Should you consult the expert?

'The rejection of classical expertise assumes a second form on the internet. If everyone can have a say, but accreditations are banned, how will the digital wheat be distinguished from the chaff? For free software aficionados on the Slashdot community weblog, as for the users of commercial powerhouses Amazon and eBay, the solution is to calculate the average opinion of participants regarding the reputation of posters and commenters on Slashdot, and of reviewers and sellers on Amazon and eBay. The same goes for the popularity of shared information or links in “social media” such as Reddit and Digg, as well as for the PageRank algorithm which generates Google’s search results (1). The “wisdom of the crowd” – the automated aggregation of multiple individual choices – will quasi-magically produce an ideal result. That’s how things are supposed to happen, at any rate.'

Wikipedia, which runs on a premise that collaborative effort on any subject would cancel out falsifications, should they creep in, is believable. But a total rejection of what's termed 'classical expertise' would do us all a disservice. In fact, I believe it wouldn't be possible to exist without such expertise.

Even in the consumer world.

Take brand endorsements for example. The extent of acceptance of an endorser, if the product were 'technical' in nature, would depend on credibility the endorser carries. And that in turn is dictated by the endorser's perceived expertise in that product category. For instance, if you wanted me to listen to an endorser when he talks about, lets say a toothpaste that's supposed to be good for my gums, he better look, talk and act the dentist.

Its great that Internet's allowed for people to collaborate in a manner never seen before. Its truly transferred to an extent, power into the hands of people. In many ways its cut out the overbearing influence of 'classical expertise' that almost always dictated what the right answers to anything was and could be. But then again, the experts have their place too. If you wanted know more about economics and its applications where would go, in cyberspace? Of course not to any mass collaborators, but to some one who you think is an expert.

In fact should you want to do that, I would recommend Prof. Greg Mankiw or Prof. Mark Perry. And if you wanted, wisdom on consumer psyches, you know where to go. Don't you? :)


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