Monday, March 9, 2009

Sheeple or the wisdom of crowds?

This is disturbing:
But on the other hand,what of the wisdom of crowds?
Whats going on here? It seems that on the one hand individuals can be easily manipulated using peer pressure from groups, and on the other crowds seem to make better decisions than individuals? Perhaps these are complementary points of view, not contradictory? Perhaps the conscious action of the majority of people can be easily swayed, but the unconscious action of groups (displaying emergent behavior?) tends to cluster to optimal points of maxima far faster and more accurately than the conscious efforts of experts?

Could it be that while human psychology is deeply flawed, the behavior that emerges from interactions between individuals and environments can be insightful?

How do we engineer society to avoid, or at least minimise the harmful effects of our own nature? Sometimes we need to follow the crowd, sometimes we need to ignore the crowd and travel against the flow, how do we decide when to do which?

A lot of questions, no real answers.

Coming back to this post later, it occurs to me that perhaps we should observe the crowd and be aware of what is causing it to cluster or disperse, but not necessarily follow the crowd. Know thyself...


sethwid said...

If a person has a decent grasp of love and is motivated by that, and continues to learn the truth behind love, i think people will make much better decisions and will be less concerned about the status quo.

Edenist said...

that may be true, but in my experience sadly most of the people most of the time are not motivated by the highest good. Either by the distraction of self or narrow vision they follow their feelings instead of the highest good. This is why I tend to be contrarian (not to mention cynical) in my views.;