Our SCALINGS partner, Gianluigi Viscusi (Imperial College Business School) is taking part in the Open Sessions at the 2020 Joint Session of the Mind Association & the Aristotelian Society, organised by University of Kent on 10-12 July. He will be considering crowdsourcing as a potential subject of investigation for collective epistemology. The Open Sessions will be available here from 17:00 today, 10 July 2020.
Crowdsourcing as Epistemic Landscape
In this article, I consider crowdsourcing as a potential subject of investigation for collective epistemology. To this end, I bridge that discipline’s arguments to contributions from the fields of research in management and innovation. Consequently, considering what has been there identified as characteristics of crowdsourcing, I problematise them against some themes of social epistemology, especially considering the division of cognitive labour and the role of diversity. Thus, I argue that studying crowdsourcing as an epistemic landscape may lead to the question how its characteristics contribute to its configuration as well as to its epistemic outcomes; in particular, I analyse how the pervasiveness of problem-solving, the different forms of organizing (spanning from value-oriented communities to merely goal or task-oriented collectives), the seriality of actions and the self-selection of members impact on cognitive diversity and eventually to the epistemic performance of crowdsourcing. Those points are particularly relevant to position crowdsourcing as a subject of research for the field of collective epistemology that has nonetheless already analysed crowd-driven initiatives such as, e.g., Wikipedia.