Home page Psychology blog Psychology News From the World of Science Absolute anonymity. Computers are gaining more and more trust

Absolute anonymity. Computers are gaining more and more trust

04.06.2019 Author: Psychologist Pavel Khoroshutin

Our study showed that tech-savvy people are more willing to trust their data related to automated processing, than to real operators.

For reasons of cognitive distortion, we think machines are more reliable than humans. This phenomenon is called “trust in automated systems” or “machine heuristics”. Often it manifests itself in areas such as aviation, healthcare and control of technological processes, since it is in these areas that decision-making is tied to subjective trust in automation tools and special systems.

According to researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in the United States, people who are convinced of the power of technology and the reliability of machines are more likely to resort to electronic services – they prefer the automated processing of personal data. To confirm this theory, an unusual experiment was conducted.

Experiment details

credit cards trust machines

The experiment involved 160 US residents working on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowd sourcing platform. The respondents had different levels of education and the vast majority of them were bachelors. The essence of the experiment was that the participants had to specify the data of a bank card for booking air tickets with a robot or a person. At simultaneous times, 84 participants dealt with the machine and 76—with the operator.

Belief in machine heuristics was revealed by questionnaires. The questions related to the objectivity, reliability and safety of machines.

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The experiment showed that participants trusted bank card data with a computer more than a human agent. This suggests that users with high cognitive susceptibility to machine heuristics, that is, advanced, tech-savvy people, were more willing to open personal data to a computer than the more conservative users. At the same time, there was no difference between “advanced” and “non-advanced” dialogs when working with the operator.

Now that there is global digitization of data and high requirements for their safety, many of us trust computers more, because machines do not gossip, will not discuss our photos or laugh at our names. Thanks to computer processing and encryption, it is possible to ensure the confidentiality of data and the anonymity of users. In the field of psychology, this is important, because personal problems are sometimes difficult to share even with a specialist. With the development of online psychology and electronic data processing, the issue of anonymity can be considered trully resolved.