A BIG STEP FORWARD IN USING THE WISDOM OF CROWDS.

A BIG STEP FORWARD IN USING THE WISDOM OF CROWDS. This article by Daniel Engber describes how probabilities are being used to convey information in a new report on an important policy issue. A previous report had used words such as “likely” or “very likely”; the new report uses numbers and attaches a translation of the numbers into words. For example, in the new report “very likely” means a probability between 90% and 99%; “unlikely” means a probability between 10% and 33%. A problem with the use of words has always been the issue of whether “likely” meant the same thing to each participant so the numbers will provide more clarity. Engber cites to a study that says people do have something of a common understanding of what these words mean. When asked what “likely” means, most people give a number between 63% and 78%; most people give a number between 80% and 90% for “very likely.” There is only one step remaining to be taken: get rid of the words entirely and just use the probability estimates directly. Everybody will understand each other better.

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One Response to A BIG STEP FORWARD IN USING THE WISDOM OF CROWDS.

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