The wisdom of Google

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Saw the New Yorker's James Surowiecki yesterday, speaking about his book, The Wisdom of Crowds. He praised the effectiveness of 'prediction markets'. For example, Hewlett Packard (internally) sold assets that paid off depending on how big next quarter's printer sales turned out to be. The engineering, marketing, accounts and sales departments each had their own information and traded using it: the results were more accurate sales forecasts.

Since HP have since stopped this experiment, I asked Surowiecki whether he thought the idea would ever catch on. He admitted that organizations do seem to struggle with delegating this kind of deliberation, but was sure it was gathering momentum and would continue to do so.

Well... it turns out that Google have picked up where HP left off. Now let's get the policy wonks from the development establishment to start making some forecasts about the effectiveness of aid programs... [HT: Marginal Revolution]

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