Experts versus Influencers
Posted by sprague on June 27, 2010
I’ve had too much of the Taleb Black Swan Kool-Aid and I find myself questioning virtually everything that counts as mainstream thinking. Instead of reading today’s newspaper, or this week’s Economist, try reading last year’s and you’ll come away with a deep skepticism about what you read in the more recent issues. We think of “experts” as people who, through additional education and the luxury of focus on a particular topic, are better able to discern the truth, and predict the consequences of a particular subject. But too much of what counts as expertise is simply the ability to out-shout others and to assert an opinion with more noise than others. Instead of “expert”, we should refer to these people as “influencers”. They may or may not have any more insight into the probable consequences of particular actions than anybody else, but at least they are more likely to be listened to than others.