Wednesday, April 4, 2007

We Are Smarter Than Me

A group of academics and professionals came up with the idea of writing a business text using a similar peer-contributed and edited process to Wikipedia. The focus of the book will be on how internet communities and networks will influence business. It sounds a lot like the discussions in our class. To date the community is made up of 4,238 members. The name of the project is We Are Smarter Than Me. Profits generated by the sale of the book will go to a charity, of which the community members will vote on. I think it should be an interesting text, but how will they keep the themes consistent throughout the text? Don't Wiki's by their nature promote chaos? Will they handle later editions in the same way? If so, will they get the original authors to revise it? Or, would it be better if a new set of authors revised each edition?


John Prescott said...

That project reminds me of a strained analogy I've been mulling over without really being able to articulate.

Perhaps we can compare single author works with centrally planned economies, while works that combine the knowledge of many are like free market economies?

Free markets are successful largely because they combine the wisdom of millions to funnel scarce resources to where they are most needed. No central planner, no matter how brilliant, can know all that is needed to run an economy. This link tells about how many science textbooks are filled with inaccuracies. Perhaps that's because no one person has the knowledge to seperate fact from myth. With the We are smarter than Me type project, many of these errors would be weeded out.

Matthew Pope said...

Continuing on with the science theme, the thing I never understood about the wiki concept is how you stop positive amplification. If I were to read one of those inaccurate science textbooks John mentions and then proceed to edit a bunch of wikis, wouldn't I be just regurgitating and propagating the inaccuracy? Isn't the viewpoint of the top mind in a given field more worthwhile than 1,000,000 idiots?