September 12, 2009

The Wisdom Of Crowds

Last night I took a rare glimpse at the propaganda unit in my living room. It is something I rarely switch on these days, as I prefer to get my news from alternative sources. For entertainment I spend a small fortune on DVDs and watch them when the urge takes me.

I wanted to see how Derren Brown had managed to accurately predict six numbers in the national lottery, and I was fascinated by a phrase he used during the show. It was "The wisdom of crowds" that caught my attention and I wanted to learn more. If you click on the title you will see what Wikipedia has to say about it. Personally I would rename it Pikipedia as not all entries contain sufficient balance for my liking. Take a peek at their very one-sided view of second hand smoke as an example.

Anyhoo, I wanted to know if there was anything in this theory and I have been mulling it over for the last sixteen hours or so.

If there is wisdom in crowds, I want to know where it is. I have seen precious little wisdom from crowds, or individuals, come to that, in the last 10 or 15 years. We appear, in our millions, to be getting stupider.

Why else would we allow Labour politicians to keep their jobs despite widespread abuse of their office?

Why else would we allow ever more unsupportable methods of control to be exerted over us?

Why do we stand by while various sections of society are curtailed, discriminated against, and vilified?

Why else would we stand by and allow these lawmakers to vomit out statute after statute that have no apparent bearing on our lives?

Why else would we watch as these people hand over our nation to the EU, to be controlled by unelected busybodies?

I think, and you may correct me, it's because we don't give a shit.

If we don't drink, and there are a significant number of people that don't, why should we care about alcohol control measures that treat adults like infants?

If we don't smoke, why should we give a damn when smokers are hounded outside in all weathers?

If we don't care for fast food, why should be concerned about the treatment of those carrying a stone or two beyond the suggested weight for "normal" humans?

Maybe it's because while they, the ubiquitous they, are picking on another group into which we don't fit, they are leaving us alone. And that's okay. If we keep our heads down, maybe they will pass us by?

Except that they won't. There will be a delay, for sure, but eventually, they will run out of abnormal targets and come for the normal.

So where is the "crowd wisdom"? Where is the refusal to be nannied? Where is the outrage at the ever increasing control mechanisms we endure, day after day?

It seems to me that the overwhelming majority know, deep down, that something is rotten, yet do nothing.They do nothing because it isn't happening to them. It also, vicariously, allows them to despise their fellow countrymen. They certainly aren't allowed to despise others not of their ethnic persuasion, or those who choose an alternative sexual orientation.

But smokers, drinkers, fatties, and yes, even those who choose to support political parties like the BNP, are vilified openly, and worse, with the encouragement of this government that have done their utmost to destroy Britain. I'd like to say that their destruction has been accidental but I can find no evidence to support that explanation. No party can be that inept, surely? It had to be engineered.

No, the only answer is that decisions are made using the Delphi Technique. (Look it up, it is as interesting as it is sinister). The basics are this: a group of "experts", or a "think-tank" sit around in a meeting room. They are asked their opinion on, say, a tax increase, and all opinions are gathered. Out of twenty people, 14 may say "Yep. Let's do it", and the other 6 are either unsure, or against the new tax. So they stay in the room until the 14 have convinced the 6 that they are wrong and that the new tax increase is the only right decision. It is a mixture of bullying and mind-control, and it is frightening, to me at least, to know that many major decisions are reached in this way. Using this technique, all 20 "experts" leave the room knowing they have made the right decision. The decision is promulgated and if necessary, the Delphi Technique is used on any dissenters that may creep out of the woodwork.

So, Wisdom of Crowds, or Delphi Technique? You decide.

It may be that I have picked up the wrong ball and ran the wrong way with it. I am sure you will let me know.

I do know that I see more evidence of the existence of the Delphi Technique than I do for the Wisdom of Crowds.

It strikes me that the average Brit is either very stupid, very insular, or very uncaring.

Or a combination of all three.

I hope, for all our sakes, that we shake off this lassitude, and very quickly.


Pesky Anonymous said...

I've been analysing the sheep for a long time, and come to the same conclusions as you: Stupid, insular or uncaring.

I am fortunate to live down a country lane. I am not trying to insult people who live down streets here, but I have noticed they have a different attitude because they live in a different environment.
There seems to exist an amount of competitive element with their neighbours. You will have noticed when the first house got double glazing, how it swept down the road like wildfire. Keeping up with the Joneses is a common way to put it. Some even seem to feel quite fulfilled if they are merely "doing better than that bloke down the road".
My neighbours live hundreds of yards away. It rarely affects me what any of them do. I couldn't even tell you what the current "fad" is.

I have a very good old friend who lives down a 130 year old street. Only recently did he get double glazing. He used to have the original (beautiful) sash windows, complete with the wibbly wobbly glass, and the draughts. So his taste and individuality outweigh his desire to go with the flock to a large extent.

We were chatting the other day and I was telling him (again) how council tax is an unlawful tax. He thinks I'm intelligent and so he respects what I say. I am careful not to disillusion him by talking too much shite.
So it happened that I said to him: "So what would you do? what would you do if you were chatting to the bloke six doors down the road, and he said to you: *Oh I don't pay council tax. I told them where to stuff it (lawfully of course)* ?"
He looked me straight in the eye and said nothing. But curiously I knew what he would think when I asked. He would think to himself "Why the hell should I pay council tax, when that bloke down the road doesn't?" And he would have busily set about "equalizing" the situation.

So the point of my tale, is that it only takes a spark. Once this all gets going, it too will spread like wildfire.

Captain Ranty said...

Excellent observation Pesky.

One spark is right. Then we fan the flames and stand back.

I am convinced we have some interesting times ahead.

Interesting enough to drag their eyes off the Page Three tits, perhaps.....

Fabius said...

I cant believe the Delphi technique is used for any serious descision making, it sounds like the ultimate buck passing excerise, not doubt the panel of experts will be paid hansomly, and have no responsibility or repuccussions for the out comes.

Propbably expalins why we get in such a mess in this country. Its the higher education brain set being applied to the world.