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James Surowiecki on TED

James Surowiecki: The moment when social media became the news
Surowiecki, the author of the Wisdom of crowds uses blog entries and amateur video coverage from the South Asian Tsunami of 2005 to illustrate his point. Blogs, he says could be classified as 'Before' and 'After' the Tsunami. Never before have we had this sort of 'current' and up to date information on an event as we did in the aftermath of the Tsunami.

He then poses the following questions:
What do blogs tell us about the motivation for people to do things?
What do they tell us about accessing a collective, previously untapped collective intelligence?
What are the disadvantages to blogs?

  • Most people blog and put together images, audio,links for free. There is no financial payoffs.
  • People have found a way to work with each other for free.
  • We need to expand out idea of what it means to be rational.
  • We need to change our idea on Payoffs.
  • The notion of voluntary coordination is powerful
  • Under the right circumstances, groups can be intelligent.
  • They can be sometimes smarter than the smartest person in the group.
  • Google uses this information to sort out the sites with the necessary information.
  • The Blogosphere offers collected distributed information.
  • The 'dark' side is that when we follow others we can fall in love with the decentralized model to the point of loosing our own independent ideas.
  • Groups are smart only as long as its members are individual thinkers.
  • Networks make it hard to maintain your individuality.

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