Preparatory workshop for the NIWF New Industrial World Forum: « Technologies of trust »

7, July 2011  |  Published : Events, Seminars  | 

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Preparatory conference of May, 25th at Ensci

A society, whatever its form, is above all a fidelity production system. To believe in someone – and not only to trust him: means counting on him beyond any calculation, as a warranty for unconditionality. This also means as a guaranty for certain principles, rightness, integrity, etc. These are the roles of my father, my priest, my teacher, my farmer or my officer. These figures represent a kind of super-ego. Thus, people who believe in such figures invest in them – and also in the concept of Nation, in the Christ or in the idea of Revolution and furthermore in the social project they symbolize: a project that (in Max Weber’s thought) each and every businessman should embody.

Since Weber, we know that capitalism turned the type of fidelity that structured the western society (formerly based on the faith particular to religious belief) into a trust seen as computable and with money value. However, the crisis of capitalism that broke out in 2007-2008 taught us that this transformation of fidelity into computability by the monetary systems reached the limit where credit has been largely discredited. This process, that comes close to a rationalization (in Weber’s as far as Adorno’s words) and leads to a disillusion, is essentially linked to an engramming process. This process has gained a new dimension during the Renaissance thanks to the printing press and has been subject of unprecedented politico-religious conflicts during the Reformation. Throughout these fights, the “pharmacology of the mind” formed by the Book and the books, and the therapy required for such “pharmaka” (poison and medicine at the same time) became the themes of a spiritual conflict leading to a new religious and secular therapy.

No one can ignore that with the development of IT (which is the latest step in the engramming process) the burning issues raised by the invention of the printing press and that triggered on a large scale the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation are recurring. Indeed, trust has become a primary matter in the world of metadataware, social networks and traceability (not to mention questions about secure payment that is the most shallow issue of the matter). After tackling the issue of trust in nanotechnology in the 2010 Forum, the aim of 2011’s edition is to estimate the range of this issue as far as the economic, organizational, industrial, technological and social models are capable of rebuilding trust.


Trust, faith, fidelity, History of the Gift and emergence of the fiduciary/currency system

Focusing back on the history of trust, seen as in conjunction with the development of the engramming process and track inscription devices, since the crisis brought about by the printing press until today’s development of the digital sector.

  • Bernard Stiegler, Directeur de l’Institut de Recherche et d’Innovation (IRI)
  • Alain Mille, Professeur en Informatique, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Directeur de l’Ecole Doctorale InfoMaths


Risk, insurance, technology of trust, society of risk, current affairs in the nuclear sector
Valuation, science, the relations between mistrust and science

Is trust computable? Is it just quantified valuation of the risks (financial, sanitary, nuclear, technological, etc.) or does it, on the contrary, come from totally different principles, in which case the question of valuation and democracy has to be reconsidered from scratch?

  • Judith Simon, Post-doctorante à l’Institut Jean Nicod, CNRS-EHESS-ENS/Université de Vienne, Autriche

Trust in the relationship. The industrialisation of the relationship: the loyalty programmes are increasingly less working (dependence instead of trust, locking). The creators of trust spaces.
Beyond the mere calculation of the risks, an engineering of trust and new spaces trying to recreate it has developed, especially on the Web. Which difficulties do they aim to overcome? Which solutions do they propose and how to consider the underlying demand they express?

  • Nicolas Auray, Maître de conférences en sociologie, École Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications (ENST)
  • Cécile Méadel, Professeur, Centre de Sociologie de l’Innovation, Mines-ParisTech


Does the fabrication of trust lead to mistrust (ex: loyalty cards) – Necessity of the super-ego, the symbolic references. The brands, the brand tribalism. The personal data. The profiling. The contribution system, reconstruction of symbolic matters in economic matters. Trust-encouraging designs (Bolnick, cognitive sciences).

  • Albert Ogien, Sociologue, Directeur de recherche au CNRS et membre du CEMS (EHESS)
  • Godefroy Dang Nguyen, Docteur en Économie, Directeur Scientifique adjoint Télécom Bretagne

Where : ENSCI Les ateliers, salle Richard Lenoir, 4th floor
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