TrustTalk podcast’s host Severin de Wit interviews Dr. Balázs Bodó, a researcher at the Institute of Information Law at the University of Amsterdam, describes 3 dimensions of “technology-mediated trust”. The known and unknown risks of new technologies, how we interact with these technologies, and whether they are trustworthy. Global institutions – moving at a slow pace – have failed to establish trust that they are capable of handling worldwide challenges like climate change, mass human displacement, and global pandemics, or other forms of crises. This lack of international leadership leads to a trust crisis. The emergency of new technology platforms – or “trust mediators”- facilitate coordination and establish trust between strangers through various methods. Platforms, such as Uber, or Airbnb manage reputations; blockchain technologies try to minimize the need for trust; AI systems promise to reduce future uncertainties.
Balázs Bodó touches on the relationship between risks and trust and the “costs of trust”. He contrasts technologies where trust was verifiable, such as the workings of nuclear reactors, and digital technologies where it is much more difficult to establish their trustworthiness. Unlike global organizations and governments, technological trust mediators may be able to establish trust among users, but we must think about how they can do it in a verifiable and trustworthy manner.
The first dimension is what Balázs Bodó describes as the “unknown risks of new technologies” The second dimension is how these new technologies actually shape how we see each other in interpersonal relations. They also change how we interact with the institutions. So when the police start to use predictive policing technology or the healthcare system starts to use AI to actually diagnose, then, or trust vis-a-vis these institutions changes, right, because there is a new technology that we are using. The third dimension is whether these technologies that we rely on more and more are trustworthy. Can we trust them?
There are fast-moving domains in life and there are slow-moving domains in life. Institutional development is a very slow-moving glacial thing, but technology development, on the other hand, is super fast. So what Balázs Bodó sees is that in response to this need for global coordination, institutional background, we have seen the emergence of a number of technologies or platforms or services which enable facilitate coordination between strangers in a particular niche. So Uber allows you to travel to India and sit in a stranger’s car, Airbnb allows you to travel to Indonesia and sleep in a stranger’s bed, and there are a number of these global digital platforms that emerged in the last 10 years, which facilitate cooperation across the globe among strangers.
Listen to this interview below.or on all major platforms (Apple, Google, Spotify, etc.) , or on this website (see under “Podcasts” at the Home page of Trusttalk.co, Or read the transcript of this interview below. The full PDF can be downloaded here.
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