Cass R. Sunstein is a professor at the University of Chicago Law School and a prolific writer. In Infotopia, he portrays the various options for gathering information. Prediction markets, wikis, blogs and open source software are among the choices that he reviews. Deliberation is a process of decision making that most of us are familiar with, particularly if we’ve served on a jury. Sunstein describes the strengths and weaknesses of that process and how it can be improved or impaired depending on the size of the group and the influence of “experts” in the group. While the transference of the knowledge and techniques described in many of these chapters may not currently be available to many small businesses, the fact that some of our largest and sophisticated corporations (Google, Microsoft) are utilizing them, may give rise to a wider and more affordable access in the future.
Infotopia is not a book intended for mass audiences. Sunstein’s research and writing provides a reader interested in trends and statistical analysis of large populations a background solid enough to ask the right questions of a consultant or employee statistician.