Posted in Derren Brown News

Posted by Derren Brown News December 31, 2009 at 2:15 am

A £1million prize is being offered by the Tories for a computer system which would help shape public policy.

The party’s culture spokesman Jeremy Hunt risked ridicule yesterday by saying he wanted to harness the theory known as the Wisdom of Crowds in the manner of television illusionist Derren Brown.

It was this theory, apparently, that Brown used when he claimed to have predicted the winning National Lottery numbers live on TV.

LibDem spokesman Jenny Willott said: ‘There are already a multitude of ways to communicate with large numbers of people online.

‘They shouldn’t waste £1million of public money reinventing the wheel.’


December 31, 2009 at 2:17 am
Diane Brown says:

And about time too!!!
Di xxx

December 31, 2009 at 2:28 am
_JonBaxter_ says:

Absolutely no disristpect to the offer’s; but if anyone is STUPID enough to offer MONEY for a follow policy may I offer the following advice:

1: know your audience; and be prepared to drop them
2: play tricks in front of people they appreciate; and be prepared to drop them
3: know who supports you; and be prepared to drop them
4: be from middle-class or above (or in some instances some ‘schmuck’) and be prepared to be humiliated by your peers; then be prepared to drop them
5: Be David Miiiband

December 31, 2009 at 2:31 am

Erm, not quite sure what to make of this, to be honest…..

LC x

December 31, 2009 at 2:33 am
Catherine Jones says:

Finally a business model for twitter

December 31, 2009 at 2:36 am
simon says:

The Tories eh ? Now stupid, as well as being a bit evil. Who’d have thunk it ?

December 31, 2009 at 2:56 am
Hughes. says:

After the election I’ll expect the leak of a secret video of David Cameron, filmed this Christmas, riding on a double decker bus holding a piece of paper with an exact seat count. The week after George Osborne will bet the national budget deficit at a Casino!

December 31, 2009 at 3:07 am
Angstrom says:

This is their fix for the hole in public finances.
Fill it with lottery winnings!

December 31, 2009 at 5:00 am
Berber Anna says:

The idea is fine, but it’s hardly a ‘wisdom of crowds’ thing — the system would sort through comments to find the most sensible ones, rather than taking a common denominator, so it’s more like a sort of expert-search engine, imho. Also, it was a bit silly of him to refer to Derren’s stunt (if he did that himself and it’s not just the Mail drawing an analogy). Referring to a magician’s act isn’t gonna help your politics, even if the idea is good… it makes you look a bit silly, imho.

December 31, 2009 at 6:46 am

Imagine if the first thing the computer came out with was the idea for a laser which etched numbers onto balls.


December 31, 2009 at 7:27 am
crae says:

Now that that Event (lottery prediction) is all over and you guys have milked it for all it’s worth, perhaps you could clarify if there is any merit to the ‘Wisdom of Crowds’ technique that was shown. Or is that asking too much? I understand part of the effect was due to the ambiguous nature in which 2 possible explanations were presented, so if you still don’t want to come clean, I understand. Psychological illusionist code and all…

I’m quite interested in the ‘Wisdom of Crowds’ effect and any clarification could be useful for my own work in collective intelligence. Million squid aye? Worth a crack I guess…

December 31, 2009 at 7:36 am
crae says:

Oh and by the way, if anyone is interested in this area, this free film has some quite interesting ideas too:

Us Now, A film project about the power of mass collaboration, government and the internet

December 31, 2009 at 7:54 am
John Harris says:

Oh dear! Sounds dangerous, just look at the Daily Mail readership! Don’t they realise it was just a clever magic trick. As usual they are showing themselves to be complete idiots, but then which political party isn’t?

Happy 2010AD everyone John

December 31, 2009 at 8:13 am
alison says:

being harnessed by the tory party… is that going down with Mr Brown?!

December 31, 2009 at 8:51 am
Paul says:

So what the are saying really is Derren for Prime Minister???!!!

December 31, 2009 at 9:59 am
mason says:

idiots. ‘the wisdom of crowds’ had nothing whatsoever to do with derren’s predicting of the lottery, after the briefest of analysis that particular smokescreen made no sense at all! terrifying to think that they’ll soon be running the country.

December 31, 2009 at 10:51 am
Sally says:

Oh my God, he actually referenced Derren’s stunt as a reason. What will become of us if they get elected? *Contorts face in similar manner to “Scream” masterpiece.

December 31, 2009 at 12:04 pm
Jay says:

Even if i did have an idea for this there is no way on earth i would ever give it to them, not even for a million pounds. Most of the parties are nothing buit downright liars and cheats. They have single handedly ruined our country and left us in a state of economic unrest, whilst we all struggle with money and debts their off charging us for pot blooming noddles and second homes….here’s some collective crowd wisdom for ya…quit wasting our money, giving yourselves huge bonuses, leaving us to pick up YOUR debt and rising all our taxes to cover problems you made.

Ah glad to have gotten that off my chest there.

December 31, 2009 at 12:27 pm
Collbrum says:

Derren for primeminister, lets just cut out the middle man.

December 31, 2009 at 12:38 pm
Phil says:

Ahhhhh!!,….. it’s nice to finally hear others from a Country besides the USA have it’s inhabitants complain about their political system, debt etc I thought that we were all alone out here. I mean I know ours top yours, but still it’s a nice bit of fresh air in a weird sort of way.
Hey, I’m just saying,…

December 31, 2009 at 1:42 pm
Jess xxx says:

@ Paul You’re way ahead of me. I can see the campaign posters now; ‘Goodbye, Brown…Hello, Brown!’ 😀

Thing is, isn’t this just going to serve as more evidence to the people who think Derren is the Devil Incarnate? Derren Brown; mind reading abilities, hypnosis abilities, atheist, black clothes, goatee…and now backed by the Torys! 😮

December 31, 2009 at 2:03 pm
emi says:

Let’s just make Derren PM and be done with it. 🙂

December 31, 2009 at 2:20 pm
sean says:

lol I cant believe that actually believed mr browns showmanship…… as if that was way it worked…….wisdom of crowds my arse… stupidity of the flock more like!

December 31, 2009 at 2:37 pm
Raymond says:

Asides the fact that I found that episode of the show ludicrous and far too magicky for my taste and the pseudo explanation was rubbish (not what I expect from Andy and Derren whom I appreciate tremendously) here’s what I think of the Torie view point.

Good politics should have always been run by the wisdom/voice of the crowd. Far too little politicians these days listen to the majority of the people, their sole focus is to ignore public opinion and aim for short term plans that’ll rake in taxes. Politicians are narrow minded none inventive people who can’t deal with the real issues and plan 20 to 50 years ahead and think in a macro technical terms.
No matter where you are UK, NL, US, BE, Germany you see it everywhere and annoys me. Maybe this will help the UK, lets hope so!

December 31, 2009 at 4:08 pm
amy says:

hate to say it but willott is right. though the tories SHOULD try and communicate with the masses to see what bothers us little people, there are better ways of doing it which won’t cost that much money. i recently noticed that the lib dem candidates are all on facebook, my the rep from my area has been adding practically everyone to their friends list. now thats one very cheap way to keep abreast of what is going on.

December 31, 2009 at 5:04 pm
Berber Anna says:

crae: Wisdom of crowds is a real thing, but it’s more of a sort of law of averages, where people’s knowledge educated guesses about a subject are assumed (and found) to deviate from the truth in (for lack of better words) equal but opposite amounts, so that the collective result is better than most individual results. It works when you’re trying to guess an amount or weight that people can make an educated guess about. It also works in things like wikis, where people correct each other until a proper balance is achieved.

The lottery, however, is totally random (unless explanation II is valid 😛 ). You can stare at previous result forever, but unless the lotto balls are improperly calibrated, you’re not going to be able to make an EDUCATED guess. And however many UNeducated guesses you make, that is still a random result.

December 31, 2009 at 5:06 pm
Berber Anna says:

Ehm, knowledge OR educated guesses, of course. That’ll teach me to proofread before hitting Submit.

January 1, 2010 at 2:17 am
Elephants Child says:

We shall see the wisdom of crowds when the torys DON’T win the next election !

April 11, 2010 at 10:39 pm

I’ve been trying to contact derren for a few weeks now re: a little subliminal tag I found in the Tory Tree…. click on my name above, or search google for “the consexative party”, and let me know what you think…. there’s a poll too…