Summary of We’ve Stopped Trusting Institutions and Started Trusting Strangers

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We’ve Stopped Trusting Institutions and Started Trusting Strangers summary
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In 2016, TED favorite Rachel Botsman returned to the famous red circle for a talk that remains relevant years later. A researcher, author and originator of the concept of “collaborative consumption,” Botsman speaks to the dynamics of trust and technology, with take-aways for businesses, individuals, economists, and more.

About the Speaker

Author and researcher Rachel Botsman explores the impact of tech-enabled collaboration and trust.



Innovative technology is strengthening people’s trust in the unknown – including unacquainted people, unfamiliar companies and novel concepts.

New technologies behind Airbnb, Tinder, and other companies have made people more comfortable trusting strangers, unknown businesses and unfamiliar concepts.

For instance, the French ride-sharing service BlaBlaCar connects drivers and passengers who want to make the same long-haul drives. BlaBlaCar’s user profiles allow travelers to indicate their individual preferences – smoking habits, animal companions, taste in music and chattiness – to help road-trippers confidently choose compatible escorts. The website also allows users to rate one another. Each month, more than four million people use the service, defying the childhood lesson that urges against entering a stranger’s car.

As “distributed trust” grows, trust in institutions is eroding.

Society relies on trust in order ...

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