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Got Expert?

In today’s crazy world we can’t know everything, so we depend on Experts.

But it seems to me, that like other things, Expertability is being dumbed down.

Enjoy Your 15 Minutes of Expertability

Enjoy Your 15 Minutes of Expertability

A number of public figures come to mind, among them,

  • Politicians
  • Cable News Personalities
  • Radio Talk Show Hosts

They really are experts in their chosen fields, which is what made them successful and famous. But they are not experts in some of the important issues of the day such as Economics, Health Care or the Environment. But they will talk about them and offer opinions; that’s what they get paid to do, and that’s how they earn their living.

Because there seems to be less ‘fact-checking’ on whether these folks are really experts in what they are talking about it behoves each of us to do our own sanity check on their credibility. In effect, that’s been outsourced to the listener; like checking yourself (and bags) onto a plane, and checking out your own groceries.

Is there an alternative?

Wikipedia has demonstrated that huge numbers of contributors can bring together massive amounts of timely information. It’s mostly accurate, but users must still beware. This is sometimes referred to as the Wisdom of Crowds.

Cold Comfort

Burrrr; Is It Information, Wisdom or Expert?

Many in the New Media believe that “The Widsom of Crowds” will replace many of the functions traditionally performed by real Experts.

The Wisdom of Crowds … is a book written by James Surowiecki about the aggregation of information in groups, resulting in decisions that … are often better than could have been made by any single member of the group.

The opening anecdote relates Francis Galton’s surprise that the crowd at a county fair accurately guessed the weight of an ox … closer than any of the separate estimates made by cattle experts.

Its central thesis, that a diverse collection of independently-deciding individuals is likely to make certain types of decisions and predictions better than individuals or even experts …

But it’s still early days and there’s a lot to discover when it comes to Crowded Wisdom.

In the meantime we’ll just have to make do.

Bring on the oxes.

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Discussion

5 thoughts on “Got Expert?

  1. Are you saying Glen Beck and Rush Limbo are not telling the truth!!!!! blasphemy

    Dose guys are reel smaRt and eye twust dem.

    Posted by Jack Ferrante | September 10, 2009, 2:05 pm
    • Just pointing out that (IMO) they are not qualified to offer “expert” analysis. Certainly no more than you or me.

      To the extent that they mis-represent an issue by dumbing it down to a sound bite, or leaving out important parts of the issue…yeah, I would classify that as not telling the truth.

      Or in the recent words of a (now) famous politician from South Carolina, “You lie”.

      Posted by Bob Gelber | September 10, 2009, 4:08 pm
  2. Finally someone (Mr. “You Lie”) had the nerve to speak up- even if it was in an unsavory form. As much as I disagreed with Ted Kennedy politically, at least you knew where he was coming from. He would proudly proclaim himself Liberal. We need more of that! All you liberals don’t be ashamed. Don’t couch your political beliefs with terms like progressive or moderate because you know that it is more palatable to the masses.
    And oh by the way, what about the bigger question: was the President lying on the issue of covering illegal immigrants under the proposed health care plan? There is plenty of evidence to show that he was not being completely accurate in regards to this issue. Or as a former President put it: “It depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is”. Must every statement be in need of parsing? We are getting the big sales job and I for one want less government in my life – not more.
    I think many Americans (on both sides) love to feign outrage and victimhood because they think they win points somehow. I say “GET OVER IT!”

    Posted by Sal | September 10, 2009, 5:05 pm
    • Sal,

      I don’t know what’s in the bills, much less what is going to get passed. According to the Wall Street Journal today, “…the Democratic bills circulating in Congress do exclude illegal immigrants from eligibility for subsidies.”

      Does this imply they ARE eligible if they pay the full premium? I don’t know.

      Regardless, my post was really about whether “America’s Pinata” should have more credibility on the issue than you or me, and my answer is No. He may have 20 million more people listening, but that just makes him a hardworking genius of talk radio, not an expert on our Health Care System, where in my opinion he’s always (10+ years) been tone deaf.

      We should continue this in the morning after a few cups of coffee…

      Posted by Bob Gelber | September 10, 2009, 5:38 pm

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  1. Pingback: Got Expert? No Need To Outsource « Not A Mystery - September 10, 2009

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