HOW MUCH SAND: COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE
In 1906, mathematician Francis Galton discovered a phenomenon known as the wisdom of the crowd: while visiting a fair in Plymouth, he observed a weight guessing contest. 800 people were asked to guess the weight of an ox, and upon further analysis, Galton discovered that the average guess of all the entrants was quite close to the actual weight of the cow--closer than the best individual guess in the contest, as well as the estimates of experts.
Building on this idea, I wanted to construct an experiment of collective intelligence: in these times of an uncertain future, fake news, and vast social and political divisions, where people almost live in different worlds — divided, separated — how can we live together? Is there the potential that our common differences, our diversity, can put us on a path to finding truths? Are we indeed wiser together? If non-human species (ants, bees, etc) can demonstrate cooperation and collective intelligence, why does it sometimes seem impossible to bridge the divides and differences of humans?
In this experiment, you will guess your best guess of how much sand is in this jar. It’s an experiment. Guess as well as you can, and thanks for your participation.