by George Musser
Posted January 2, 2017

crowds are not that smartCrowds aren’t as smart as we thought, since some people know more than others. A simple trick can find the ones you want. Metaknowledge functions as a powerful bullshit detector. It can separate crowd members who actually know something from those who are guessing wildly or just parroting what everyone else says.

The crowd is wise, but not in the way the error-correcting intuition assumed. There’s more information there. The bullshit detector isn’t perfect, but it’s the best you can do whenever you don’t know the answer yourself and have to rely on other people’s opinion. Which eyewitness do you believe? Which talking head on TV? Which scientist commenting on some controversial topic? If they demonstrate superior metaknowledge, you can take that as a sign of their superior knowledge. More…