Every once in a while I’ll come accross statistics and numbers that strike me, surprise me or are just plain weird. But because these little factoids never seem ‘meaty’ enough to make a whole blog post out of, I thought I’d try a different approach: Let me introduce to you a game which we shall call “The Wisdom of Krauts”1 as a hat tip to James Surowiecki and his book The Wisdom of Crowds.
Surowiecki’s thesis in that book is that even a crowd of idiots can display remarkable collective intelligence. In particular, crowds seem to excel at finding correct answers to quantitative questions as long as some (often relatively benign) conditions are satisfied, individual intelligence of the group members not being one of them. They are so good, in fact, that the average guess of the people in the crowd will most often be better than that of any of the individual guesses and large groups of idiots, to put it a bit more bluntly, will quite often outperform even experts in the field.
So, in order to poke a bit of fun at Surowiecki, why don’t we try this in a group with n=2? I’ll ask a question and you guys can each put in a guess, after which I’ll reveal the correct number, fully referenced and all, and we can see how far off you were (and wildly speculate as to why). Technically this works best if you do not look at each other’s guesses before giving your own answer and, of course, don’t google for the right answer.
And now, without further ado, here’s the first question:
What percentage of men admits to having faked an orgasm in American surveys?
1 Yes, I know that technically only one of you is a real kraut. But with the other being “van duitschen bloed”, that seems like splitting hairs. *ducks*