Democracy and Trust in the Age of the Social Web

Revista: Teoría política
Número: 3 - 2013- Nuova serie
Fecha: 30-06-2013
Autor: Gloria Origgi
Precio: 5.00 Euros

Resumen: late modern democracies are characterized by a form of disenchanted trust, that is, trust that comes out of a series of procedures of taming distrust, such as contracts, law enforcements, transparent procedures (concerning vote, attribution of rights, allocation of resources, etc.), the form of trust that seems to reign over the Social Web is the most naïve and wild form of blind trust that we have ever experienced in mature societies. Why is it so? This paper is an attempt to solve the puzzle. My idea is that much discussion about trust and the Web has revolved around a conception of trust that doesn’t reflect the form of trust relationships we are involved on the net. Trust is a multifaceted notion in philosophy and social sciences that tries to capture our willingness to enter risky relationships that are potentially advantageous for both parties. Trust characterizes the fundamental uncertainty of human condition, in which we need to transfer some power of control upon our lives to others in order to survive thus giving them the power to harm us. The literature on trust in social science has tried to capture the nature of this complex and instable relation, and measure its rational bases. Yet, I don’t think that the notion of relational trust says anything about our trust in information-dense environments such as the Internet and the Social Web. Trust in these environments is first of all a form of epistemic trust, that is, trust in persons or systems through which we are able to extract relevant information. In this paper, I provide a definition of epistemic trust suitable to understand the massive trust we observe in social networks and discuss the complex relation between trust and information. The Social Web is first of all an epistemic engine that allows us to extract information about what happens around us. This use of the social web explains why it is so easy to trust in this virtual environment. I conclude that a responsible use of e-environments should encourage the production and spreading of devices whose aim is to assess the credibility of the systems that produce the so-called “trusted information” and protect users from the enchanted forms of trust they tend to develop through the Web in order to get information.

Palabras clave: Democracy. Trust. Social Web. The Internet. Information.

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