Trust in the Digital Age: Why It Matters Now More Than Ever
Trust is fundamental to almost every action, relationship, and transaction in society, but we live in an era when technology is rapidly changing who and how we trust. The trust we used to place in traditional institutions such as governments, banks, media, and charities has hit an all-time low, and trust now flows horizontally through systems and networks that are as likely to be populated by programs and bots as by our fellow human beings. Rachel Botsman, author of Who Can You Trust?, will discuss the impacts of technology on trust — which society needs to survive and thrive, and needs now more than ever.
Rachel Botsman, visiting academic at Oxford University, thinks it’s strange when organizations say they want to rebuild trust after a crisis. Why? Because trust is given to someone after they’ve proven themselves trustworthy. For Botsman, trust requires a continual process of proving trustworthiness. It’s not an attribute that one can assign to themselves without first having earned it.
Big IdeaIn order for trust to become an asset, in order for trust to be an attribute, it works as a continual process.Rachel Botsman
If trust is, as Botsman defines it, a confident relationship to the unknown, then why is society so obsessed with transparency? Transparency and trust are often seen as symbiotic traits, but Botsman thinks we should think of them exactly the opposite. Transparency becomes important when there is a lack of trust, not an excess of it. If we as a society truly trusted Facebook, for example, no one would be calling for an increase in transparency around user consent and data sharing. Instead, according to Bostman, we would inherently trust Facebook with our data.
How big is the problem?
Tech is moving at such a breakneck pace that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with discussions about what’s appropriate and desirable — in relation to both society and our daily lives. Listen as Botsman makes the case for slowing down in response to rapid advancement: