Trust Is Dead. Long Live Trust.

Tech’s Love/Hate Affair With Trust

Akarsh Nalawade
Feb 27 · 4 min read
Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

Trust Deficits

The longest non-therapeutic experiment on human beings in medical history”. That’s how the heinous Tuskegee study uncovered by Jean Heller in 1972 was reported. Disadvantaged black farmers living in Tuskegee — which had the highest rate of syphilis in the USA — were used as guinea pigs in a four-decade-long study. The aim: to see if syphilis affected Blacks like it did Whites. Bear in mind, the cure — penicillin was already known. But never administered to the syphilitic farmers, leading to hundreds of deaths. Autopsies were then carried out to gauge if syphilis indeed affected Blacks differently.

Jack of All Trades

As a pre-schooler, Jack Ma would ride his bike to the Hangzhou hotel at 5 AM every day to offer free city-tours to the travelling US politicians staying there. In return, he could hone his English-speaking skills. He did this for 9 years. As a teen, he was rejected by Harvard ten times in a row. When KFC opened in Hangzhou and was hiring, he was the only one of 24 applicants who was rejected. Throughout these dispiriting rejections, he trusted himself.

Trust Premium

Trustworthiness is a subjective quality. Not everyone who appears trustworthy should be trusted. It’s not only people who appear trustworthy that should be trusted. Botsman cites evidence in the book showing how drugs bought on the darknet are purer than those bought offline. Drug dealers aren’t quintessentially thought of as “trustworthy”. But business dealings on the darknet prove that they are. Because reputation, a close cousin of trust, is everything. Especially online. We pay a “trust premium” all the time. The last item I bought off Amazon, an iPhone adapter, was available for 20% less from another seller with a 3.6-star rating. I took the 20% hit and bought it from the 5-star seller instead. I paid the trust premium willingly.

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Akarsh Nalawade

Written by

Talkative. Easy-goer. Globetrotter. Quixotic. Polemic. Mind-changer. Tea Drinker. Nerd. I write (mostly) about the books I read.

Technology Hits

Important, high-impact, informative, and engaging stories on all aspects of technology.

Akarsh Nalawade

Written by

Talkative. Easy-goer. Globetrotter. Quixotic. Polemic. Mind-changer. Tea Drinker. Nerd. I write (mostly) about the books I read.

Technology Hits

Important, high-impact, informative, and engaging stories on all aspects of technology.

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