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Thursday, July 29, 2004

3 Understandings

1. Understanding how AGENDA affects BELIEF. In other words, the stakeholders are not disinterested parties, but have a stake in some outcome. This governs what they are prepared to say/not say, and what they want us to believe.

2. Understanding how TECHNOLOGY affects BELIEF. There is a general pattern of forking - either exaggerated trust in a technological solution, or exaggerated mistrust. We also note that it is sometimes easier to foster mistrust in a well-known technology company, such as Microsoft, than in a dispersed community of unknown technocrats.

Putting 2. and 3. together, we can tell stories about how alliances form between politicians or businessmen with a given agenda, and vendors with a given technology. We may also note, however, that these alliances are often fragile, since they typically rest on an impossibility -- a perfect fit between the agenda and the technology. This is (among other things) a procurement issue.

3. Understanding how POLITICS demands CERTAINTY. There is a general pattern of politicians apparently trying to convert moderate expert opinion into absolute truth. WMD, MMR, GMO. The converse of this, of course, is an intolerance of any form of RISK -- an intolerance which, as we know, typically produces more risk than it denies/suppresses.

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