The Ecology of Trust Mechanization
La ecología de la mecanización de la confianza

by Larry Lohmann

first published 20 May 2019

The last decade's developments in computation are major topics of debate among business, policymakers, and social movements alike. Blockchain, Bitcoin, smart contracts, the Internet of Things, machine translation, image recognition, the Earth Bank of Codes, artificial intellligence – all are understood to be not only business opportunities but also political and environmental issues.

Seldom mentioned, however, is the extent to which these innovations are part of an ecological history that goes back to the early 19th century and before. A strategic understanding their dynamics and contradictions requires looking with new eyes at old pictures of labour, mechanization, commons, and capital accumulation.

Here are three powerpoint presentations, one in English and two in Spanish, that outline some of the issues involved in this 21st-century wave of the mechanization of interpretation and trust.

A video of one presentation is available at, with a Spanish-language transcript at

A longer companion piece paper that covers some of the same ground can be found at A shorter piece recently published in the journal Development can be found here: