Monday, February 13, 2012

Knowledge and Acceptance

Here's a survey that essentially argues the more we know about something, the more accepting we are.  The something in this case is the "smart grid."  You probably know the "smart grid" best in terms of those "smart meters" they're sticking on houses to measure and help control power costs and consumption.

(as an aside, the wingnuts out there are convinced such smart meters are part of a UN plot to take over the world)

To get to the knowledge part, scroll down the story to the Knowledge is Key subhead.  The story tells us, for example, that "there is a strong correlation between basic knowledge and willingness to change behavior patterns to meet broad goals."  What it fails to tell us, of course, is how the hell they measured knowledge.  And there are other issues.  More on those in a moment.

More fun:  "However, this pattern is reversed in issues related to privacy. Here, the more knowledge consumers had about energy, the more concerned they were with privacy issues with home energy-usage data."

In Other Words:  the more people knew about the smart grid, the more they liked it but the more they worried about it too. 

In Other Words Part 2:  the more people knew about the smart grid, the more they could answer question about it in a direction that makes, let's face it, common sense.

And finally -- irony alert.  The folks who conducted the survey, IBM, also happen to sell technologies having to do with, yes, smart grids and smart meters.  With some rooting around I found this page that gives some of the survey details (an N of 15,000 across 15 countries).  Here's my favorite.  It looks as if part of the knowledge test involved whether the respondents had heard of smart grids, which in turn is (gasp!) associated with their attitudes toward smart grids.

Our final lesson?  Surveys of this type are designed to get the results you want, which in turn become press releases and web fodder and, eventually, uninteresting blog posts by myself.

No comments: