Trust dynamics in the digital society: a research agenda

ConTrust Speaker Series

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022, 6.15 p.m.

Prof. Dr. Balázs Bodó (University of Amsterdam)

Welcome address: Prof. Dr. Alexander Peukert (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, ConTrust)

Building „Normative Ordnungen", EG 01
Max Horkheimer Str. 2
60323 Frankfurt

and online via Zoom. Please register in advance: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The digital society relies on an ever-expanding network of digital infrastructures. This forces us to rethink some of our basic assumptions about one of the most fundamental resources in all interpersonal, social, economic relations: trust.
Our newly established interdisciplinary research initiative at the University of Amsterdam will look at trust dynamics in the digital society from three perspectives. First, we would like to address the fundamental problem, that despite their widespread use, we know little about the trustworthiness of our digital infrastructures. At best it is difficult to establish their trustworthiness (such as with AI), at worst they are proven to be untrustworthy (as is the case with social media). Second, we aim to understand the role these digital infrastructures play in interpersonal and societal trust dynamics. They disrupt existing trust relations and offer new ways to trust each other. Third we hope to improve upon our current scientific methods and theories, which face serious limits when it comes to the study of change of social structures, institutions, and processes under the conditions of rapid technological transformation. Research on trust in technology and trust by technology is siloed, and focuses on narrowly defined technologies (AI), or problems (system security), and lacks a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, long-term-view.

Prof. Dr. Balazs Bodo is an economist, social scientist, Associate Professor at the Institute for Information Law, University of Amsterdam. He is the director of the Universities interdisciplinary "Trust in the digital society" Research Priority Area. He was a Fulbright Visiting Researcher at Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society in 2006/7 and a Fellow at the Center between 2006 and 2012. In 2012/13 he was a Fulbright Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. In 2013 he moved to Amsterdam as a Marie Curie Fellow at the Institute for Information Law (IViR) at the University of Amsterdam. In 2018 he received an ERC Starting Grant to study the legal, and political implications of blockchain based technologies, and started the Blockchain & Society Policy Research Lab. In 2019 he has been a senior visiting fellow at the Weizenbaum-Institut für die vernetzte Gesellschaft, Berlin. His academic interests include copyright and economics, piracy, media regulation, peer-to-peer communities, shadow libraries, digital archives, informal media economies, and similar regulatory conflicts around new technological architectures.

Presented by:
„ConTrust. Vertrauen im Konflikt. Politisches Zusammenleben unter Bedingungen der Ungewissheit“ – ein Clusterprojekt des Landes Hessen am Forschungsverbund „Normative Ordnungen“ der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main


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