The Internet made collecting the wisdom of crowds vastly easier than before. Intrade, Betfair and other British and Irish betting sites became the public face of prediction markets. Google and other companies started their own internal prediction markets to help them make decisions about where to invest. The Pentagon planned one, to track threats, before deciding it did not like the image of American officials making bets about war and famine…

The answer, I think, is to take the best of what both experts and markets have to offer, realizing that the combination of the two offers a better window onto the future than either alone. Markets are at their best when they can synthesize large amounts of disparate information, as on an election night. Experts are most useful when a system exists to identify the most truly knowledgeable — a system that often resembles a market…

Think for a moment about what a Twitter feed is: it’s a personalized market of experts (and friends), in which you can build your own focus group and listen to its collective analysis about the past, present and future. An RSS feed, in which you choose blogs to read, works similarly. You make decisions about which experts are worthy of your attention, based both on your own judgments about them and on other experts’ judgments.