Monday, June 08, 2009

Baitballing = DUMBOCRAZY!

I just read an interesting article by Wildlife Biologist Robert Alison on the the inherent wisdom of group decisions.

You can read it here.

Alison wrote about Cordocet's Jury Theorem which was first outlined in 1785 by oddly enough some Dude known as the Marquis de Cordocet. It's fundamental presumption is..wait for it...

that the many, are more likely to make a collective correct choice, than the one or the few.

"Group decison making is common in animals"...

Hello! Especially during those spur-of -the-moment incidents of sheer panic and utter terror!

Geddit? I just happen to believe that most people are bewildered by politics and the media and so they vote based on what they have heard, rather than what they Gnow.

"According to Krishna Ladha of Washington University, a majority of any group of people, when selecting between two alternatives, is more likely to make the "better" choice than any one member of the group. Recent studies show that the larger the group, the more likely an optimal result will occur."

If by optimal they mean that some other poor bastard will get eaten instead of you then Yes, they are right.

"Many animal groups routinely make consensus decisions jointly," confirmed Jinhu Lu of the Institute of Systematic Science. Research by Ashley Ward at the University of Sydney shows that quorum decisions shape collective movement patterns in fish.

Yeah? They're called baitballs and predators purposely make them bunch up because it's easier to eat them. All of the prey try to hide in the middle where you'd think they're playing the better odds but that is exactly where the predators charge!

The pathetic reality is that poor little bait fish (like us) are doomed if they are caught out in the open... so we actually are better off in a baitball.

"The outstanding complication regarding very large groups is that their consensus decisions tend to oscillate, resulting in an inconsistent analysis of the same facts in separate, even consecutive, sessions.

Conversely, human group decision-making is comparatively new, having occurred only in the past 300,000 years, which makes them more prone to incorrectness due to relative infancy. One main problem is the tendency among humans to rush decisions. "

Another flaw in the human group decision-making process is that majority choices can be wrong when subgroups form alliances with conflicting agendas. Coalitions tend to make the Condorcet jury theorem inoperable; the result is the "Condorcet paradox."

"Mathematicians agree that although group-made decisions are more often correct, compared with individual decisions, and that adding more voters to the process increases the probability that a majority decision is correct, the effect is most dramatic if decisions involve only two choices, such as in jury trials.

Decisions made by groups are no better than individual choices when there are more than two options at issue."

Is there such a thing as Common Sense?
Doesn't it feel as though we live in one giant baitball?


  1. Hence we have the phrase "Follow like sheep"

    When I was a wee bit younger there was a phrase banded about CDF.....
    Common DoG F@*k ...... It had been pointed out that no one teaches a dog how too ...they just know...instinct.

    CDF is common to us all but it seems ta me the gentics are being breed out.
    Or else we asre just too frigging lazy ta use it!
    Why do we not walk under a ladder?
    Cos something may fall and hurt ya!
    It's not bad's stupidity if you do!

  2. I'm not sure whether I agree with you. I guess I'll just go along with everyone else.

  3. We're doing quite a bit of reading around the 'Wisdom of the Crowd' stuff (next film might bee about superorganisms).

    Bees debating where they should make their new home is an example of how it works well. Also in the article I read the "Ask The Audience" lifeline in "who wants to be a Millionnaire" (do you get that on planet Winnipeg?) was held up as a good example and that's got 4 options.

  4. *giggles* ... bait ball... *giggles*

  5. I thought you were inviting me to a game of paintball.

  6. you're saying i don't have a mind of my own? righhhhhht. what was that about again?

  7. Well, like they say, common sense isn't so common anymore...

    As for the wisdom of group decisions, sometimes they work; sometimes they don't. And if we survive our catastrophic mistakes, we hopefully learn and do better next time. Otherwise, our gene pool gets cleaned for better quality.

  8. ants seem to manage it.

    Whenever I look at scenes from soccer matches or some protest rally it is painfully obvious that it only takes a few asshats to start the mayhem and it is very scary how the others jump in!?

    I concur. There is no sense in sticking our necks out unless there are other necks sticking out right beside ours.

    Hi LULU
    To Bee or Not to Bee!

    Yes the behaviorists love BEES and their cooperative behaviour. Well although we Humans produce office/factory worker drones we have yet to breed out all of the little distractions and implant that to-the-death singlemindedness that makes the Bee colony "hum" along so nicely.

    Unlike Bees we don't respond we react..our brains are too big and full of crap to compete with Bees.

    Aah thank you for noticing. I'm a little rusty but I knew that you'd geddit. You are a true Master and I am your servant.

    I'd be too scary out on the paintball course..I'd go completely Rambo Postal and terrify the other paying customers.
    When I drop off my older son and his buddies I have to stay in the car and find my happy place.

    I rock back and forth for hours reciting I am the Angel of Mercy and the hour of reckoning is at hand.. I am the Angel of Mercy and the hour of reckoning is at hand..

    You get the idea.

    You are hilarious!'re the last person that I worry about following the crowd. You are a force of chart your own course. Right?

    I wish that we learned from our mistakes but how do you explain electing Dubya TWICE!!! There is no way in hell that that should have ever happened..although that is assuming that the electorate is informed, educated and motivated to move towards an altruistic society..

    I really dig your little boxes and I can only hope that you aren't writing anything awful about my friends. It's prolly just an advertisement ins't it?

    Yes Ants do manage and usually much better than Uncles...lazy sods. I have a hilarious picture of an Anteater that I should email you..I don't know why it's so funny..I think that it's because of his attitude...he has a bad attitude.

  10. I think humans have yet to evolve a "mostly right" collective thinking. The recent South African elections are a prime example of mass stupidity if you ask me.

  11. Common sense is an oxymoron as it is never common. Callyfornia is a bait ball so I'm off to prison for some health care.

  12. i'm with you fellas. xoxox

    (yes, it's from one of my favorite movies.)

  13. dang. i miss chris' witty comments. he always knows how to rib you. is that how you say it?

  14. what Ball? LOL!


  15. *whistling and waiting for an anteater . . .*

  16. Well there's certainly a thing called "dumbed-down" and we Americans as others have been seemingly willing victims, by not insisting on a higher standard of education (not indoctrination). You name some pretty heavy persons there! As for our dear Marquis, what can you expect from someone raised by the Jesuits? (ye be the 1st blog-person I've seen mention him lol) Still, iF we were merely instinctual animals we'd most likely have accurate "group-think" but we're a unique animal given to proclivities of unreasonable mob-mentality. More fool us.

  17. Donn,

    You always give us a lot to think about. And, if I was confident to think we could come to a group consensus on this issue, I would suggest it ...

    In the meantime, I (I Alone) think you simply ROCK!!



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