old fashioned" network folks to rely on.

    What I worry about are slow adopters like myself, who are nervous about the loss of privacy, about the need for acceptance in a 140 character or less world. I worry that those of us who aren't smack in the middle of the crowd are being marginalized. If a person can't get a job interview because they don't have a presence online or don't have enough followers, does that mean their contributions are less worthy? Or on the purely statistical question - when do those of us who are outside the middle 2 standard deviations get a say? Crowd? A Little Scary
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      Dec 1 2011: Hi Pam,
      I totally agree with you. My parents use the web in a similar way to your parents.
      As for people our age (I'm 41), in the next few years we'll find the people who are using social networks to think with their friend, will be able to succeed much easier in life. It doesn't mean that others will not succeed but technology will give people more power. My insight is that social networks will evolve from a place for sharing into a place for thinking. Maybe then, more people will jump in.
  • Dec 1 2011: very cool!
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    Nov 30 2011: Honestly... I think you miss two major obstacles... One being that when you crowd source, you create an authoritarian figure. It's just like the basic nature of socialism, in the sense that, all wealth should be distributed among the workers, sounds like a decent idea. Someone has to count the productivity, and distribute the wealth, and that person always seems to live in a nice house. So my biggest question in relation to that obstacle, is who decided what argument took hold in the crowd sorce? Does someone get to say "ya, 20% of people just love that dumb idea, but if we included it, the model would collapse, so we can't use it" Or, even worse, to we include pieces of even the worst ideas if they have a consisten support base?

    Also, much like with crowd sourcing the news... now there is no such thing as news. Ted, is way closer to news than most media organizations. There's a billion percievers, but no reporters. No one who has experience watching polliticians and corporate giants lie. No one with the legal rights, and lawyers backing them up, to investigate major fraud and abuse. People can watch things, reporters investigate things. We may overcome this over time... but it's a tough road.
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      Dec 1 2011: Hi David,
      When practicing crowd wisdom, one should try to find out the collective wisdom from the crowd. Usually this comes when looking for the most common answers.
      When looking for creative idea, it's completely subjective but most of the time it's an objective process. At least this is how I leverage crowd wisdom.
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        Dec 1 2011: I think there is a large future, in crowdsourcing, I just think it is limited constantly by it's presenter, in this case you. You will try to represent the conversation in this crowd sourced TED talk, in an unbiased way, showing a collaboration of wisdom from the crowd... but, in being the person who is doing so, you are selecting which portions of the wisdom of the crowd enter the final presentation.

        So, ultimately the crowd has little control over how you choose to present the information obtained from it... And thus this will still, in essence, be your own personal TED talk. Having used your own bias and personal perspective to filter the results, whether intentionally, or unintentionally, you have created yourself as an entity that speaks for the crowds wisdom, and that is a responsibillity that one cannot enter into lightly. That's not to say that power of that kind cannot be wielded with integrity, it's just to say that maintaining that integrity will be difficult given that as a unique human being, you have a unique reaction to each piece of the discussion.

        It's something to guard against. And, crowdsourcing the news is just stupid : p. I know, most people disagree, but I'm a fan of developing investigative skills before you become a CNN investigative reporter... Call me old fashioned.
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          Dec 3 2011: Every decision we make is subjective to our own thoughts.
          When using crowd wisdom, this doesn't change. The decision is still subjective and based on the person who is managing the process. The big change is in the quality of wisdom that is taking place when considering the options.
          So you are right, I am biased and I will ultimately choose the ideas I think are best, but using this process I will probably have the best ideas I can possibly get to choose from.
        • Dec 5 2011: to break a leg, is it a good or a bad thing? it depends....... you can miss the dancing, but jou can avoid beeing called upon duty to srrve ina war......is it a good or bad thing ....it depends and so on. every topic can be explored from multiple sides and croud can help to reveal them all. what it is like to be a human.
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    Nov 30 2011: how interesting, i feel this will catch on
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    Nov 30 2011: I posted this to your Facebook, please excuse the repeat. So you know, currently I am a lecturer at CSULA and still have my side hobby of moderating the U2.com online community that I started doing as a graduate student.

    I use twitter, Facebook and also message boards, primarily the ones from U2.com of which I am the head moderator. We have thousands of members, and your comments about crow sourcing and using crowd wisdom are very familiar to me. For the last 10 years, I have seen the U2 fan community use this type of "wisdom". From personal problems, to financial to ad hoc support groups due to death, or disease.

    When Facebook facilitated the social networking aspect of these relationships, the connections became stronger. Some of these relationships have resulted in marriages,babies, and in some instances have allowed people to become stronger mentally and even get out of bad situations.

    This crowd of U2 fans is used by everyone in the group to bounce off ideas, and as you state it to improve their personal and professional lives. The group is quite large, several thousand, with a core group of about 1000 and geographically they are all over the world. We meet every year or so when u2 is not on tour, and at specific dates when they are.

    IF you are interested in learning more about this group or my experience with interacting with this group, or the U2 fan community overall (much much larger) or the smaller uberfan community just drop me a note. Heck, once we even helped find the runaway teenage daughter of one of the community members, she was from the south, and using contacts, she was found in NYC."
  • Nov 30 2011: i am the lead pastor of a church and we employed your 'crowd sourced' method for 9 weeks within the context of worship in delivering the primary teaching message for around 350 in attendance. in the religious world we refer to this as 'communal orthodoxy' and it serves the purpose of combining the wisdom, insight, and experience of all those in attendance. this method is set opposite from what we've labeled "speaching"( speaking + preaching), or trying to convey truth in an entertaining way.
    we found two surprising results in our use of this.
    one, younger people gravitated to the front thru our 9 weeks of experimenting with this. that says to me this is the future...or ancient past if we know our history, of teaching. two, the process of using communal orthodoxy to teach is equally if not more important than the end result.
    and a final bonus. it's difficult to weave all of the input into a coherent thread but it's so much fun.

    • Comment deleted

      • Nov 30 2011: we didn't use this method in the prayer part of the service. we used it in the actual forming of the truth from the teaching passage.

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      Nov 30 2011: Kal, this is very interesting and creative!
      I'd like to further learn about your experience and maybe integrate this story in my TED talk.
      Can you please send me an email?
      Thank you so much.
      • Nov 30 2011: i tried to send you an email with an enhanced version of what we did and it wouldn't send. my email address is kalfsu@gmail.com if you want to know more.

  • Nov 30 2011: As an educator I am frequently confronted with the struggling of American students with any project that looks like a group project. Students hate group projects and are taught to hate them from the manner in which we assess progress in our school system. We all know the drill: each group gets one control freak who takes over, one grind who dos the bulk of the real work (and they are not always the same person), two or three people who do what they are told, no more and no less, and at least one tailcoat rider who coasts.

    This crowdsourced TED talk is the ultimate group project. As life itself is a group project, what do we need to do to promote people's willingness to participate in and profit from group projects? (Even mentioning profit brings to mind the idea that w crowd does something wonderful and then some one takes the product and makes money from it - think Huffington Post)

    I think all of our current issues are found in the tensions that lie between the edges of the crowds, the tensions between the fringe groups, so how do we get the middle groups, the "I'll do the work but I better get a good grade" people to buy in to the ideas?
    How do we develop an educational system which fosters cooperation while rewarding innovation? How do we adequately reward the crowd? The collective wisdom is the end result, how do we reward the process?

    Life is a group project. How do we get at its benefits without sacrificing individualism?
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      Nov 30 2011: Hi Sharon,

      Thank you for your insights and questions. How do we reward the process? I think that's it's all about relationships. If we build strong relationship with others, they will get inspired by being part of this process.

      Do you want to give your students a group project about crowd wisdom that might be integrated in my talk?
      If you have ideas, let me know.

      Life indeed is a group project...

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      Nov 30 2011: Hi Sharon and Lior,
      You ask..."how do we reward the process?"
      I ask..."what if people believe that the process IS the reward"?
      I percieve life to be an adventurous exploration, so every moment of the process offers its own rewards and opportunities.

      People are looking for something (rewards) that are right in front of our noses in each and every moment.
      How do we do this? Be mindfully aware in the moment and stop searching outside our "self" for the rewards:>)

      "Remember that happiness is a way of travel, not a destination"
      (Roy M. Goodman)
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        Nov 30 2011: Hi Coleen,
        I couldn't have said it better!
        Thank you so much
      • Nov 30 2011: I couldn't agree more Colleen, but that is not what we are taught here. It is not the perspective from which students approach most learning processes. I despair some days of their utter focus on getting the grade. I cannot even get them to focus on learning for learnings' sake let alone taking it beyond the minimum demanded. (OF course there are ALWAYS exceptions and wonderful students who are a joy to teach.) More of my students now are working 30+ hours per week while attending college full time than any semester previously. Many are so focused on finishing they are not rpesent at school or at work. So that becomes part of my question: How do we begin the process of refiguring a group consciousness that values the journey anough to do group projects?
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          Nov 30 2011: Time to start teaching, learning and applying it huh? As I understand it, we are "doing" and "being" right here and now...are we not? We ARE the "crowd", and we are sharing our wisdom and creativity here and now. What we focus on expands. Let's start by modeling what we want to see? Be the change we want to see in our world. I like focusing on what we DO have, rather than what we DON"T have. It's good to be aware of both, and focus on the things that are working...like TED for example:>) Then we build on what is working, rather than spending time and energy with what we DON'T yet have. I believe this is the process of creativity that works best because it starts to flow:>)
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    Dec 29 2011: The latest crowd wisdom event is the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. The man who developed this event is from England and is involved in organizing demonstrations. The intent of the demonstration was to protest America's wealthy or as President Obama refered to them as the 1%. However, as the movement spread the resons for the protest became fuzzy. Signs and interviews covered issues like Illegal Aliens, homeless, wars, racial hatered, global warming, police states, socialized medicine, and much more. I found myself organizing a map of the US and plotting the issues geographically. The needs of one area has little relationship to the complaints of another area. The high welfare areas wanted socialized medicine and government housing. The Southwest wanted border control. California complained of a police state. Detriot stated racial bias. The media has the ability to show the issues they would like to highlight. However, the interviews revealed the local organizer had a cause they wanted highlighted. At little surprise to me, the unions entered the protest to support the political agenda against the 1%. Even though the movement was "Master Minded" to a specific agenda it failed in that mission. Using crowds, movements, polls, surveys, and mass media are tools for those who wish to manipulate the public. It is our choice to do the homework prior to adding our support to any cause. Always ask why and play it out to end game in terms of impact, cost, advantages, and disadvantages. Lior, I am being the Devils Advocate, and appreciate input from all sources. I was selected to attend a think tank years ago and it was a experince of a lifetime. Best of luck.
    • Dec 30 2011: Well, the OWS is not well-organized as a united whole, so parts of it would focus on different issues than the other parts.
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      Dec 30 2011: Hi Robert,
      Thank you for your feedback and insights.
      I come from Israel. Last summer a huge movement started by the crowd asking for social justice. It was well organized and its impact is big.
      I'm not an expert in civil protests and it's an interesting question to see what is the role of crowd wisdom in these events.
  • Dec 28 2011: On Friday, 12/23/2011, a nurse friend was killed. I found out, from another county at a distance, from a post. http://manhattanbeach.patch.com/articles/female-motorcyclist-dies-from-crash-injuries

    Then, a news article appeared about her sons' situation (her youngest is disabled, and the older one is in school full time). http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/ci_19617094

    Now we are starting fundraising to benefit her sons. I put the word out, and others have passed it on. The idea of using social media came from reading about your project. I'm hoping that it works well.
  • Dec 28 2011: I don´t think crowd wisdom like a universal true. I'm in the middle of that my own experience and scientific true. Despite, nowadays, there are a lot of liers, a lot of credulous. You must be cautious. It's my guess and I thank your attention.
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    Dec 28 2011: Being the subject of a lynch mob would probally be a bad thing. Agencies that provide polls for industry, politicians, products, X country has talent, dating services all use a collective system of opinions. A major university had attempted to isolate a specfic gene for years and finally put the model on the web and made it a game to find X. In three days a 14 year old boy solved the problem. Even though this was an appeal to crowd wisdom to refine the area of interest a conclusion was reached individually. We are under the impression that we, the people, elect a leader. we only select from the options provided. In effect we choose the lesser of two evils. If crowd wisdom was a reality we would have decision making from the ground up instead as we have it now from the top down. I once asked a man for whom he would support in the coming election. He stated Mr X. I asked why. He is already a millionare and would take less from the people that the other guy who aspired to become a millionare. All crowds have a different perspective and seek different goals. The truth is that most of the people in crowds do not know the facts and just digest what is fed to them. In the US most people believe what their party tells them even when confronted with facts. Many have tired of this party dogma and have become independents. That leads directly to the question do crowds have "wisdom" or just numbers. In the Europe has Talent Show Susan Boyle lost out to a rock band because the public (crowd) voted her into second place. I have since asked many people the name of the band that won. Not a single person could recall. I wrote it down and lost the note and cannot remember myself. However, the world knows Susan Boyle. Wisdom or numbers ......
    • Dec 29 2011: Well, crowds think more emotionally than logically compared to the individual and the individual thinks more logically than emotionally compared to crowds. Crowds do have power in numbers because that is the only way morals and ideas can spread to a range of people. Crowd wisdom is more of a filtered, focused way of obtaining ideas and can be described as a brain trust in a way. Of course, there can be problems with it, but, as means of obtaining quick, great ideas, crowd wisdom is useful in many ways.
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        Dec 29 2011: Zared, we it comes to thinking and decision making, emotions are often stronger than rational thinking. I like to term master-mind as an analogy for crowd wisdom.
        • Dec 30 2011: Yes, emotions are usually stronger then rational thinker because it often has passion in it. This does not mean it is a better idea, just a greater feel towards it.
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      Dec 29 2011: Robert, you make a good point.
      Crowds are not only right the same as experts make mistakes.

      Thanks for the insight.
  • Dec 23 2011: Great topic, Zoref. I am trying to use crowd wisdom to create a great idea. Join my conversation to find out more about it.

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    Dec 22 2011: Hi Lior,

    I am also amazed by how the collaboration of people, ideas, resource that make the world closer and more intellectual. Maybe you can put something like multicultural environment and people with diverse background may have some unique contribution to others. The interdependent relationship can enrich the content and areas of crowd wisdom. Like different theory or tradition in different culture or countries, etc. From the benefits to individuals, then to the community.
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      Dec 23 2011: Hi Si,
      This is an interesting idea.
      I'm asking a question at the beginning of my talk in which everyone can use their smart phones and answer.
      Maybe I should add something which relates to your idea.
      Thank you!
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        Dec 23 2011: :) That will be great!
        • Dec 24 2011: It has to be a board statement in order to have a large range of people to feel a relation with the statement and themselves.
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    Dec 21 2011: This is an incredible example of crowdsourcing:
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      Dec 21 2011: Hi Marsella,
      Thanks for sharing this web-site. It looks very impressive.
      But I am more interested in crowdsourcing for personal use. People who are using social networks to think together with others.
      Thank you.
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    Dec 19 2011: This conversation reminds me of two topics that my be helpful. One is a TED talk, Learning from the Barefoot Movement by Bunker Roy:
    The other is from a TED conversation I was reading about the topic Corporate Rebels. One person, Lois Kelly had posted an interesting presentation on what makes a corporate rebel. It is a different topic but I thought it did relate since these 'rebels' tend to act based on wanting their company to succeed rather then for self branding.

    Both these these topics were about using 'non-leaders' expertise or natural talents to create innovate change. Is it possible to have a crowd wisdom consisting of experts? I don't know if you believe crowd wisdom must incorporate every single voice but it certainly seems that people weed themselves out by being lackadaisical. Meaning, not everyone cares to put the effort in to be apart of a movement or change.
    Hope it helps and good luck with your talk. Enjoy!
  • Dec 19 2011: You need to be very careful when talking about the wisdom of crowds. A simple example is America’s problem with obesity. A Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index poll found that 63.1% of American adults were either overweight or obese in 2009. If we look to the crowd for wisdom, we would conclude that being overweight or obese was a good thing. Why else would the majority choose to be that way? Who am I to say that being overweight is a bad thing in front of the millions of people that obviously believe otherwise and show it through their very actions!

    - How do you know whether the decision of the crowd is wise or stupid?
    - What happens when the crowd’s choice goes against science (as in evolution)?
    - What do you do when a crowd decides that Jews are evil and need to be destroyed?
    - Who decides what the crowd can decide on in the first place? Can a crowd say whether or not slavery is wise, or is that simply off the table? But who says it is off the table, an expert I assume.

    A crowd is wise only after an expert has decided that the crowd did a wise thing. You ignore all the times when the crowd does the stupid thing at your own peril.

    Crowd wisdom appears to me to be another argument for collectivism. I thought Ayn Rand killed that bug a long time ago.

    Poll Source:
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    Dec 14 2011: Hi Lior,
    I do believe nothing happens by accident.
    Before I came into this conversation, i am thinking of posting a question in Facebook, to solicit reactions from social friends. Now I am starting to understand about "crowd wisdom".

    For the meantime, i have bookmarked your blog and will share info with you hoping it can help in your talk.

    To begin with, let me share to you this...
    Proverbs 9:10..."The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
    The Bible NIV

    God bless you with wisdom.

    rey del rosario (aka heavenian)
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    Dec 14 2011: You should definately incorporate Duolingo into your speech or way of thinking... It's basically what I was talking about the other day "crowd work", combined with crowd wisdom. Beautiful.

    In case you haven't seen it.

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    Dec 10 2011: Hi Lior,

    My experience with crowd wisdom is very practical. For years we've used a group collaborative system to generate insights, ideas and strategies that actually get implemented, mostly because of the crowd dynamics that created the ideas in the first place. Bringing together a group in person, the right group, is not much different than what's needed to make online crowd wisdom work well. Some of the comments in this conversation bring up similar points, but here are a few of the basics that we've discovered over thousands of hours facilitating insight, ideation and strategy sessions.

    You need some experts, but not too many or they will act as blinders to the crowd, keeping the conversation too narrow or dismissing ideas that are too far out there.

    People tend to be linear in their thinking so you have to introduce instigators that break them out of their traditional thinking patterns. Metaphors, pictures, music, creativity exercises get our brains to another place quickly. Once we're there it's much easier to discover new things we would have otherwise missed, or connect dots that would have never made sense until we opened our minds.

    Focus is critical to outcomes. Focus doesn't mean preventing exploration. On the contrary, it helps groups to see opportunities more clearly. One of the jobs of a facilitator in a crowd is to take the nuggets, hold them back up to the crowd and say, "hey, look at this. Can this help us get to an answer we can use?"

    If you'd like more detailed explanation I have a number of articles on my blog site that can help. You can get the link from my profile if you're interested. I don't want to come across as promoting. From your responses to comments I see that you've already tapped into some of the great books on the subject.

    Good luck on your Ted talk. I'm looking forward to it.
  • Dec 9 2011: Wisdom does not come from crowds, stupidity does... all great wisdom comes from those who can navigate amongst the crowds, amongst everything that is said and done and find the common truth that links us all together. Crowds block self improvement, it hinders one to truly discover reality for what it is, it boxes you in, it makes you follow a certain regime, a certain norm. Those who hear a different drummer are truly those who hold the spark of wisdom. 'Two roads diverged in a yellow wood...and I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference'. Ideas come from crowds, not wisdom,that comes from self thought, self questioning and only the lone wolf can achieve that.
  • Dec 9 2011: it doesnt, it was supposed to be an answer to Rhona Pawis, who wrote me: Hey, if you want to look at life from a strictly monetary point of view, go ahead. Perhaps tax incentives for charitable giving mitigates the value of charitable giving to the giver and receiver. but was misplaced. sorry. nobody is perfect, neither can be crowd wisdom. people make mistakes and are not aware about that, To get the message, you find in intrnet, jou shold be smart enaugh. What about those 1 from 100, of human population that are at some level mentaly restricted and can not imagine the the consequences of the proposed unfamiliar actions they are advised to take? for example from campers you learn that when you lite your fireplace instead of kindling wood or standard lighting fluid you can use petrol, that ignites and burns slowly, is mutch cheeper and never goes out of stock .But if in petrol station you get confused and buy gasoline that ignites rapidly and can explode instead, you burn your house down and are happy to stay alive. such things unfortunately make news every winter.
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    Dec 8 2011: The problem is separating crowd wisdom from crowd stupidity..... and each of us decides which is which in solitude.
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    Dec 8 2011: Hi Lior, great idea...crowd wisdom is the start to get closer to "crowd democracy" without borders and nations. Crowd wisdom is a way to unleash the huge humanitarian and intellectual potential that lies below the surface of politics and lobbies interests...for me the great challenge would be to pose the right "questions", "triggers" and choose the right channels to pose these...i will think about it, but first of all great idea!! and good luck