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Does a mass on a mammogram indicate breast cancer? Will Serbia be a member of the EU by 2025? Will there be more floods in Germany in five years’ time? The diagnoses and predictions made by doctors, scientists, and experts often have far-reaching consequences. And in many cases, it is only years later that it is possible to say which expert made the right call most often.

An interdisciplinary research team from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries has developed a simple new method that can be used to identify the best decision-makers from a group of experts without having to know whether their decisions — past or present — are correct or incorrect. “Providing that at least half of all decisions made within the group are correct — which is typically the case in expert groups — and that each person has made about 20 yes/no decisions, this method has proved to work very well,” says Max Wolf, researcher at the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries and co-author of the study.

The method was developed on the basis of insights into collective intelligence. It rests on a simple assumption: Those individuals in a group of experts who make decisions that are most similar to the decisions of others also make the best decisions. For yes/no decisions, this assumption is easily confirmed by means of mathematical modeling. To test whether the method also works in real groups, the researchers analyzed published predictions and diagnoses made by various groups in different fields. (1)

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Great method. Which also seems to work.

But should we trust it?

Be aware of the things which work.

Decisions of most people tend to be correct. But from when do “most of the people” reach the correct decision on any of the great philosophical questions? The truth is never revealed to the many. For even if that seems so now, at the end you will see that the path was wrong.

We strive for live.

We are afraid of death.

And yet…

What is life?

What is death?

Trust not the many but the one man standing aside the crowd silent.

It is there that you will find the truth screaming…