Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"...the elements of cyberpunk have dissolved into the whole SF genre, so itís hard to find anyone writing who doesnít owe serious debts to Gibson and his crew."
- Richard Morgan

Delphi Pool  
  A large group of people used as a statistical sampling resource; even if the correct answer is not known, responses tend to cluster around the correct answer.  

One of the key ideas in The Shockwave Rider is the notion of a Delphi group, or Delphi pool. Read on for Brunner's explanation from the book.

It works, approximately, like this.

First you corner a large - if possible, a very large - number of people who, while they've never formally studied the subject you're going to ask them about and hence are unlikely to recall the correct answer, are nonetheless plugged into the culture to which the question relates.

Then you ask them, as it might be, to estimate how many people died in the great influenza epidemic which followed World War I...

Curiously, when you consolidate their replies they tend to cluster around the actual figure as recorded in almanacs, yearbooks and statical returns.

It's rather as though this paradox has proved true: that while nobody knows what's going on around here, everybody knows what's going on around here.

Well, if it works for the past, why can't it work for the future? Three hundred million people with access to the integrated North American data-net is a nice big number of potential consultees.

From The Shockwave Rider, by John Brunner.
Published by Harper and Row in 1975
Additional resources -

Perhaps the most striking attempt to make use of this kind of idea was the Policy Analysis Market (PAM), a proposed futures exchange developed by our friends at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). PAM was intended to be a kind of "futures market" for the Middle East; investors could trade futures based on political outcomes in the region.

The idea is that the monetary value of a particular "future" (a stated outcome in Middle East politics) would tend to increase as the outcome became more likely. That is, the value of a futures issue would tend to reflect the relative likelihood of that future actually occurring.

Unfortunately, it turned out that PAM would allow trading in such events as coup d'etats and assassinations; the resulting uproar caused the cancellation of PAM.

The Delphi method was used in the late 1940's at the RAND Corporation. In their implementation, a panel of experts was regularly polled by a facilitator to predict future outcomes of events related to the Cold War. Brunner probably derives his Delphi pool idea from this work.

The name "Delphi pool" is derived from the pythia, or priestesses, of Delphi in ancient Greece. The pythia would take questions and make predictions (which modern-day geologists attribute to hydrocarbon gasses like ethylene, which bubbled up from the faults in the region).

Read more about the Policy Analysis Market.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 4 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Shockwave Rider
  More Ideas and Technology by John Brunner
  Tech news articles related to The Shockwave Rider
  Tech news articles related to works by John Brunner

Delphi Pool-related news articles:
  - Movie Moguls Put Toe In Delphi Pool
  - Global Crowd Intelligence Needs Your Help
  - SciCast Prediction Market Offers Collaborative Forecasting

Articles related to Culture
'Digital Drugs' (Like Herbert's Semuta?) Dismays Saudis
Time For A Universal Basic Income?
Will You Upload Your Mind Anytime Soon?
Blahtherapy - You Vent Anonymously To Strangers

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Linux Robot Masters Automatic Charging
'Then it appeared to make up its mind, and trundled over to a wall socket...'

PR2 Robot Dominates In Laundry Room
Where are the robots who will pick up discarded clothes?

Do You Want A Tablet Computer? Or, Fad Over?
'He would plug his foolscap-sized Newspad into the ship's information circuit'

First Person Video Flying Parrot Bebop Drone Video
'Over a radius of several miles Sonya's raytron apparatus could direct its flight...'

XPrize's Diamandis Implants RFID Tag In Hand
'People in Manhattan have replaced their Freedom Card with a radio-frequency chip about the size of a vitamin pill.'

Lightpaper Way Thinner Than OLED
'You have this on Siwenna?'

Foodini 3D Printer
''...Food slot gave him flat reddish-brown bricks.'

Parrot Bebop Drone Pairs With Your Smartphone
'Over a radius of several miles Sonya's raytron apparatus could direct its flight [using] an image of all that the lens eye saw.'

SCRIBE Enables Distributed Genomically Encoded Memory
Genomic DNA for analog, rewritable, and flexible memory.

Artisanal 3D Printing By Martha Stewart
'Nanofax AG offers a technology that digitally reproduces objects, physically, at a distance.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.