Algorithmically mediating communication to enhance collective decision-making in online social networks

Collective Intelligence(2024)

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Abstract
Digitally enabled means for judgment aggregation have renewed interest in “wisdom of the crowd” effects and kick-started collective intelligence design as an emerging field in the cognitive and computational sciences. A keenly debated question here is whether social influence helps or hinders collective accuracy on estimation tasks, with recent results on the role of network structure hinting at a reconciliation of seemingly contradictory past results. Yet, despite a growing body of literature linking social network structure and collective accuracy, strategies for exploiting network structure to harness crowd wisdom are underexplored. We introduce one such strategy: rewiring algorithms that dynamically manipulate the structure of communicating social networks. Through agent-based simulations and an online multiplayer experiment, we provide a proof of concept showing how rewiring algorithms can increase the accuracy of collective estimations—even in the absence of knowledge of the ground truth. However, we also find that the algorithms’ effects are contingent on the distribution of estimates initially held by individuals before communication occurs. •Human-centered computing → Collaborative and social computing• Applied computing → Psychology.
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Key words
collective intelligence,decision-making,wisdom of crowds,social networks
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