Information on Trust

Trust and information go hand in hand. There is no information without trust. Limited data maybe, information of real value; no.

Interesting to read this piece on Three Mile Island in the light of the current Japanese problems:

“The understated equivocations of their spokesmen – and their genuine uncertainty about the situation – engendered mistrust, particularly among those in the vicinity. Media coverage citing concerned nuclear experts served to heighten fears.

Soon, misinformation about a hydrogen bubble, which had formed in the containment vessel after zirconium fuel rods were exposed, turned into full-blown and mostly unfounded anxiety about an atomic explosion.”

Mostly Unfounded, yet, despite a massive (but contained) meltdown seen with hindsight only, a monumental event historically, created by Media Coverage.

Perversely and counter-intuitively yet again, less is more – less communication is better – yes, free communication makes things worse. Is that a political statement ? If I were a conservative-techno-phobe that would not be an interesting statement, but I’m a web-savvy-liberal. Must I post the W3C Fig 7 picture again for the techies ? Trust at the top – clearly trust and information feed off each other, but it’s the trust that’s paramount.

Working thesis: Current information value depends on a current stock of trust, current trust depends on previous experience (of information, and action, and … ) not on current information. No amount of “data communication” now, can fix a pre-existing lack of trust. Something like that 🙂

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