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Do surveys make you blind?

The world is awash in reports, from think tanks and research companies, telling us what the next social or tech trend is going to be. Europe’s research policy makers had a good idea: aggregate the best of these, and see what picture emerges. They created the Fistera network to bring together national foresight exercises on information society issues in the Enlarged Europe. Fistera recently asked 505 experts to prioritise research issues for 2010. The resulting report contains dozens of bar charts but, at the end of the day, it’s like reading 50 blogs that all link to each other: the gamekeeper/fox conclusion that emerged was that the number one priority is “establishing more user-friendly systems”. It’s a great business model: first, you fill the world full of clunky systems that don’t work properly, and stress out the citizenry – then you demand a ton of money to make them “usable”.

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