The UoB/Trinity College Dublin Digital research partnership announces a series of lectures on the theme of ‘Trust and Authority in the Digital Age’.


The research network has been working for some time researching one of the key central questions in the digital world: how can we know whom and what to trust when there is so much information available? Distinguished speakers will address this theme from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.


The Illusion of Grandeur: Trust and Belief in Cultural Heritage Linked Open Data

Rob Sanderson, Yale University

Tuesday, 25 May 2021: 18.00

The rich and real promise of Linked Open Data in the cultural heritage domain is as the foundation of a knowledge ecosystem where institutions and individuals can share information to be used by a variety of engaging applications. For that promise to be realized with full attention to inclusivity, we must also have an understanding of the principles and mechanics by which different, diverse actors in the ecosystem trust each other to have truly symbiotic relationships, rather than merely plundering and monetizing others’ work. This presentation will explore the question of trust in a digital, distributed age across three interrelated aspects: how do we trust that the institution said it; how do we trust what they said is correct; and how do we trust that our interpretation is what was intended?


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Uncertainty in Medieval Manuscript Studies and the Potential of Computational Tools

Elaine Treharne, Stanford University 

Tuesday, 8 June 2021: 18.00


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Trust, Authority and the Automation of Expertise

Caroline Bassett, Cambridge University 

Tuesday, 22 June 2021: 18.00


How can we know who or what to trust? This lecture addresses the central theme of the series by asking what happens to trust when we no longer directly engage with the processes that give us this information or categorize it – as knowledge, rumour, conspiracy, fact, for instance, nor with those processes that authenticate, or ground, or contextualize what is given. The starting point therefore is that a particular kind of automation of expertise has contributed to the contemporary epistemic crisis – an incredulity towards experts and processes of knowledge production and a reliance on ‘my truth’ as ‘the truth’ or as the only truth that matters. The question I explore here is how will this develop further as automation processes accelerate through AI and machine learning and new kinds of automated expertise – and as new experts – arise? These issues are taken up here in part through an exploration of developments in synthetic writing. How will the automation of the word inform new generations of artificial experts, supplement the authority of artificial agents or helpers, and alter the ecology of human/machine knowledge production – for good or for ill, but also for whom?  


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  • Posted 6 May 2021

Cambridge Digital Humanities

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