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A Caution

[ by Charles Cameron — crowdsourcing and ye olde fine line between genius and insanity revisited ]

Surowiecki should really have titled his book Extraordinary Popular Intuitions and the Wisdom of Crowds, no?

3 Responses to “A Caution”

  1. toto Says:

    Also from the books-about-quirks-of-the-human-mind department: Daniel Kahneman’s recent  book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, is just as awesome as expected.

  2. Jonathan Says:

    Both the wisdom of crowds and the madness of crowds are real. The apparent contradiction is an artifact of the similarity between the phrases. The phenomena are distinct despite both having something to do with group behavior.

  3. Charles Cameron Says:

    Hi, Jonathan:

    Both the wisdom of crowds and the madness of crowds are real.

    I agree.  However, I feel the “wisdom” of crowds is in danger of becoming a fad in which very little nuance is attached to a simplistic version of the idea.  And in general, my conjunctions and juxtapositions of this kind are intended to raise questions of similarity and difference, not to assert conclusions..
    That’s the “content” side of my thinking here, to the extent that I’m juxtaposing the ideas contained in the two books.  But I also have formal concerns, closer to aesthetics than to logic.
    It’s a “rhyming of thought” I’m after with my DoubleQuotes and Specs, and in this case the similarity between the phrases is nicely matched by the similarity between the cover graphics, so the parallelism between the two is not merely verbal but also visual, making the “rhyme” between the two instances multi-modal.  I don’t know too many instances of what I’d call double rhymes of this sort — our words “tomb” and “womb” rhyme in both sound and meaning, as do “breath” and “death” — but they fascinate me a great deal, because I find they reach deep into both the multi-modal nature of human perception and the analogical nature of creative thinking.

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