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Is Technology Making Us More Paranoid?

August 2017

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In a FastCo article, titled “How Has Technology Changed The Way We Trust?,” researcher Rachel Botsman is interviewed by Cale Guthrie Weissman about the impact that technology is having on our trust, particularly when considering how rapidly the sharing economy was seemingly embraced. When put to proper use, technology does have a tendency to allow us humans to trust one another. But, there’s always two sides to every story.

Can you talk a bit about your current project and its background?

In 2009, I wrote What’s Mine Is Yours about the so-called sharing economy. And there were really two aspects that always interested me about it. One was how you can take these idle assets and unlock their value through technology, and then the second was trust. This notion that technology could breed familiarity and enable strangers to trust one another was fascinating, and the start of something much bigger.

I started to research things like the blockchain and our relationship to artificial intelligence, and all these other technologies that transformed how we trust people, ideas, things, companies. I felt that there was a paradigm shift happening.

At the same time, it’s hard to ignore the headlines that trust is really imploding. So whether it’s banks, the media, government, churches . . . this institutional trust that is really important to society is disintegrating at an alarming rate. And so how do we trust people enough to get in a car with a total stranger and yet we don’t trust a banking executive?

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As messy as humans are, technology cannot replace the role of humans in relationships. It’s thinking about how you inject that humanness into the technology. You put people at the center; [understand] what that means without it being lip service. People are at the center of what you’re doing, not the technology. What are the implications of that?

 

Sources: How Has Technology Changed The Way We Trust? | FastCo
Photo credit: Unsplash 

 

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