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Wisdom of the crowd

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Wisdom of the crowd

Post  zaobhand on Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:21 pm

Interesting, people are asked to estimate the weight of an ox. The standard deviation can be large but the average is very accurate. How does this work?

http://www.awcwest.com/consulting/crowdsourcing/why-crowdsourcing-works/francis-galtons-ox/

http://blog.ted.com/2012/02/29/of-oxes-and-the-wisdom-of-crowds-lior-zoref-at-ted2012/

I posted it here, after glancing again at the quadrants section in Fincham's book where he discusses the collective subconsciousness. Enjoy.
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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  Martijn (admin) on Sat Mar 10, 2012 7:31 pm


Fascinating... at first sight!

Though, because the ox weighted almost 600 kilograms (the slaughtered and dressed ox weighted exactly 599 kilograms)... the result would very likely have been far less impressive in case of an ox who's weight resulted in a much more arbitrary number.

So, I think a significant part of the result can be discussed (and explained) in terms of statistics & by common sense... and not just 'wisdom of the crowd'.

Galton wrote later about his Ox experiment:

“The result seems more creditable to the trustworthiness of a democratic judgment than might have been expected.”

(Galton's choice of words is significant: obviously he was aware that probability & statistics became involved in his experiment, but in Galton's time the science of PSYCHOLOGY had not developed as far as it is today. Maybe Galton should have known better as a respected statistician because the aspect of the round number 600 may / appears to have slipped his mind at the age of 84...???)


Anyway Boaz, thank you for sharing!




Last edited by Martijn (admin) on Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:20 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  zaobhand on Sat Mar 10, 2012 7:38 pm

Hi Martijn,

The TED experiment also gave (over 2000 participants if I recall reading elsewhere)

-The average was 1792 pounds.
-And the real weight? The ox weighs 1795 pounds.
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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  Patti on Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:00 pm

zaobhand wrote:Interesting, people are asked to estimate the weight of an ox. The standard deviation can be large but the average is very accurate. How does this work?

http://www.awcwest.com/consulting/crowdsourcing/why-crowdsourcing-works/francis-galtons-ox/

http://blog.ted.com/2012/02/29/of-oxes-and-the-wisdom-of-crowds-lior-zoref-at-ted2012/

I posted it here, after glancing again at the quadrants section in Fincham's book where he discusses the collective subconsciousness. Enjoy.

Thumbs up!

I just read the article at the first link and find it interesting in how it shows in this example the crowd as a whole held the right answer, while each individual most likely did not give the right answer.

Neurons work the same way. Alone they accomplish very little but when they work together they create masterpieces.

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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  zaobhand on Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:05 pm

Thanks. Seems like it. I do believe that a large collection of cells exhibits an intelligence not possessed by its individual members. I would have liked though, to replicate the experiment myself. It seems like TED should be honest about their findings.
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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  Patti on Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:16 pm

zaobhand wrote:Thanks. Seems like it. I do believe that a large collection of cells exhibits an intelligence not possessed by its individual members. I would have liked though, to replicate the experiment myself. It seems like TED should be honest about their findings.

This is the video that I had just looked at in regards to responding to Anand's question, so since it sort of fits I'll add it here. Particularly at 3:20 in.



It's that 'as above, so below' kind of thinking. The crowd of people became like the mass of cells.
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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  zaobhand on Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:24 pm

Yes, as above as below. hand dance
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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  zaobhand on Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:17 pm

Patti, An interesting book on the concept 'As above as below' is 'In Search of the Miraculous' by PD Ouspensky (student of Gurdjieff).
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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  Martijn (admin) on Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:03 am

zaobhand wrote:Hi Martijn,

The TED experiment also gave (over 2000 participants if I recall reading elsewhere)

-The average was 1792 pounds.
-And the real weight? The ox weighs 1795 pounds.

Actually, I could repeat my argument for those numbers... though I could add, in the Netherlands people rarely talk about the weight of cows, but I can imagine that in the US people do tend to talk about the weight of animals (probably due to various money related traditions in the 'Wild Wild West'). If my association is correct that could explain why it is probably not a surprize why they choose to use an Ox of about 900 kilograms (897.5 kg exactly).

But I can add another significant difference ... I see a major difference between 'assessing' a living Ox (as seen in the TED experiment) compared to the 'slaughtered' Ox (as used in Galton's experiment): assessing the weight of a living Ox should be much less tempting!

(And a sceptic observer could even argue... why did the TED report include figures about the highest- and lowest estimate? Maybe a large percentage of the estimates was made close to 900 kg - due to widespread knowledge about common weights among Oxes? My intuition says that there are even more explanations available...!???)

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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  Patti on Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:04 am

zaobhand wrote:Patti, An interesting book on the concept 'As above as below' is 'In Search of the Miraculous' by PD Ouspensky (student of Gurdjieff).

Thank you! Will look for it now at Amazon.... actually I'm thinking I might have this book in a box out in the shed!
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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  zaobhand on Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:13 am

Martijn, I'm with you looking for the catch, yet open. Its the law of big numbers, only the average in the equation is supposed to be unknown... thinking

I'm 'vegan'.. so could have served as an impartial judge.
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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  Martijn (admin) on Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:16 am


... Actually, I just discovered another catch:

Galton's experiment was executed at a 'Livestock Fair'! See the Wikipedia page about Galton: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Galton#Crowd_sourcing

Galton made his report look more impressive by noticing that none of the 800 guesses hit the exact mark... but I wonder how many of those guess were made at 1200 pounds exactly? (I would not be surprised if that 1200 number was chosen many times... especially by people who visit Livestock Fairs on a regular basis!)

Anyway, it's still a tell-tale story to remember... so thanks again for presenting this story!

Thanks!



Impression from a Wellstock Fair in the UK (where Galton lived).


Last edited by Martijn (admin) on Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:22 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  zaobhand on Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:20 am

The TED experiment was not a live stock, not a round number. Most people definitely do not know how much an ox weighed. Perhaps they subconciously added all the meat parts they bought over their life time supermarket?... Oh...nooo!

I would have liked to reproduce such an experiment. It doesn't have to be an ox..
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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  Martijn (admin) on Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:27 am

zaobhand wrote:The TED experiment was not a live stock, not a round number. Most people definitely do not know how much an ox weighed. Perhaps they subconciously added all the meat parts they bought over their life time supermarket?... Oh...nooo!

I would have liked to reproduce such an experiment. It doesn't have to be an ox..

Thumb up ... Excellent! Maybe you can design some kind of an experiment at this forum?

(Just make sure that there are no 'easy' numbers involved... for example: regarding an Ox experiment it would have been MUCH more impressive to me if likewise results had been found for an Ox weighing ... let's say close to 1225 pounds or 1175 pounds, instead of close to 1200 pounds: I hope this makes sense?)

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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  Patti on Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:29 am

If, this is correct.... that would indicate that crowd mentality or being a 'sheeple' suggests you are going in the direction of the correct answer. Wink
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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  zaobhand on Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:30 am

Maybe the object needs to be seen with eyes, real time.. cyclops
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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  zaobhand on Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:32 am

Galton expected the average to be really bad, but it turned out to be accurate. Maybe it is some kind of quorum sensing.
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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  Lynn on Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:53 am

I have absolutely no idea about the weight of an ox. I made a completely random & arbitrary guess as maybe half a ton. What's that in pounds? pfff...
I recited from primary school memory "16 oz = 1 lb, 14lb=1 stone, 2 stone = 1 quarter, 4 quarters = 1 hundredweight, 20 cwt = 1 ton" and divided by half. (edit - that should be 'divided by two' or 'cut it in half') I came up with 1280 lb. But I did the calculation wrong (I did 16lb = 1 stone, it should be 14lb). My second attempt when I corrected my error came to 1120 lb. Galton's ox weighed 1,198 pounds.
Add my two calculations together 1280 + 1120 = 2400, so my average guess was 1200 lb. Which is only 2lb from the right answer, and coincidentally is the number that Martijn posted while I was figuring it out!!
This proves nothing of course, because I was 82 - 78 lb out in my guesses. But I have amazed myself Razz because I consciously have absolutely no idea about the weight of an ox, they might weigh 2 tons for all I knew! Thanks Boaz, it was good fun to try it Wink


Last edited by Lynn on Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:28 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  Lynn on Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:56 am

hi Boaz, re-reading the thread I just noticed this
zaobhand wrote:I'm 'vegan'.. so could have served as an impartial judge.
lol!

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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  zaobhand on Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:57 am

Lynn, with my long head line I didn't it even bother trying it out lol!
That's really cool, how you came up with nearly the correct answer. applause
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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  Lynn on Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:14 am

Martijn (admin) wrote:Maybe Galton should have known better as a respected statistician because the aspect of the round number 600 may / appears to have slipped his mind at the age of 84...???)

Francis Galton (1822 –1911) was English. He would have talked in ounces, pounds, stones, hundredweights and tons. In Uk our money went decimal in 1971, and I think a couple of years after that the EU gave us 5 years to become metric in weights & measurements, tho it wasn't enforced till about year 2000. Even today in UK, I'm guessing anyone over about age 40 still talk in pounds and ounces rather than kilogrammes, and inches rather than centimetres. 1,198 pounds is not a nice even round number!

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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  zaobhand on Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:19 am

You are right Lynn, Thumb up

Here is the experiment in his own words:
http://tomayko.com/writings/galtons-ox

Here are some conditions required for what would could provide for a successful experiment.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wisdom_of_Crowds

Diversity of opinion:
Independence
Decentralization
Aggregation
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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  anand_palm on Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:51 am

Hello Patti

I typed how are neurons connected to hand in google and came to this website TED and ut mentions how neurons shaped civilization.

http://www.ted.com/talks/vs_ramachandran_the_neurons_that_shaped_civilization.html

Your selection of the video you have shown is a very good video, i played 6 times to understand and think through.

Thanks
anand
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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  Patti on Sun Mar 11, 2012 4:19 am

anand_palm wrote:Hello Patti

I typed how are neurons connected to hand in google and came to this website TED and ut mentions how neurons shaped civilization.

http://www.ted.com/talks/vs_ramachandran_the_neurons_that_shaped_civilization.html

Your selection of the video you have shown is a very good video, i played 6 times to understand and think through.

Thanks
anand

That's amazing video you've linked to, Anand! It certainly brings together this concept of how neurons communicate and how they may communicate in groups of people! I like this quote "All that separates you from that other person is skin." and also "Chains of neurons around this room are talking to each other."

Thanks!

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Re: Wisdom of the crowd

Post  anand_palm on Sun Mar 11, 2012 7:38 am

Hello Patti

Thre is a paper which address about fingerprints made up of nerve and skin
http://www.latent-prints.com/images/

Then identify the file fingerprints-nerves (you can easily see it)

or click the link below to get quick view.

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:h9BaZ2Fby-MJ:www.latent-prints.com/images/Fingerprints%2520-%2520nerves%2520and%2520skin.pdf+RELATIONSHIP+BETWEEN+NERVES+AND+FINGERPRINTS&hl=en&gl=in&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShXJ4okbQMatAIn3Q09kTOSN5FAmCaGCY12DAGs79B5cvbBOma5QY4NcaRLn8fFVnkSPym3iSG6O8dpEPPY66UZ96dqFtDrO-Kfw3op-2QbghK4FqOtUXdZ7aUt8sDBNcF1unqE&sig=AHIEtbQxjv19lHsycCxdMNRMsxAQVFnVyw

Thanks
Anand
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