Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge, Volume 2

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 2008 - Business & Economics - 273 pages
12 Reviews
As the dire history of planned economies highlights, small well-informed groups of people will often make far worse decisions than large numbers of people, acting independently, would make. In Infotopia, Cass Sunstein looks at the "wisdom of the many"--particularly as seen on today's
Internet--illuminating many new ways of collecting and evaluating information and making effective decisions.
Sunstein shows how the on-line efforts of many people coming together help companies, schools, governments, and individuals to amass ever-growing bodies of accurate knowledge. He describes for instance how Wikipedia, through an endless flurry of self-correcting exchanges, collects information
on everything from politics and business to science fiction. Open-source software--which licenses programmers to use, change, and improve the software--taps the power of large numbers of people to spur technological development. And prediction markets--such as the famous Iowa Electronic Market,
where people bet real money on the outcome of local and national elections--collect information in a way that allows companies, ranging from computer makers to Hollywood studios, to make better decisions about the future. Sunstein reveals why these revolutionary new methods are so astoundingly
accurate and he also shows how people can take advantage of "the wisdom of the many" without succumbing to the dangers of herd mentality.

"Sunstein, one of the biggest of America's internet big thinkers, has written an intriguing new book in which he argues that Hayek's insights about the genius of markets are equally true of the internet."
--Patti Waldmeir, Financial Times

"This extraordinary work synthesizes the latest in how we know, with the latest in what the web has become, to map more compellingly than any other book the promise and risk of the information society."
--Lawrence Lessig, author of Free Culture and The Future of Ideas

"Vivid, readable, and informativea show-me-the-money guide to what soars and what stumbles from the stable of Internet dreams."
--Jedediah Purdy, American Prospect
"Sunstein, one of the biggest of America's internet big thinkers, has written an intriguing new book in which he argues that Hayek's insights about the genius of markets are equally true of the internet. Sunstein argues, for example, that sharing scientific information online would cure some of the
worst problems of the US patent system and foster innovation much more efficiently than costly patent litigation. Sunstein recognizes all the potential flaws of such collaborative projects. Groupthink can be dangerous. But, says Sunstein, the wisdom of the many is a great thing, and sharing
knowledge online can lead to remarkable advances for companies, for governments and for the rest of us."--Patti Waldmeir, Financial Times
"A survey of the evidence on how information technology affects political debate and institutional decision making. The result is a vivid, readable, and informative work of empiricist skepticism--a show-me-the-money guide to what soars and what stumbles from the stable of Internet dreams."--Jedediah
Purdy, merican Prospect, Duke University
"This extraordinary work synthesizes the latest in how we know, with the latest in what the web has become, to map more compellingly than any other book the promise and risk of the information society. As with everything Sunstein writes, this beautiful and clear book has something to teach the
experts, and lots to teach the rest of us."-Lawrence Lessig, author of Free Culture and The Future of Ideas
"Infotopia is a persuasive and sophisticated meditation on the ways in which the Web is not just living up to its early hype, but transcending it. Cass Sunstein has given us a brilliant integrative view of how the distributed users of the Internet can band together to produce extraordinary
work--along with the circumstances that best give rise to deliberation r

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Review: Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge

User Review  - Lance Cahill - Goodreads

A good overview of how information is aggregated for decision-making purposes. While Sunstein gushes about prediction markets, I have always been skeptical given past experience. They tend to reflect ... Read full review

Review: Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge

User Review  - Hunter Johnson - Goodreads

Infotopia, by Cass R. Sunstein, has a little dry statistics textbook vibe, but the material is great. How groups make decisions, how sometimes groups make better (or worse) decisions than the average ... Read full review

About the author (2008)


Cass R. Sunstein is Karl N. Llewellyn Distinguished Service Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Chicago Law School, a contributing editor at the New Republic and the American Prospect, and a frequent contributor as well to such publications as the New York Times and the Washington Post. He is the recipient of the Henderson Prize and the Goldsmith Book Prize; his many books include Radicals in Robes, Republic.com, Why Societies Need Dissent, and Designing Democracy: What Constitutions Do. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.

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