I attended a session at the Coalition for Networked Information Task Force Meeting on "Prediction Markets for Emerging Technologies: An Experiment in the Wisdom of the Crowds." Bryan Alexander, Director for Research at NITLE, talked about their use of Inkling prediction markets platform to launch and track markets related to emerging technologies possibilities. For example, one market posits "Will Google Docs emerge as the dominant collaborative authoring service among faculty by spring 2009?" When I logged in, trading was down $1.85 on and the market is currently predicting a 35% chance that this will occur. When you sign up (free), you get $5k to trade with leverage your intution/knowledge/luck to make some money and add your voice to the crowd. Alexander was careful to mention a number of times that this is a more robust and fluid way to gauge public opinion than a simple survey, which really only gathers a static snapshot of opinion that may otherwise fluctuate if collected over a longer period of time.
One commenter at the session mentioned, accurately in my opinion, that market trading would vary greatly depending on whether it was a regional, national, or global market. NYC, as its own microcosm, might yield widely different trading activity and predictions compared with a similar market in different cities. I'm wondering if there might be a place for a prediction markets game in the METRO membership to help leverage our collective knowledge to gauge NYC's adoption/rejection/ambivalence of emerging technologies in our libraries.
If your curiosity is piqued, I'd encourage you to sign up and play the market yourself.