Trust is what enables our society to function, from supporting interpersonal transactions to providing the very foundation of our democracy. How trust is established online is therefore a key question for HCI to understand and address, especially as the landscape is rapidly changing with AI and algorithms increasingly mediating our online experiences. This talk will cover two different and critical aspects of online trust.
In the first part of the talk, I will present work on trust in the news media. Most people consume online news on platforms where algorithms present content from a mixed set of sources, for example news aggregators and news feeds. It is important, then, to evaluate the factors that contribute to how people evaluate the veracity of content in these environments. In this work, we follow on a body of research showing higher reported trust in politically aligned news sources. We investigate the determinants of the increased trust to distinguish between source evaluation and confirmation bias effects.
It is more than recommendations algorithms that mediate our online experiences. In the second part of the talk, I will outline a near-future where our personal communications are mediated by AI agents, or as we termed it: AI Mediated Communication (AI-MC). I will lay out the various ways in which AI-MC might impact our interpersonal communications, and describe a study where we examined the potential impact of AI-generated profile text on the perceived trustworthiness of Airbnb hosts.
Taken together, the findings point to a bleak future of trust in our society, and offer a set of significant challenges for the future of HCI.
The studies I will present were led by PhD student Maurice Jakesch at Cornell, and are joint work with Jeff Hancock, Xiao Ma, and Karen Levy among others.
Mor Naaman is an associate professor of Information Science at the Jacobs Institute at Cornell Tech. Mor leads a research group focused on topics related to the intersection of technology, media and democracy. The group applies multidisciplinary techniques — from machine learning to qualitative social science — to study our information ecosystem and its challenges. Previously, Mor was on the faculty at the Rutgers School of Communication and Information, led a research team at Yahoo! Research Berkeley, received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Stanford University InfoLab, and played professional basketball for Hapoel Tel Aviv. He is also a former startup co-founder, and advises startup companies in social computing and related areas. His research is widely recognized, including with an NSF Early Faculty CAREER Award, research awards and grants from numerous corporations, and multiple best paper awards.