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Harvesting the Wisdom of Crowds

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Conventional wisdom has it that a crowd is smarter than a single individual, and that many opinions are better than one. Several successful businesses have been formed based on this crowdsourcing theme, such as Wikipedia, InTrade and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.

The notion of crowd intelligence is very appealing, but raises many questions: Can the thoughts of single individuals really be aggregated into one giant mind? Can a crowd outperform its strongest member? What really makes a crowd tick, and what determines how well a crowd can succeed in a task? How can we incentivize crowd members to work hard, and determine the individual contribution of a member towards the performance of the entire crowd?

We will examine several experiments designed to shed some light on the above questions, both in a controlled lab setting and in real-world crowdsourcing platforms.

This talk is part of the Microsoft Research Cambridge, public talks series.

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