Challenges for Human Trust in a Connected and Technology-Driven World

The Voices of the Leaders of Tomorrow Report 2021 gives voice to a specially selected group of future top talent: the Leaders of Tomorrow from the network of the St. Gallen Symposium.

Our annual flagship study, the Voices of the Leaders of Tomorrow Report 2021 – a collaboration of the Nuremberg Institute for Market Decisions (NIM) and the St. Gallen Symposium – has been released. Read and download the full report here.

This year’s version of the annual flagship study explores how the next generation of leaders view the role of – and ways to strengthen – trust in politics, media, business and technology. The report explores what trust means to young top talents (n=620), particularly in light of an increasingly connected and technology-driven world – giving voice to the St. Gallen Symposium’s Leaders of Tomorrow (LoT) community.

Seven Key Insights:
  • There is a severe lack of trust in the older generation of leaders regarding their decisions in the interests of younger generations. 15% of the Leaders of tomorrow think that the political leaders of today are both competent and willing to prioritise and to decide in the best interest of the younger generation, while 26% of them trust business leaders in both respects.
  • COVID-19 is a massive trust disruptor; trust in governments, social media, press – and even in fellow citizens has been lost. 48% of the Leaders of Tomorrow report that trust in their fellow citizens decreased during the pandemic; just 25% state that it increased.
  • Corrosion of shared reality: Facts are increasingly drowned by opinions and outright lies, and social media is seen as the main culprit. 76% of the Leaders of Tomorrow consider it a pressing problem that the line between objective facts and subjective opinion is getting more and more blurred in the media. 90% report that fake news frequently circulate in social media.
  • Companies are expected to do more to flag and prevent fake reviews and ratings online. 78% of the Leaders of Tomorrow agree with the statement “Most online companies and platform providers do not do enough to flag and prevent fake reviews.”
  • To enhance trust in technologies, more transparency on how personal data is used and better education on the benefits and risks of emerging technologies are essential. 82% of the Leaders of Tomorrow consider easy access to information about how one’s data is used as an urgent or at least necessary means to increase trust in tech.
  • To reduce negative effects of new technologies on society, the Leaders of Tomorrow call on their own generation to do more. 75% of the Leaders of Tomorrow criticise their own generation for not doing enough to combat the effects of fake facts amplified by new technologies.
  • Trust in AI varies dramatically depending on the task: Confidence is high in automated driving and rule enforcement but low in domains requiring expert intuition or empathy. 61% of the Leader of Tomorrow would rather rely on a self-driving car than on a human driver, while just 7% would rather rely on AI than on a human psychotherapist.

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2021 Full Report – Voices of the Leaders of Tomorrow 2021

Since 2010, our annual flagship study “Voices of the Leaders of Tomorrow” (formerly called the “Global Perspectives Barometer”) – a cooperation with the Nuremberg Institute for Market Decisions – empowers the voices of students and young professionals worldwide. It is a study on the opinions and thoughts of top talents, the next generation of leaders. Find our past reports here.

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