Re: SD2 vs. Condorcet: Issues / Surowiecki

Mark parashakti108 at
Mon, 11 Apr 2005 18:46:35 -0000

--"denis bider" wrote:
> > -M: Condorcet is still in-degree based, therefore it is 
still "Joe Sixpack" based.
>D: This is the core argument about which I am not yet quite sure. 
See, suppose you have a problem with possible solutions A, B, C, D, 
and you have the two approaches I stated in my previous email to this 
list: 1. Everyone ranks the four solutions in their order of 
preference, and the solution that will yield the highest level of 
satisfaction is chosen according to Condorcet / CSSD.

-M: So far, this is a *first order* approach. This lacks the depth of 
iterative algorithms.

>D: 2. Everyone enumerates a number of people that they think are 
competent to solve the problem, or know someone who is, and the 
results are ranked according to SD-2 to produce a number 
of "experts". The selected few then decide for either one of A, B, C 
or D. Now, suppose that method 1 would show that the solution 
yielding the highest level of people-satisfaction is C. Suppose now 
that the experts also choose C. In this case, methods 1 and 2 are 
equivalent. But suppose the experts choose D. Question 1:

-M: All of this is SD2 complient. If SD2 selected directors want to 
play with Condorcet, this is fine with me.
>D: Is it acceptable for experts to choose a solution which is NOT a 
solution which would yield the highest level of satisfaction among 
people; in this case, method C?

-M: Who says that the people's choice would produce the greatest 
level of satisfaction? This is only what the people would PREDICT 
would produce the greatest level of satisfaction. In the French 
Revolution, the people predicted that direct-democracy would produce 
the greatest satisfaction - they were WRONG and this led to the Blood-
bath. Fortunately, we have a real-world by which to test our ideas. 
Denis, please ditch these populist feelings.

>D: Question 2: But, then again: would method 1 have led to the 
choice of method C, if the people had known that the experts would 
have chosen method D? Perhaps people would then go with the opinion 
of the experts, and choose method D?

-M: Only the experts should decide. They are accountable, the people 
are not.
>D: Question 3: But even if the people had chosen method D if they 
knew that's what the experts were going to choose: would that have 
been the correct choice? Is it actually true, at all, that experts 
make decisions which are more correct than the decisions made by 
masses when an appropriate aggregation algorithm is chosen? Research 
leads [me]to believe the masses will be consistently correct much 
more reliably than individual experts.

-M: I haven't heard of this research. If the masses are more 
consistently correct than the "experts", then those "experts" aren't 
real experts. SD2 is designed to find the real experts.

-M: How about comparing the experts of the American Revolution like 
Franklin and Hamiltion, and compare this with the people, like the 
Jacobin Mobs of the French Revolution?
>D: Research further leads to believe that a large, diverse group of 
experts(not 5 directors, but 100 or more), whose choice is aggregated 
with a suitable algorithm on an in-degree basis, might be more 
consistently correct than a smaller number of top experts. This is 
because perception of expertise in one's own and others' eyes tends 
to be unrealistically exaggerated compared to the actual substance of 
the expertise. There is further no reason to believe that, in 
additional iterations of SD-2, this bias would be self-correcting. 
Quite the opposite is likely. The source of this viewpoint is James 
Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds.

-M: With SD2, the directors would be encouraged to use large bodies 
of advisors and non-voting representitives. Think of the directors as 
being the trustworthy and accountable generalists. They would call in 
the specialists. I do think that PageRank would deselect for 
overconfident directors, so I do think that bias would be self-
correcting, and this is testable.

-M: Thanks Denis, I will check out Surowiecki.

-Mark, Seattle WA USA