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The Wisdom Of Crowds Essay

2216 words - 9 pages

Individual Expertise vs. Collective Wisdom
To quote James Surowiecki’s book, The Wisdom of Crowds, “Groups do not need to be dominated by exceptionally intelligent people in order to be smart.”(Surowiecki xiii) Surowiecki’s claim offers the argument that when a crowd consists of diverse, independent, decentralized individuals, their aggregated responses will be more accurate than even the predictions of experts. Although I find myself agreeing with Surowiecki’s findings, I am now of the two minds about his claim that the wisdom of crowds is likely better than the wisest person in the crowd. On the one hand I agree that crowds are wiser than the wisest individual in the crowd. On the ...view middle of the document...

In all instances, every agency or organization offered a comprehensive list of items needed for various types of emergency preparedness kits. Kits were divided into three specific categories: home, office, or vehicle. The various types of emergencies were further categorized by the type of emergency: fire, flood, earthquake, tornado, terrorism, pandemic, and hurricane preparedness. Special circumstances were also considered when determining which items were considered necessary such as elderly, children under age four, pet owners, and disabled persons.
Based on the expert advice from The Red Cross, Get Prepared.gov.ca, and Centers for Disease Control, and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), I compiled each of the aforementioned agency’s recommended emergency preparedness kit lists. I determined that each of these agencies had lists comprised of 10 to 20 basic items and after selecting the top ten items from each of those lists, I extrapolated the repeated top five items from each, to eventually develop a model “mandatory basics” list.
After careful assembly, the mandatory items needed for a 72-hour emergency preparedness kit for California households composed of no children under age four or pets, which will most likely ensure your chances of survival should contain the following five items: water, food, first aid kit, hand cranked or battery operated radio, and flashlight (with extra batteries) and noted should be listed in this order of preference. Bear in mind that if a member of your household is prescribed regular medications for life saving conditions such as diabetes, coronary or respiratory conditions, asthma or seizures; or if someone has a physical disability requiring a device for ambulatory or sensory abilities such as the need for a cane, hearing aid, or eyeglasses, then these items would take precedence and be considered necessary and inclusive in your top five listed items (these items would be considered part of one’s first aid kit and not to be replaced by the original list).
The Experiment: The initial group consisted of 17 participants who were diverse by age, education, occupation, gender, and whether or not they had dependent children. The only classification that did not create diversity was their geographical location as they were all residents of San Diego County. Of the 17 participants, 10 were female and 7 were male, with ages ranging from 18 to 72 years old. 14 of the 17 were in college or graduated with degrees and every participant was employed except for 3 of them who listed their occupation as full time students. Remaining occupations included part-time student/hospice worker, 2 nurses (1 retired and 1 working in an E.R.), 2 educational professors, 1 administrative assistant, 1 homemaker, 1 bartender, 1 carpenter, 1 hairdresser, 1 sales person, 1 mid-level manager,1 local politician, and 1 self-employed/entrepreneur. From the original 17 people selected, all but the manager and 1...

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