Reflections on trust, computing, and society

Harper, R. (2014) Reflections on trust, computing, and society. In: Trust, Computing, and Society. Cambridge University Press, pp. 299-338. ISBN 9781107038479

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The topics covered in this collection have been wide and varied. Some have been investigated in depth, others merely identified. As we move now to summarize what has been covered, it is important to remember that the goal has been to provide the reader with a sensibility for the various perspectives and points of view that can be brought to bear on the combined subject of trust, computing, and society. The book commenced with a call to arms: Chapter 2 by David Clark. Part of the sensibility in question demands one be alert, he argues, alert to the way issues of trust in society come in by the back door provided by technology and the Internet in particular. Other chapters made it clear that other capacities are required, too. A further sensibility is to be open to the diverse treatments that different perspectives (or disciplines) offer and to have the acuity not to allow those treatments to muddle each other. One has to be sensitive too to how the concept of “trust” is essentially a vernacular, used by ordinary people in everyday ways. Analysis of it must focus on that use and not be distracted by hypothesized uses, ones constructed through, say, theory or experiment – although these treatments might afford more nuanced understandings of the vernacular. Part of these vernacular practices entails inducing fear and worry. Such fear and worry can undermine some of the other aspects of the sensibility already mentioned; such as awareness of differences in points of view, and of course, beyond this, simply clarity and calmness of thought that might lead one to correctly resist the “crowding out” of other explanations that use of the word trust sometimes produces. © Richard H.R. Harper 2014.

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27 Jun 2018 09:30
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