Swarms vs Wisdom of the Crowd

A comparison of intelligence

Researchers Louis Rosenberg and David Baltaxe at Unanimous AI and Niccolo Pescetelli of the University of Oxford have compared Collective Intelligence, also known as “wisdom of the crowd” with the intelligence resulting from Swarm® technology. Their findings show that Swarms outperform group intelligence by leveraging properties found in nature.

Aggregate Data

When asked to guess the weight of an ox at the county fair, attendees are unlikely to be correct. But if all of their responses are averaged, the answer would be close. This is the experience of Sir Francis Galton, whose experiment in 1906 is considered the birth of collective intelligence. Galton discovered that individual guesses varied significantly and few were close to the correct weight, but by aggregating the data he could report a better estimation. The concept of utilizing aggregate data to answer questions, make predictions and reach decisions is still common. Swarm® technology takes a new approach entirely: bring the collective group together in a real-time, closed loop feedback system based on nature. Bees, fish and birds do not aggregate data, instead they work in synchrony to make optimized decisions.


Collective intelligence, or wisdom of the crowd, provides results that are more accurate than those of individual participants, but Swarm® takes accuracy to a new level. In reviewing results from an Oscars poll, the researchers found that individuals had a prediction success rate of 40% and the crowd aggregate success rate was 47%. The same individuals, when working as a Swarm, achieved 73% accuracy in their predictions. The researchers then extended their work into sports betting. There they improved to a Swarm success rate of 68%, while also utilizing 29 participants instead of 469. (Read more about Swarm vs Survey size here.) In breaking down the accuracy rates for individual members of the group, there were just four participants in the larger group that outperformed the Swarm. This means that Swarm outperformed the wisdom of the crowd by 99%.

wisdom of the crowd

Final Guidance

Swarming is a unique and powerful method for harnessing the collective knowledge, wisdom, intuition, and insights of human groups. It enables diverse participants to quickly converge on optimized solutions with the support of real-time intelligence algorithms. While it’s tempting to compare the process to polls, surveys, and focus groups, the relationship is tenuous. Swarming is a unique instrument that treats participants as active members of a real-time control system. In contrast, wisdom of the crowd reduces individuals to passive data points for statistical aggregation. At the same time, the Swarm platform evokes more authentic sentiments from individuals as they act, react, and interact with other participants, enabling the group to discover those solutions that best represent their collective conviction rather than resorting to a crude statistical average.