Ignorance of Crowds

In the last few years, people have been talking about Wisdom of Crowds.  It is nice to see that finally somebody has started warning about it — somebody has decided to say that the Emperor has no clothes.

New.com reports about a new book by Andrew Keen.

In a deliciously subversive new book, The Cult of the Amateur, which debuts in June, Keen recounts the many ways in which technology is remaking our culture and society.

But the most interesting part of the article is

The subtitle of his book states his thesis bluntly: “How the democratization of the digital world is assaulting our economy, our culture, and our values.”

Them be fighting words, to be sure, and Keen is being purposely provocative. But he’s worth reading. Keen’s not writing from the uninformed point of view of a technophobe. In his previous life, he was the founder of Audiocafe.com. That said, he’s not at all happy about where things are headed, bemoaning the advent of “an endless digital forest of mediocrity” as the number of new blogs doubles each six months.

This is true but society always goes thru such phases.  What is needed are strong mechanisms that can do prospecting and filtering of all this data to find what is trustworthy, valuable, and reliable.

3 thoughts on “Ignorance of Crowds

  1. Ashish Gupta

    I agree with you on this. I raised similar issue in my weblog sometime back. People and society will find ways to focus back on what matters most for them and filter the noise.

    “In web of user generated content finding relevant and high quality content is a specially difficult problem.”

    You expressed it much better with ” what is trustworthy, valuable, and reliable.”

    Questions remain.

    1) How do we objectively define what is relevant and quality content?
    2) Is majority recommendation neccassary relevant and high quality content?

    More on http://www.ashishontech.com/?p=3

  2. Ramesh Post author

    These are good questions, Ashish. And we are going thru a period redefining lots of brick-and-mortar, or should I say paper-and-pencil, mechanisms to the cyber mechanisms. I am a big believer in society developing appropriate mechanisms over time.

  3. misou

    What we need is a wake-up call about the quality of sites like Wikipedia – which calls itself an encyclopedia but is a rather unreliable political campaign instrument for anonymous editors with a hidden agenda. A wake-up call about the fact that misinformation on the Internet is more widespread than it seems and that “free information” can be very costly once you wrecked your health, finance or friendships using bogus information from so called social networking sites. I am not calling for authorities but the amount of data – useless as well as useful – on the Internet is way bigger than the capability of its users to correctly evaluate it. And that is why I think a discussion like the one Keen is stirring up is way overdue.

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