Wisdom Addition Machine – Updated

In Uncategorized on September 3, 2006 at 11:18 am

Updated on November 12, 2008

This is a reblogging of my email response on September 3, 2006 to Michel Bauwens, founder of The Foundation for P2P Alternatives, and other participants in the dialog.


The statement from Michel’s interview that captures the difference in our thinking is:

Michel stated:

“The difference today, of course, is that we are no longer waiting for great leaders, since it is the collective intelligence of humankind that needs to rise to the level of its global challenges.”

While I agree with the ideal, I don’t see how we can ignore the fact that the crowd will always be less intelligent and less capable than its most intelligent and capable member.

I don’t yet see the conceptual scheme that would allow the individual wisdom of individuals in a crowd to be added up or multiplied rather than replaced with averaged judgment (not wisdom) or the lowest common denominator opinion.

Unless we can come up with a wisdom addition machine we still need to rely on individuals whose intellect, wisdom, taste, and ability exceed that of the crowd (i.e. exceed the average.) to lead the crowd.

The question is can wisdom be calculated? My answer is no, and the same goes for beauty, trust, friendship, love, goodness and all such concepts.


  1. The Unwisdom of Crowds


Trends, wisdom of crowds, mass psychology, cult psychology, Web 2.0, Web 2.0, digg, censorship, democracy, P2P, P2P 2.0, social bookmarking

  1. The Wisdom Machine is a great name, Marc, and if I knew any mathematics at all, I would ask for more.

    Did you find this by Bauwens:
    http://www.networkcultures.org/weblog/archives/P2P_essay.pdf ? (page 43)

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