maandag 19 december 2005

The probabilistic age

Chris Anderson has a post on a topic I find myself thinking about a lot lately. He calls it the probabilistic age.

"When professionals--editors, academics, journalists--are running the show, we at least know that it's someone's job to look out for such things as accuracy. But now we're depending more and more on systems where nobody's in charge; the intelligence is simply emergent. These probabilistic systems aren't perfect, but they are statistically optimized to excel over time and large numbers. They're designed to scale, and to improve with size. And a little slop at the microscale is the price of such efficiency at the macroscale."

In the comments Chris makes a very important remark on Wikipedia, saying it is a mix of authority and statistics that make it work. I think that mix is something we will see happening everywhere in order to make sure that certain problems are fixed...

"In the popular entries with many eyes watching, Wikipedia becomes closer to the statistical average of the views of the participants, weighted by such factors the authority of each as defined by the others (frequent contributors to any entry tend to win any vote-offs). Studies have shown that for such entries, the mean time to repair vandalism of the sort you describe is measured in minutes. As Wikipeida grows that rapid self-repairing property will spread to more entries."

1 opmerking:

  1. Hi Yme,

    A nice thought indeed for the analytical minded...

    Seth Godin did a post some time ago about focussing on a local maximum i.s.o. the 'Big Max'.

    In my opinion, some non-rational impulse or chaos is always needed to make progress on the search for a higher maximum.

    Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics...