For the past eighteen years PR agency Edelman has been measuring World Wide Trust levels. The 2017 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.
In Code We Trust is the second report in a series of four from our new research theme 'Digital Happiness'. Trust is one of the six most important variables that have been identified as supporting well-being (according to the World Happiness Report of 2018). Trust has become such an important part of the current debate on technology, which is why we have fully dedicated our second research report to this.
Trust is defined as a confident relationship with the unknown. But we are far from comfortable when we look at the unknown future. We are seeing trust currently shifting from institutional hierarchies to the network economy in distributed and decentralized business models. Every organization threatens to be disturbed by a more familiar version of itself. Blockchain start-ups offer alternatives to give citizens and consumers more confidence about what is being done with their data. Organizations such as Tripadvisor, Amazon and Airbnb use ratings and reviews to organize our trust. At the same time, they are so successful in generating revenue with their platforms, that trust is becoming a monopoly. Can we trust markets where so much power is in the hands of just a few companies?
While confidence is steadily shifting, our perception of what is real and what is not, is disturbed. Facebook, Twitter and Google have mainly based their business models on advertising. These so-called attention traders publish massive clickbait and fake news to keep our attention. To what extent can we trust their code to organize our lives without losing control of the truth? Before we all make a big leap into the unknown, we must first reconsider how we can organize trust in a sustainable way. Can we rely on technology-based solutions such as the token economy, autonomous intelligent systems and self-organizing platforms? Are we ready for the next digital disruption, for example in biotechnology, if we do not have it all in order digitally yet? What are our options and what do we need to take into account before deciding who and what we trust?
• Is your company competing with a more familiar 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 of their digital identity and data?
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