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Are crowds wiser than minorities?

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British scientist Francis Galton was on a trip to the livestock market in Plymouth, England, in 1906. “Ox Weight Contest” witnesses it. The public buys tickets for this competition. As well as experts such as shepherds, butchers and breeders, curious people who do not fall under the definition of “expert”, villagers and even visitors participate in the competition. Moreover, “ordinary” people outnumber experts many times over.

Let’s go to the contest ๐Ÿ™‚

An ox is placed in the middle. To the participants: ‘how many kilograms of meat will come out after being slaughtered and skinned’ is asked. 800 participants write down their estimation of the weight of the ox exhibited in the village square on a piece of paper. And they participate in the draw. The closest guess will win the prize.

After the competition, Galton collected all the cards and looked at the predictions. And he saw that the average of the estimates of the 800 participants is 538.65 kilograms! Thanks to the survey he made, he realized that the margin of error of the average of the community is 1%.

SO: This community, which consists of the majority of non-experts, was able to know the true weight of the ox with an error of 935 grams. He even finds that the common sense of ordinary farmers is better than individual experts. The community made a better estimation than most experts.

By repeating this experiment over and over again, Galton saw the fact that, “Even if they are irrelevant to the subject, the masses also have an opinion-opinion-estimate, and this measure points to the truth.

“The Ox Weight Contest” is described early in James Surowiecki’s book “The Wisdom of Crowds”. Focused on in this book According to the Wisdom of the Mass Theory, “the knowledge of many who do not know much” may be superior to “the knowledge of a few who know much.”SO: The masses can see the TRUTH.

“Who wants 500 billion?” If we give an example from the competition; the contestants used the telephone joker right to ask their expert relatives. Each time the expert was asked, the probability of getting the correct answer was LOWER than when asked to the audience in the studio.

Every person makes mistakes while guessing, that is, they cannot find the exact truth. If you have enough observations, it is expected that the margin of error will be zero, as some people will say less and some people will say more. In other words, the masses find the truth better than the competent people. This THE WISDOM OF THE MASSis called.

But there are some conditions for this!

When these conditions are met, the collective mind of many people can reach more accurate results than the individual individuals who make up that group. In fact, the mind of the group is superior to the smartest individual in that group.


1. Diversity. If people do not come under the control of a central mind, they can convey their opinions without any restrictions. That is; The crowd should consist of people with as many different views as possible. Conversely, the decision of a crowd of like-minded people is not all that appropriate.

2. Lack of a centralized structure. The collective mind cannot become active in hierarchical structures.

3. Independence. People should not be under the influence of those around them when making decisions.

4. Of course, establishing a decision-making mechanism, ensuring that individual decisions can be transformed into collective decisions.

Thank you for reading my article. ๐Ÿ™‚ See you in my next article. With love..