Individual Reliance and Group Wisdom in Digital Media Democracy

Categories: Media And Democracy
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“I have been made aware that the average opinions of groups are frequently more accurate than most individuals in the group. (Kenneth Arrow,) Stanford University Today crowds have become a more reliable source of information for collecting data, finding out information, and/or making important business decisions. Society is confronting with making business and personal decisions and have become more increasingly relying on crowds for help. In 1906, Sir Francis Galton found something exceptional. When he took a look at 800 people guesses of a ox’s weight, the individual numbers were everywhere, yet the normal figured out how to be off by short of what one-tenth of a percent.

This wasn’t a fluke. It’s a case of the “insight of group,” a wonder with suggestions and false impressions in our organized life over a century later. People use the opinions of other’s especially from the internet to make a guess or try to come up with a reliable answer when dealing with certain situations that maybe hard to get answers to on your own and we tend to trust that opinion while seeing it from other’s perspective.

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I tend to get others opinion instead of just one person, I would usually ask about five people when trying to make the right decision when it comes to something.

Then I would go back and evaluate all person’s suggestions and then make a final decision based on majority rules. If 3 out of 5 people have the same answer in doing the right thing, I would go with the 3 people.

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Networked digital media present new challenges for people to locate information that they can trust. At the same time, societal reliance on information that is available solely or primarily via the Internet is increasing. I would like to show how and why digitally networked communication environments alter traditional notions of trust, and presents research that examines how information consumers make judgments about the credibility and accuracy of information they encounter online. Based on my information, I found that on the use of cognitive heuristics in credibility evaluation. Findings from recent studies are used to illustrate the types of cognitive heuristics that information consumers employ when determining what sources and information to trust online. When I rely on information that I can trust, I use different web browsers and I just don’t rely on one source, I tend to click one or two links reading on a subject to come up with a reliable answer. I would first start with dates that I know, then I would check the dates of the articles that I used followed by checking the credentials, and finally not trusting my first source. I would check more than one website to find the information that I needed, and if more than one website is saying the exact same thing, then I would go with that answer. I found the agenda for future research that is needed to better understand the role and influence of cognitive heuristics in credibility evaluation in computer-mediated communication contexts. James Surowiecki’s author “Convincingly argues that under the right circumstances, it’s the crowd that’s wiser than even society’s smartest individuals.

New Yorker business columnist Surowiecki enlivens his argument with dozens of illuminating anecdotes and case studies from business, social psychology, sports and everyday life.” For example, in this paragraph I’d like to talk about examples of an individual asking a crowd of people to guess the number of jelly beans in a jar, the averaged answer is likely to be very close to the correct number. True, occasionally someone may guess closer to the true number. But as you repeat the experiment, the same person never is better every time – the crowd is smarter than any individual. This finding is counterintuitive. ‘Collective wisdom’is put to good use to tackle three kinds of problems, and complexity is no bar: Cognition problems: such problems arise when we can only guess the answer – as e.g. about the contents of the jelly bean jar, or about the future. How do we get the guess right? Coordination problems: how do we coordinate behavior with each other – say in traffic – knowing that everyone else is trying to do the same? Cooperation problems: how do we get self-interested, distrustful people to work together, even when narrow self-interest would seem to dictate that no individual should take part – as in politics? Behavioral economists and sociologists have gone beyond the anecdotic and systematically studied the issues, and have come up with surprising answers. Capturing the ‘collective’ wisdom best solves cognitive problems.

Four conditions apply. There must be: (a) true diversity of opinions; (b) independence of opinion (so there is no correlation between them); (c) decentralization of experience; (d) suitable mechanisms of aggregation. Finally, democracy, as a classic case of emerging wisdom of the crowd, can be shown to be superior to Platonist elitism. But democracy is not so much an instrument to solve cognitive problems – as many today would have us believe. It is not that crowds have superior knowledge. They have superior wisdom – democracy is an instrument to deal first and foremost with issues of coordination and cooperation. We can tend to use the crowd to come up with good estimations and good answers but the final answer and the final word tend to come from the individual that is asking the questions.

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Individual Reliance and Group Wisdom in Digital Media Democracy. (2022, Feb 26). Retrieved from

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