The United States was founded by the brightest people in the country — and we haven’t seen them since
Crowdsourcing is basically what it sounds like: posing a question or asking for help from a large group of people. Coined as a term in 2006, crowdsourcing has taken off in the internet era. Think of Wikipedia, and its thousands of unpaid contributors, now vastly larger than the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Crowdsourcing has allowed many problems to be solved that would be impossible for experts alone. Astronomers rely on an army of volunteers to scan for new galaxies. At climateprediction.net, citizens have linked their home computers to yield more than a hundred million hours of climate modeling; it’s the world’s largest forecasting experiment.
But what if experts didn’t simply ask the crowd to donate time or answer questions? What if the crowd was asked to decide what questions to ask in the first place?
Could the crowd itself be the expert?
That’s what a team at the University of Vermont decided to explore — and the answer seems to be yes.