Trusting our selves to technology

Asle Kiran, A.H. Kiran, Peter P.C.C. Verbeek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Trust is a central dimension in the relation between human beings and technologies. In many discourses about technology, the relation between human beings and technologies is conceptualized as an external relation: a relation between pre-given entities that can have an impact on each other but that do not mutually constitute each other. From this perspective, relations of trust can vary between reliance, as is present for instance in technological extensionism, and suspicion, as in various precautionary approaches in ethics that focus on technological risks. Against these two interpretations of trust, this article develops a third one. Based on a more internal account of the relations between human beings and technologies, it becomes possible to see that every technological development puts at stake what it means to be a human being. Using technologies, then, implies trusting ourselves to technologies. We argue that this does not imply an uncritical subjection to technology. Rather, recognizing that technologies help to constitute human subjectivity implies that human beings can get actively involved in processes of technological mediation. Trust then has the character of confidence: deliberately trusting oneself to technology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-427
Number of pages18
JournalKnowledge, technology and policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • IR-83319
  • METIS-268292


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