The Internet of Things and the wisdom of crowds


by Ryan Begley

As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues its explosive expansion, I find myself wondering how side effects of the Internet of Things will weave their way into our everyday lives.

Emergence, says Wikipedia, is “a process whereby larger entities, patterns, and regularities arise through interactions among smaller or simpler entities that themselves do not exhibit such properties”—as I was reminded when I listened to a Radio Lab podcast on just that topic. In it, the host spoke of Sir Francis Galton, a Victorian statistician, sociologist and psychologist who pioneered the application of statistical methods to the study of human differences and inheritance of intelligence.

At a country fair, runs the story, Galton asked bystanders to guess the weight of an ox. To his surprise, averaging the guesses produced a figure only a pound away from the actual weight of the ox, suggesting to him the idea of the wisdom of crowds. Though many of Galton’s ideas were later debunked, his contributions—the concept of emergence among them—enabled advances in many of the disciplines he studied.

Take advantage of human swarming

Today, when we speak of the wisdom of crowds, we talk in particular of human swarming, an approach that uses real-time feedback loops from groups of users to arrive at accurate insights. Indeed, swarming has sometimes out predicted large groups of experts who rely on non-swarm methodology….

Continued: The Internet of Things and the wisdom of crowds

About Radnor Reports

Ken Feltman is past-president of the International Association of Political Consultants and the American League of Lobbyists. He is retired chairman of Radnor Inc., an international political consulting and government relations firm in Washington, D.C. Know as a coalition builder, he has participated in election campaigns and legislative efforts in the United States and several other countries.
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