In The Green Family Chronicles and Social Techs, Ken Green became the worlds richest man by applying his own corrected version of the techniques described in the non-fiction books Social Technology and The Delphi Method, and in the novel by John Brunner called The Shockwave Rider.
Ken realized that the common error of the two books of research reports was ignoring error covariance. They described experiments using small groups of people to do things like predict the future, but ignored the fact that different people may tend to make the same kinds of mistakes. The individuals used as experts should have been tested against one another to correct for this before being assembled into predictive groups. Like so many of his novels, John Brunner’s novel is particularly insightful. It also ignores the matter of error covariance, but shows an intuitive understanding of the fact that the larger the group of people involved, the more diversity will be found, and thus the error covariance of the so-called Delphi Pool will be less.
What the fictional Ken Green did was take care to minimize error covariance in two ways:
- he created groups of people with as little error covariance of possible by having them predict future realworld facts, and comparing their answers for correctness. Mathematical methods based on graph theory and cluster analysis were then used to create very effective focus groups to give him investment advice,
- he also used mathematical methods to factor out the remaining error covariance from their combined answers when they made predictions about good investments.
In this way he became the richest man in the world. Try it yourself! Details will be given in another post. Note, the methods are briefly described on my website about Commercial Applications of Social Technology.