The Failure of Collective Intelligence

Wikipedia Logo Full SizeI was talking to an associate tonight and we had cause to have a look at the entry for “Podcast” in Wikipedia. My discovery was the bastardized remnants of what was once a very good article.

Not only does the entry now have a warning plastered at the top as to the fact that there may be spam associated with outgoing links. The information in the entry is now totally inaccurate and boarders on heresy. Take this example:

The term “podcast” is derived from Apple’s portable music player, the iPod.

This is total rubbish. In fact this is the exact assumption made by the community at large that we as podcasters are constantly trying to change. More often than not once someone has an idea as to what podcasts are their next question is “Do I need an iPod?”.

The term “Podcast” or “Podcasting” was in fact first coined on the 12th of Feburary 2004 by Ben Hammersley in an article for “The Gardian Newspaper”:

“…all the ingredients are there for a new boom in amateur radio. But what to call it? Audioblogging? Podcasting? GuerillaMedia?”

– Guardian Unlimited [Emphasis added to quote]

This is but one example of numerous inaccuracies that have occurred over a very short period of time to this entry. Right now someone could include that a podcast is a nocturnal rabbit and it would not damage the article. So corrupted is the information that it is good for nothing. Not only that but a cursory look at associated pages and entries reveal further inaccurate and spam laden dross.

Just when I thought that Wikipedia was starting to gain some respect. This is a demonstration of why it is possible that it will never be fully trusted or respected at any level. I am certainly going to use a lot more caution when using Wikipedia as a source of information or reference, on any subject. Until this article and associated items are cleaned up I would discount the whole article as crap.

This brings into question the whole Wikipedia model in that there is wisdom in crowds. However, this proves that there are indeed flaws to making the assumption that collective intelligence is superior. Clearly people other than experts in this field or at least those that have made some sort of research attempt have edited these entries. This has been done more than once compounding the already inaccurate data. This has occurred much quicker than those qualified to do so. The result is an article that is hobbled by rubbish and dosed with spam for good measure.

At this present time on face value the whole article needs to be rewritten and reviewed and then locked down. I have witnessed the failure of collective intelligence.


A Real Computer for the Price of a Toy

There is a bit of a story to this picture.

This is a sticker on the inside of a writing desk that my mother owns. I think it was in my brother’s room for a while, or it might have been mine. But one of us saw fit to cover this; no doubt, antique with stickers! About two weeks ago I was talking to Dad and he had reason to open the cabinet. You can imagine my surprise when I found this sticker plastered to the inside!

I am not sure about the age of this sticker, but I am sure that us boys would have been somewhere between eight and 12. Back then the old Commodore VIC20 was the go. With it’s brute raw power and 20K of memory! Don’t worry we didn’t get the VIC we got the Commodore 64, double the memory man! Now that’s power!

We had great fun with the games and the useless tape system that never worked! But then disks came out and that was rad, so we didn’t have to keep count on the tape counter anymore. You know how it goes. But this is where we came from and has lead us in some ways to where we are today. I never dreamed that what we could do now would be possibile then.

Maybe my kids will be laughing as hard as I am about what we are using now. As a matter of fact I am sure they will. Enjoy the trip and whatever memories that it causes to surface in you, I did.