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The future of
trust in digital worlds


Federal Ministry of Education and Research





The internet as we know it today could never have achieved its global success without the trust of the billions of people who go online. The internet of tomorrow will continue to open up new spaces and new communication possibilities. But equally, this will only be possible if people are willing to trust and explore these new, unknown spaces in the future.

(How) Will trust emerge in the digital worlds of tomorrow? Do we trust technology or only other people? These questions were investigated by a study as part of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) Future Office, consisting of Prognos and Z_punkt.

Our approach

The “The Future of Trust in Digital Worlds” study first examines the scientific discourse on the topic of “trust” and derives conclusions for the digital worlds of tomorrow. What the digital sphere might look like in the future and how trust could form there is illustrated in six everyday stories from the future – so-called “Future Spotlights.”

Core results

  • Trust in the scientific sense means a social cultural technique used by people to deal with uncertainties in everyday life. The decision to trust is based on individual experience as well as the presumed intentions of the other person.
  • We rely on technology, but we trust (or not) other people, including those who develop technology or create technical offers.
  • The digital sphere requires greater levels of trust because our “counterpart” is virtual – and thus remains abstract.
  • We will probably be able to experience the digital worlds of the future more tangibly, in three dimensions. They will also manifest many more interfaces between the analogue and digital worlds than they do today. The interplay of new technologies will mean the boundaries of the analogue and digital world will be largely blurred.
  • A spatial web – also called Web 3.0 or the metaverse – is emerging. In such a web, new spaces for encounter and new forms of interaction could come into being, which would also produce new patterns and forms of trust building.

The study is released as one of the numerous results of the BMBF Future Office's work in the Foresight III process. Other research topics included, for example, the dissolution of boundaries between biology and technology or the future of values in Germany. In addition, workshops and similar working and dialogue formats take place, where various actors, such as citizens and futurologists, deal with foresight in a variety of ways. The Future Office is supervised by Prognos and Z_punkt on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Links and downloads

Summary of the study in German (

Project team: Anna Hornik, Dr Christian Grünwald, Daniel Bonin, Jan Reichert, Marie-Kristin Komendzinski, Julian Sachs, Holger Glockner, Michael Astor

Last update: 12.08.2022

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