Wisdom of the crowd

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A huge crowd of people
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Scientist Francis Galton (Charles Darwin’s half cousin) wanted to prove that democracy does not work. He therefore asked a group of people to guess the weight of an ox and worked out the average answer. To his surprise it turned out to be remarkably close to the actual answer and he had to re-evaluate his view of democracy.

In this talk philosopher Henrik Schoeneberg traces back ideas about our collective consciousness to ancient Greece and shares the thought-provoking results of modern evidence-based research into the wisdom of the crowd. As well as reflecting on his own experiences conducting the experiment, Schoeneberg examines possible explanations into the wisdom of the crowd and explores the extent to which these dynamics can help society approach threats to its democratic institutions in a more resilient and nuanced fashion. The wisdom of the crowd raises timely questions about such things as the censorship of extreme views on social media, and the role of expert opinion in public discourse. You will be invited to take part in a wisdom of the crowd experiment during the talk.

Henrik is a philosopher from Copenhagen, Denmark, with a master’s in Philosophy and Philosophy of Science. He has published articles in internationally acclaimed magazines, such as Wired and New Humanist. He is the founder of Thales Day, an annual event to celebrate the origin of philosophy and science with an outset in its ancient Greek roots. As a fun science and philosophical exercise, the wisdom of the crowd experiment is conducted at Thales Day events. Results are available at Thales Day.

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