On Tuesday 5th June, the Williams project welcomed Chigwell School’s very own Mr Ennis. Mr Ennis spoke to us on the subject of ‘The Wisdom of Crowds- are the many really smarter than the few?’. The audience was captivated by the mélange of statistics and psychology that was on offer.
The talk started off with Mr Ennis educating us about various economic crises such as the Sub-Prime crisis which affected the mortgage industry due to borrowers being approved for loans they could not afford and as a result leading to the collapse of leading institutions and big hedge funds globally.
Then, we were shown various quotes on the subject of crowds which were very interesting to read such as “Madness is the exception in individuals but the rule in groups” (Nietzsche) and “I do not believe in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance” (Carlyle).
Mr Ennis organised an intriguing experiment which allowed us to understand whether the many really were smarter than the few. First, we individually filled out a question sheet of a selection of random questions, then, we were put into groups to come up with an answer to the same questions. Some very interesting discussions arose whilst we were trying to figure out suitable answers for questions such as ‘What age are you most likely to die?’.
Whilst we were in our groups, Mr Ennis was working very hard in order to calculate various statistics from our individual questionnaires to then compare with our group questionnaires. And so, after some very quick calculations, on this occasion, it seemed as though the few were smarter than the many!
On behalf of all who attended, we would like to thank Mr Ennis for all of his great efforts. The talk was enthralling and certainly brought our attention to the wisdom of crowds- a key principle underlying modern day democracy and economics. Thank you Mr Ennis!