The WING Blog

The Web and Internetworking Group at BU/CS



Ignorance is Bliss!

By Azer Bestavros

This is a very intriguing study about how social media/interactions may be warping “crowd wisdom” — defined as “the statistical phenomenon by which individual biases cancel each other out, distilling hundreds or thousands of individual guesses into uncannily accurate average answers”. In this study, researchers told test participants about their peers’ guesses. As a result, their group insight (a.k.a., group regression to the mean) “went awry”. You can think about this as introducing dependencies, and hence biases in the sample statistics.

I should try this in a test in CS-350!

Perhaps related to the above is the mounting criticism of “personalization” as introducing biases in what (say) search engines return to different people for the same exact query — Google now is personalizing Google search and Google News…

There is something to be said for having crowds have consistent views of the world…

One Response so far

[…] Here is an interesting Op-Ed in today’s NYT, which touches on the point I made in my earlier post entitled “Ignorance is Bliss”. […]

Leave a comment