Re: [OPE-L] the wisdom of crowds

From: GERALD LEVY (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Thu Dec 06 2007 - 10:22:20 EST


It depends on sample size not population size, and is related to the poisson distribution of noise in information processing, the standard deviation of noise grows as the square root of the sample, the signal to noise ratio thus improves as the half power of the sample size.
 This is why the greeks chose large juries for court cases  of the order of 100 not of the order of 10.
 
Hi again Paul:
 
OK, let's have a thought experiment.
 
Suppose there is a body with approximately 100
members (like OPE-L).
 
What would be the "optimal" size for a
deliberatory/administrative body where the
members of that body were chosen at random 
from the total population?
 
15?
20?
24?
 
OK, after you answer the above question, 
please proceed to answer the following one.
 
Doesn't  such a process require commitment
on the part of all of the members of the
population at least to the extent that if someone
was randomly selected then s/he would recognize
that it is her/his moral, ethical, and social responsibility 
to serve? 
 
Let's say that a significant % of the population 
would _refuse_ to serve if randomly selected?
 
Then what?  
 
Would they be required to leave the population?
 
Would they be asked to leave the population?
 
Would their unwillingness to accept responsibility
lead to a situation where a *select few* who
would be willing to accept responsibility then
become part of the deliberative body? If the
latter happens, doesn't that then simply become 
a new form of aristocratic/elitist decision-making
where the leaders are essentially self-selected 
rather than really being chosen at random?
 
It seems to me that for such a system to work, 
the entire population must accept that there
are rights and *responsibilities* of being a 
member of a population.  That, as I understand it, 
was part of  the praxis of ancient Athenian democracy.
 
In solidarity, Jerry 
 
 


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