Trust In Technology?

We have heard plenty of stories about people who blindly followed their GPS over a cliff or missing bridge to their doom.  Now this bit of research from Slate Magazine.

 “Researchers at Georgia Tech had 42 volunteers follow a seemingly autonomous robot into a conference room. However, the robot was actually guided by a hidden researcher, whose goal was to intentionally lead the test subjects astray in order to establish the bot’s unreliability.

Yet when the researchers then simulated a building fire, all of the subjects immediately followed the untrustworthy Emergency Guide Robot again, despite the fact that it led them toward the back of the building and away from clearly marked exit signs. The researchers believe that this was due to the fact that the robot was automatically viewed by the volunteers as an “authority figure.”

To a certain degree, this is related to the same trusting nature that causes social engineering, phishing, and vishing exploits to work so well.  We are trained from childhood to trust and OBEY authority figures.  And this is what you get from all of that.  Perhaps we should be instilling a more questioning and doubting nature.

In any event, this article is a fun way to start the week.  Just remember – when in doubt, there is not doubt.


About the Author:

I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at

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