"In Code We Trust": Report 2 of 4 in Digital Happiness Series
"In Code We Trust" is the second report in a series of four, on our new research theme “Digital Happiness”. Trust is one of the six key variables that have been found to support wellbeing according to the World Happiness Report of 2018. Trust and happiness are closely related. Trust has become such an important part of the current tech-debate, we decided, therefore, to investigate the concept more in depth.
For the past eighteen years PR agency Edelman has been measuring World Wide Trust levels. The 2018 version of their trust barometer showed a Total Meltdown of trust in corporations and institutions while at the same time the trust in technology continues to be remarkably high.
What is trust?
Trust is defined as a confident relationship with the unknown. But we're far from comfortable looking at the unknown future. We clearly see how trust is shifting from the institutional hierarchies towards the network economy. Every organization is at risk of being disrupted by a more trusted version of itself. Organizations like Tripadvisor, Amazon and Airbnb are using reviews and ratings to organize our trust. But at the same time, they are so successful at monetizing their platforms, that trust is becoming a monopoly. Can we trust markets where so much power is in the hand of just a few companies?
What is real?
And while trust is steadily shifting, our perception of what is real and what is not continues to be disrupted. Facebook, Twitter and Google have primarily based their business models on advertising. These so-called attention merchants are massively publishing clickbait content and fake news to draw us in. Can we really put our trust in their code organizing our lives while losing grip on the truth?
So, before we all take a huge leap into the unknown, we should reconsider how to organize trust in a sustainable manner. Can we distribute trust in technology-based solutions such as the token economy, autonomous intelligent systems and self-organizing platforms? Are we trust-ready for the next digital waves, for instance in biotechnology? What are our options really and what should we take into consideration before we decide who and what to trust?
- Will your company be disrupted by a more trusted version of itself?
- Can code really be trusted and how can the entire IT industry work to improve the status-quo?
- Will citizens and consumers take back control over their digital identity and data?
These are some of the questions we will address in our ‘In Code We Trust’ Report.
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