kei’s notes

Trust is weaken when beliefs are shaken

We hold expectation when we enter in trust bond. We expect the outcome to be realised in the way as how the transaction is prescribed (or promised) on this trust bond.

  • Trust is about encapsulated interest, closed loop of each party’s self-interests. If we entrust someone to perform a task, we are trusting that they are going to follow it through, because they are also having their self-interest in our common relationship’s longitivtiy (Botsman; ch. 5).

When the outcome does not match with our expectation, people question the legitimacy of this transaction; and hence, this trust bond / connection; and further, the integrity of the opposite party.

  • Despite consent written in the Terms & Conditions of Facebook, social emotion research on News Feed still stirred uproar of mass users and has been considered as a major trust breach of the century because people trusted in Facebook and its use of algorithms; they had trust in Facebook that it would not treat them in this way as guinea pigs or laboratory rats (Botsman; ch. 4).
  • People are losing faith in institutions because we often witness powerful and rich wrong-doers can go away without much repercussions easily. Despite they may be just a few, it strengthens the generalised image to represent their related sectors. Especially these people being the representatives/elites of institutions, they fail the safety net on which we once relied. A case of mistrust can be spilt over to likewise institutions in the same branch. In this way, an occasional, specific case can lead us to a spiralling trust free fall, extensible from the top of the society sideways to the society (Botsman; ch. 2).

Accountability (and the deed and manner to bear responsibilities) is crucial in sustaining trust bond when things go wrong.

  • New institutions (e.g. Uber, Airbnb) are taking the role of middleman between two parties. Compared to traditional companies, their role is ambiguous when incidents happen as the boundaries of responsibility remains unclear (Botsman; ch. 4).
  • When AI kills, who bears the responsibility? The code, the coder, or the code owner? The ambiguity is remarkable compared to dogs and dog owners (Botsman; ch. 8).
  • [Court case][Uber case] for the first kill by self-driving car has acquitted Uber of responsibility but the driver’s. How much would/can drivers still rely on these vehicles/technology/company?

Last update: 2020-09-19


Botsman, Rachel. Who Can You Trust? How Technology Brought Us Together and Why It Might Drive Us Apart. Perseus Books, 2017.

Trust is weaken when beliefs are shaken