Last night, I was interviewed for well over an hour by the research firm GFK, one of the largest technical prognostication and industry survey firms in the world. They did not have me sign an NDA or imply I couldn't mention the discussion, so I'm going to talk a bit about it -- though not the specifics, as that is what they were paying me for.
Yes, paying me. For taking a short period of my time they are paying me quite well. And for what, you might ask?
My imagination as an SF writer, combined with my knowledge of transportation technologies.
What they wanted to do was pick my brain over what I might foresee for the automobile in the next 5-10 years or so.
This was both exciting and somewhat scary. I don't think of myself as an "expert" in anything, even in writing science fiction/fantasy. Charlie Stross finally pointed out, in one of his posts a few weeks ago, the phrase "Impostor Syndrome", which I didn't realize had a name, but that's it exactly. Intellectually, I know that by having multiple SF books published by a major SF publisher, I am de facto a professional and presumably expert SF writer. And by being a proposal writer and technical project manager for ten years, I guess I should consider myself reasonably qualified as an expert in the relevant fields.
But dear GOD I don't feel like it.
The interview was conducted very nicely, though, and I hope I gave them some useful ideas based on what I know. I'll be credited in the report, though it's an expensive enough survey that very few people are ever likely to see it.
But still, it was fun!