Mediated Trust – A Theoretical Framework to Address the Trustworthiness of Technological Trust Mediators
20 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2019
Date Written: September 28, 2019
This paper introduces the new theoretical concept of technology mediated trust, or in short, mediated trust to capture and analyze the role of complex techno-social assemblages in trust production and distrust management. Societies are increasingly reliant on digital technologies to collect data; sort, rank and filter users and information in order to ease communication, commerce, or collaboration. This paper considers the impact of these digital practices on the interpersonal and institutional logics of trust production. The first part of the paper argues that globalization and digitalization unleashed a trust crisis, as the traditional institutional and interpersonal logics are not attuned to produce trust and manage distrust at the scale and speed of global networks of communication, media, finance, etc. In the second part, the paper describes how digital intermediation changes the traditional logics of interpersonal trust formation, and creates new trust mediating services. It also considers how old institutional forms of trust production are affected by the fact that these institutions employ digital technologies in their processes, and describes new, technological forms of institutional trust production. Finally, the paper asks the question: why should we trust these technological trust mediators? The analysis concludes at best, it is impossible to establish the trustworthiness trust mediators, at worst, we have no reason to trust them.
Keywords: trust, institutional trust, interpersonal trust, mediation, digital technology
JEL Classification: O33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation