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Trust, Mistrust and AI: Intimacy, Consent, Affect

February 22 @ 9:00 am - 11:00 am AEDT

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A collaborative academic workshop for researchers, creatives, and practitioners in artificial intelligence and automated decision-making

Trust might take as its object another person, or a social reputation, a specific technology, or a corporation. Trust’s affects take form in these specific relations, as belief or ideation, as knowledge, confidence or ‘ontological security’, though might also be more loosely felt, such as in the trust that things will turn out all right. Institutions of intimacy, such as sex, friendship, family and the romantic relationship, are powerful organisers of people’s perceptions of trust—of who, how and when to trust. Equally, it is through the institutions of intimacy that we learn to consent. For example, we cannot be forced to trust, but must consent to trust.

The increasing mediation of intimate relationships and encounters by AI technologies, from social media algorithms to location services, are in turn mediating social perceptions and affective realities of trust. This workshop considers the role of intimacy and consent in furthering our understanding of how uses of automated decision-making (ADM) within intimate life are pivotal to the wholescale remediation of social life more generally. Such a challenge requires thinking about the dynamic between trust and mistrust, when trust itself becomes an object of scrutiny. Within the context of ADM, what are the limits and possibilities for taking up a theory of trust as sensory, affective, embodied, and immanent within social relations? How do notions of transparency, prediction, and efficacy address mistrust? How does consent conjoin with trust and mistrust in the arrival of ADM in intimate relations?


Discussion will cover themes such as:

  • ADM + trust and mistrust + the social encounter
  • ADM + trust and mistrust + prediction
  • ADM + trust and mistrust + transparency
  • ADM + trust and mistrust + consent
  • ADM + trust and mistrust + believability
  • ADM + trust and mistrust + control


Led by Dr Sarah Cefai (Media, Communications and Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths), this workshop will take the form of a 2-hour discussion guided by provocations by ADM+S and Media Futures Hub scholars:

Associate Professor Emma A. Jane, School of the Arts and Media, UNSW

Associate Professor Tanja Dreher, School of the Arts and Media, UNSW

Associate Professor Maria Giannacopoulos, Criminology, UNSW

Dr Emma Quilty, ADM+S Centre and Emerging Technologies Lab, Monash University

These provocations will be presented in dialogue with a limited number of academic texts that will be circulated to participants in advance.


February 22
9:00 am - 11:00 am AEDT
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