Postscript and Acknowledgments

The prophets are silent now; oracles stay away from Earth; Go! Delphic flock, look for gods in another place.

—Johannes Kepler, Eulogy for Tycho Brahe (1601)

My own interest in the subject of prediction markets did not start with the tale of Francis Galton’s ox or with Surowiecki’s The Wisdom of Crowds, but it was certainly tweaked by each. Surowiecki’s book only touches on prediction markets; it explores a fascinating mix of cognitive and other examples of groups sharing collective intelligence and producing accurate answers. Surowiecki’s title is a reference to Charles MacKay’s skeptical 1841 classic, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. MacKay cited the herd mentality that led to the ...

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