AgeLab's In Technology We Trust Conference Draws Together Leaders Across Fields and Disciplines

AgeLab's In Technology We Trust Conference Draws Together Leaders Across Fields and Disciplines

Tue, 11/20/2018

On November 20, 2018, the MIT AgeLab held an event titled “In Technology We Trust? Generational Attitudes toward a Technology Enabled-Life.” Composed of three panels of leaders in the domains of autonomous vehicles, home technology, and advice and media, the event sought to illuminate the intersection between emerging technologies in the 21st century and attitudes of trust across generations. Even as technological systems grow ever more effective and efficient, there may be an emerging social engineering crisis of trust in these systems and the companies that offer them.

AgeLab Research Scientist Lisa D’Ambrosio provided opening remarks, framing trust as a central component to the decisions that individuals make across their everyday lives: when reading the news, when shopping online, when getting into a car, when seeing a doctor.

The first panel dealt with the subject of vehicle automation and the future of self-driving cars. Moderated by AgeLab Research Scientist Bryan Reimer, the panel included Aptiv Automated Mobility President Karl Iagemma, Liberty Mutual Director of Strategic Transporation Partnerships Christopher Tassone, founder of Hart Solutions LLP and former National Transportation Safety Board chair Christopher Hart, and AgeLab Research Scientist Bobbie Seppelt. The panel primarily discussed the obstacles that autonomous vehicle technologies must overcome to secure widespread adoption among consumers.

Connected technology in the home was the topic of the second panel, which was led by AgeLab Research Scientist Chaiwoo Lee, and included Akamai Chief Security Officer Andy Ellis, The Hartford Chief Information Security Officer Bill Downes, Stanley Black & Decker Product Manager Michael Abcunas, and Philips Research Senior Scientist Ali Samadani. Dr. Lee framed the discussion around the increased desire among both younger and older Americans for improved convenience, connectivity, and care through the use of new technologies.

The third panel discussed the proliferation of sources of information and advice in the areas of healthcare, finance, and the news. Moderated by AgeLab researcher Julie Miller, the panel featured the University of Minnesota Executive in Residence Dr. Archelle Georgiou, Fidelity Investments Senior Vice President Brooke Forbes, and former Boston Globe Spotlight team reporter and Northeastern University Professor Matthew Carroll. The panel explored challenges around navigating the proliferation of sources of advice via the Internet and personal technologies.

The event concluded with a final segment led by AgeLab researcher and writer Luke Yoquinto and AARP Research Center head Alison Bryant. They looked at the audience’s responses to trust-related questions, such as whether they would purchase health insurance from Amazon—many said they were willing—and the ambiguous answers to questions of how trust is built and lost by companies, products, and other entities.

In her closing remarks, Dr. D’Ambrosio highlighted the importance of the “over-time” in the building of trust: trust is, in part, an empirical formulation derived from repeated positive interactions with a person or entity. It represents not only a cornerstone of technology adoption, but an element that fosters cooperation and peaceful living between human beings.





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