Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday Keynote - James Surowiecki - Wisdom of Crowds

June 29 Keynote
President of ISTE opens:
Connect, Convene, Transform
5 Actionable things to transform:
  1. Be an advocate for change - politicians need to hear from us - find the briefs at ISTE
  2. Share your knowledge and passion - with other teachers, work as a group, inform parents and administrators
  3. Showcase your and your students' work - community leaders, legislators, chamber of commerce
  4. Dream big - have high expectations for students, your classrooms, and your school
  5. Use available resources to effect change - ISTE is a good start - NETS for Teachers, Students, and Administrators

Keynote Speaker:

The Wisdom of Crowds - Book - http://www.amazon.ca/Wisdom-Crowds-James-Surowiecki/dp/0385721706

James Suroweicki

http://www.randomhouse.com/features/wisdomofcrowds/

Blogs about JS - http://wordpress.com/tag/james-suroweicki/

Under the right conditions, groups of people can be very intelligent, even smarter than the most intelligent person in that group.

Technology enables us to make the work of groups much more powerful. A power that has never before existed.

Jelly Bean Experiment - Guess the number of beans in the jar. The group will be very accurate on the average. Better than any one person in the room. No one person is smarter than the group on the whole.

Prediction Market - Using markets to forecast the outcome of a presidential race - this prediction market has outpredicted the Gallop Poll. Favorites in the markets have won every single race. Set up markets - Google - predicting new offices, new product launches, etc. have matched perfectly to acutal results.

If you get a smart enough crowd, you can accomplish amazing things.

See this in action on the internet - web 2.0 - wikipedia (construction of an online encyclopedia by people continually- collective intelligence) , Flickr (tagged photographs that construct a taxonomy of photos, no one is in charge, collective enterprise of categorizing photos), delicious - for webpages), Google ( how good it is at finding the information searched for, how does it do this?)-relies on the collective intelligence of the people on the web, surveys the internet and asks for a vote on that particular page, and comes out with the answer)

Google found a hidden intelligence - tapping of crowds on the internet.

Think about diversity within groups - age, experience, ability level - they can add knowledge and question to groups that wouldn't normally get asked. The group would be less likely to make the same kind of mistake. That is perfectly okay because the errors they make cancel each other out.

Working in homogeneous groups doesn't work well because they easily succomb to group think. They hear their own opinion echoed back at them. Harder to identify their flaws.

The presence of a devil's advocate in a group makes the group decisions work better. BUT, you can't have the same person as the devil's advocate all the time.

Build a diverse team from the start.

Independence - Think for yourself, rely on your own knowledge By nature or nurture, we are imitative. We tend to imitate what others are doing. Imitation works a lot of the time, but you have to move beyond imitation because you are not getting at the collective intelligence of the group.

In conditions of uncertainty, you lose the ability to work and think collectively.

Best group decisions emerge out of conflict. Get people comfortable with the idea that an argument can bring about a good solution.

Groups are smartest when the people are thinking as individuals as much as possible. If you are a leader do not dictate in advance what others are going to say.

Look out for talkative people. Other people tend to talk back to these people. There is no connection between how much someone says and how much they know. :-)

The people that have the information we are looking for are unlikely. Wisdom of crowds comes from casting your net widely. The internet allows this. It also allows us to incorporate the opinions of those that would be uncomfortable exerting their influence face to face. It allows people to say what they really believe.

Technology can play a fundamental role in group work.

4 comments:

Valeria said...

Interesting to know.

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