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Random ramblings of a random wolf
Random Multi-Million Web 2.0 Idea: Crowdsourcing Psychics! 
17th-Feb-2009 06:17 pm
James Wagg rants on James Randi Educational Foundation about a website that provides free-of-charge psychic readings.

One thought immediately occurred to me: Wow, in the pre-Web era, the psychics charged an arm and leg for their services. Now, this service is clearly Web 1.0: Crazy idea, some venture capital, free service for the customers, and the folks are not-so-desperately looking for a way to make money.

A further thought, immediately afterwards: Wouldn't it be neat if there was a true Web 2.0 psychic website?

Web 2.0 has been so far a venture capitalist's nightmare: No one knows how the hell Twitter (for example) is going to turn profit, and the only people who keep their head above the water seem to be, uh, Google and Wikipedia. (And Wikipedia only because we seem to have have principles.) Thus, the fact that the psychic site would be a Web 2.0 site would immediately banish all thoughts that this site is there only for money. (The site still needs money, hence "Multi-Million" in the title of this post.)

And thanks to the crowdsourcing aspect of Web 2.0, we can break the hegemony of only having a single psychic on a single site! A Web 2.0 Psychic Service would be a truly open meeting place for people needing a psychic's help and psychics who are willing to provide the help.

Indeed, a Web 2.0 Psychic Service would evaporate a bunch of very serious issues that usually mar the reputations of the psychics. The service could be organised into tasks that anyone can contribute to, thus providing the best possible results for the person needing the help.

Thus it follows that there would be no need to limit the operations to merely ordinary people and psychics; other kinds of people could also provide valuable feedback in the cases in question. Some psychics had been foisting quack medicine as well; why not also let qualified medical personnel have their say? Some psychics are quick to attack their critics; why not let everyone discuss about things openly and freely?

Open mashuplet support would also provide easy access to the underlying Creative Commons-based data. Certain people have had occasional small problems tracking the track records of some psychics, but open data access would provide extremely fruitful bedrock for powerful, web-embeddable statistical analysis, that could also be syndicated in RSS/Atom format.

(Aww heck. I started this half-seriously and now I'm spouting nonsense again. I guess it's time for six hours of Halo or something.)
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