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Books & Articles I wrote.

Monday, August 01, 2005


Email to James Surowiecki and Malcolm Gladwell

James, Malcolm - i just read the email to-and-thro between each of you [1].

I had ordered both books as well before i read those emails (doing some background reading!).
I do have a quick question that I am itching to ask before these books arrive based on what you both discussed.

In the most common sense, I do agree that a merging of both ideas (from what I have read from your mails) satifies some of the things that come to mind when i consider each concept. So, my general understanding is that the crowds can be averaged to provide a better (or at least as good) answer than the individual expert. What happens online (or even offline) when the "crowd" doesn't just have its own opinions and ideas, but when part of the crowd is altogether disruptive. Consider spammers on the web, identity theft and such. You see I am working on a concept [2] and the main problem i have relative to crowds - and in relation to your ideas - is that part of that crowd can be deliberately disruptive. I also assume that is they are VERY disruptive then the net effect can be quite large (unless you were to assume you have a VERY proactive person on the other side, which is probably unlikely).
Considering Malcolm's ideas, the result of the expert is Boolean. If he really is the expert then his advice is true (whether it is correct or not is another question - it IS his - or her - advice). If he is not the expert then the advice can be disgarded (would you trust advice from someone you can't trust).

My issue is that there is a real common ground between the two ideas - one that is behind spam, identity theft and one that really will effect the net effect of your ideas. It is identity. There are a load of things i could have off that (relative trust, privacy and so on), but if you can identify someone then they can realistically be built into both ideas. If you cannot then you may have a problem (which exists online and even offline today).

Had you considered these ideas in your thoughts. It may be more appropriate for me to read the books first, but this way I will be able to understand your points of view rather than miss them.

I have also blogged this at [3].

Best Regards,
steven :: Release 2.0 :: http://stevenR2.com

[1] http://slate.msn.com/id/2111894/entry/0/
[2] http://taghop.com/
[3] http://stevenr2.blogspot.com/2005/08/email-to-james-surowiecki-and-malcolm.html

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