COMPLEXITY: Physics of Life cover image

Mirta Galesic on Social Learning & Decision-making

COMPLEXITY: Physics of Life

The Value of Opinion Diversity Depends on the Complexity of the Problem and How Close Good Solutions

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Opinions within a group can be both beneficial and detrimental, depending on the task at hand. Simple tasks, like basic math equations or finding the shortest path, are better solved by following someone knowledgeable. However, most real-life situations require diverse perspectives to achieve optimal solutions. It's crucial to engage with diverse individuals and explore different options. On the other hand, for certain straightforward problems, like simple math calculations, it's best to follow the person with the best solution without extensive discussion. There are instances where excessive diversity hinders progress. Once society reaches a consensus on longstanding issues, like the existence of God or anthropogenic climate change, continuing to invite opinions can be counterproductive. Ultimately, there's a delicate balance between the amount of diversity needed depending on the problem complexity and proximity to a solution.

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