Fun’s over, back to work. Typesetting (now known as composition) for Patterns of Global Terrorism starts today, while I turn my attention to strategic planning. I was quoted a week or so in Business Week Online in an article about CEOs and technology, explaining that we were exploring ways to combine the community aspects of social networking software like the wiki with the reliability and quality of a traditional publication. That’s what I’ll be working on today.
I’ve just started reading the Wisdom of Crowds, one of the recent books proposing that if you could just tap into what everyone knows and thinks and believes you would get better results than by going to experts. I thought about this at the track on Saturday: the odds are determined by how people bet, so that’s as precise a model of crowd knowledge as any. I want to look into the statistics about betting to see just how wise crowds are, and have to admit that I’m skeptical. I wholeheartedly believe in cooperation, and think that knowledge grows through exchange and connection. But I can think of a lot of examples of unwise crowds. And I can think of many situations–for example, baking or being operated on–where I wouldn’t want a crowd survey to determine how much baking soda to use or where to make the first incision.