Here’s an old (2020) but interesting BBC podcast by Aleks Krotoski on Trust in a virtual, digital world.
It asks “Is computer-mediated communication eroding trust? Or, does it make trust stronger? Or, are we more likely to misplace it more now that we can’t see, touch and smell a person’s true intentions?”
It looks at:
- pathology - parkinsons’ patients can trust an avatar more than their doctor
- videoconferencing and creating / ‘manufacturing’ a trustworthy persona… what we disclose, and how… the ‘new’ skills needed
- the narrowness of bandwidth to convey empathy: the ‘reverse engineering’ of trust in a digital scenario…
- untrustworthy people and how we can be easily duped… how to verify?
- surveillance technology - eroding trust on the employee side of the relationship
- self-trust, self-discipline, self-value … are we adrift / afloat without the checks and balances of a workplace environment?.. is this why co-working spaces are so popular? Is it why so many remote workers actually work harder, and over-compensate for new ‘digital freedom’?
A lot of this applies in our world of digital co-operative collaboration, where the human governance of processes, ‘circles’, ‘rituals’, ‘socials’ in all types of virtual meetings are important, especially when the structures and roles are more fluid.
Aleks ends with a proposition that this ‘exercise in personal autonomy’ is going to make us stronger and our ‘system’ more resilient…
OK… but what about those who are at a digital disadvantage on the ‘narrow social bandwidth’ of a zoom call? What are the persona perceptions, preferences and bias in other channels (chat, mail, socials)? In the end, we have to consider and design for all these things if we are a ‘community’. (Aleks says more about that in a separate podcast episode called “Flip” )
Personally, I’m not sure that ‘personal autonomy’ is a sufficient condition for ‘systemic’ strength and resilience. The ‘system’ could do with more design for co-operation, solidarity and respect for common resources as well!
(PS I liked the picture of the crow, the computer and a fox in the artwork for this podcast. It’s taken from the lovely old French child’s poem Le Corbeau et le Renard. I think it’s a welcome, and more subtle build on trust than the overworked meme “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog” )