Authenticity and building trust in the machine age

Chris Schwartz

person looking at android


Authenticity consistently ranks in the top tier of the most important leadership traits, with many considering it as the most important quality of them all. Authenticity is also important to employees in non-leadership positions when building relationships with internal and external customers, but also in conceptual things like company culture.

But how do we remain authentic and stay true to ourselves when the world is changing so dramatically, and we need to evolve to remain relevant? How do we convey authenticity and build trust in the new virtual world? Are machines in some ways eroding our human connections and, if so, what risks should we be aware of?


Is authenticity under threat?

In our latest Cloudspotting podcast episode, we welcome on Diane Dowdell, Professor of Marketing and Management at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, to discuss authenticity and building trust in the machine age. Diane has designed and delivered courses on organizational culture, leadership and ethics, team performance and productivity, critical thinking, selling and sales management, organizational improvisation, marketing strategy and more.

Diane joins Cloudspotting hosts, Alex Galbraith and Sai Iyer, to discuss:

  • What authenticity means and why it’s so important
  • Learning to be authentic and what “adaptive authenticity” looks like
  • The shift from emotional trust formation to task-based trust formation
  • How AI and ML are changing the way we interact with each other
  • The risk of low interpretability, hidden biases and machines not understanding cultural nuances
  • Being seduced by the power of machines and misusing machine learning


A shift in human behaviour

Diane explains that humans have had to change how we build trust, now that less face-to-face communication is happening. "We usually build trust slowly and through emotion, which is why emotional intelligence is so important in organizations and in society in general. Considering that most of our interactions are now occurring over Zoom and that we can't meet with a customer over coffee, we have to focus more on task-based trust formation than emotional trust formation."

Alex adds the point that expertise and credentials have become even more important now that we are reliant on task-based trust formation. "Part of that trust actually comes from expertise. So bringing expertise to a customer gives them confidence and opens up important conversations, where you can show that you can get to a solution."


The human element must remain

On the topic of AI and its influence, Diane says the human element must remain. "We can become intellectually seduced by the amount of data out there. But when it comes to the application and the conclusion, that human element is important, particularly when we’re talking about other humans and human situations."

Sai acknowledges that AI and ML still have a way to go before they can fully understand our communication, and they may in fact, always be limited by this. "We learn to pick up on body language, tone, pitch and so on very early on in our lives and you can't always explain it. So that's going to be a tricky, tricky space for the machines to catch up."


Learn more about authenticity and trust amidst constant change.