From Gabriella Coleman’s Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy loc 4085. I think understanding this “pervasive cottage industry” is necessary if we are to analyse the present circumstances of the social sciences under digital capitalism, as well as their future prospects and problems:
There is a pervasive cottage industry (in the form of think tanks, organizations, and motivational speakers, many from academia, especially pundits who love to inflate the promise of technology) that exists to capture wisdom from every corner of the globe (from gang culture to the Arab Spring) and convert it into a formula for corporate success. This is done so that corporate executives can keep abreast of global challenges, feel great about what they do, strengthen corporate cultural machinery, and make a lot of money off of culture that they don’t have to invest in. I suspect in some instances, when corporate executives hone in on a phenomenon like open source, they not only harvest insights for their corporations, but have the power to recalibrate public opinion on the topic. We know very little about the reach of these networks and the possible effects that “futurescanning” might aggregate. It is a subject that would certainly be worth understanding better. Maybe we need to “futurescan” futurescanning ourselves.