In it he asserts
"HUMAN BEINGS ARE NOT ANTS. We do not have the biological programming or tools to allow this kind of interaction to produce intelligence."In general I agree.
When it comes to music fans as a "crowd" I must disagree. They can in fact be harnessed to produce intelligence - namely relevant recommendations - upto11.net is a case in point.
Surowiecki's "recipe" for a wise crowd is that it meets 4 criteria, and I believe music fans meet all 4 of them. They are:
- Diversity of opinion - music fans, like the music they love, come from all ages, regions, professions etc - a truly diverse crowd
- Independence from one-another - most fans make up their own minds about what artists, albums and songs they like. True, there are plenty of influences that bear down on a fan (friends, radio, music TV, etc.) but no set of fans is swayed by a single opinion leader
- Decentralized - music fans live everywhere, and other than at concerts, rarely get together in one place
- Easily summarized - P2P software apps and the networks they run on provide a great tool for aggregating users and for the collection of data on how fans collect music.
For the music fan who is asking the question "what band should I listen to next?" the crowd can seem very wise indeed.