Posts tagged metaknowledge
So here we have a partial answer to why experts aren’t trusted. They aren’t trusted by people who feel alienated from them. My reading of this study would be that it isn’t that we live in a ‘post-fact’ political climate. Rather it is that attempts to take facts out of their social context won’t work. For me and my friends it seems incomprehensible to ignore the facts, whether about the science of vaccination, or the law and economics of leaving the EU. But me and my friends do very well from the status quo - the Treasury, the Bar, the University work well for us. We know who these people are, we know how they work, and we trust them because we feel they are working for us, in some wider sense. People who voted Leave do suffer from a lack of trust, and my best guess is that this is a reflection of a belief that most authorities aren’t on their side, not because they necessarily reject their status as experts.
Metaknowledge functions as a powerful bullshit detector. It can separate crowd members who actually know something from those who are guessing wildly or just parroting what everyone else says. ‘The crowd community has been insufficiently ambitious in what it tries to extract from the crowd,’ Prelec says. ‘The crowd is wise, but not in the way the error-correcting intuition assumed. There’s more information there.’ The bullshit detector isn’t perfect, but it’s the best you can do whenever you don’t know the answer yourself and have to rely on other people’s opinion. Which eyewitness do you believe? Which talking head on TV? Which scientist commenting on some controversial topic? If they demonstrate superior metaknowledge, you can take that as a sign of their superior knowledge.