In 2005 American journalist James Surowiecki wrote the book The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations. The book was an instant hit and the author gained worldwide recognition for his explanation of how ‘the many’ are smarter than ‘the few’, an idea he introduces by telling the intriguing story of how Francis Galton was shocked to find that the crowd at a county fair accurately guessed the weight of an ox when their independent individual guesses were averaged.
A similar experiment could be run for the upcoming World Cup in Brazil. If one were to ask people independently how many goals will be scored in the entire competition, the mean value of all the guesses should be the ‘best guess’.
Undefeated boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr took a similar approach on Twitter last week. The Grand Rapids native tweeted the following to his followers last week: