Cumulus weather boxSometimes, Crowdsourcing isn’t the answer. Cute new experiment cumul.us is one of these instances.

What makes it simple and accurate is that it collects weather forecasts from several sources and combines them together to give you a more accurate average, using the idea of the “wisdom of crowds”. In short, cumul.us is the “wisdom of clouds”. Not only is there data from meteorological sources, but people can make predictions themselves.

Sounds okay, right? The problem is that meteorological sources are much more advanced than human predictions. This site’s purpose is akin to having a crowdsourced calculator, where users pitch in on what the actual answer might be if the computer gets it wrong. Meteorological predications are something fully embedded in calculation, and while experts help, the common human touch is absolutely unnecessary. The other function of the site if for users to say what they’ll be wearing (jeans, skirt, etc.) another function that needs no crowd mentality whatsoever.

Crowdsourcing is exciting and shows phenomenal potential for future development of society. However, as cumul.us fails to utilize, a useful crowdsourcing model should follow these rules:

  • the task being replaced is predominantly abstract (cognitive) rather than logical i.e. image semantics
  • the wisdom of the crowds should show improvement over the wisdom of one i.e. Wikipedia
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