Anne Toth, first Chief Trust Officer

TRUSTcast’s purpose is to bring insights from global trust executives and leaders in your homes and share them in an atmosphere of a relaxed conversation. Therefore, hosting Anne Toth, first Chief Trust Officer globally, in our inaugural TRUSTcast episode was a perfect fit. Anne is the Director of Alexa Trust, at Amazon, since 2020 and has been working in the area of trust for the last two decades. Her engagement includes work with Yahoo, Google, Slack, and World Economic Forum (WEF).
We have discussed trust and the roles that govern the trust. Anne commented on the evolution of trust governance and management. In these discussions, privacy was depicted as part of trust governing efforts, but only when intertwined with transparency, expectations adjustment, customer education, and integrity in keeping promises.
Anne emphasizes team coordination and strong collaboration shape these efforts and relationships that need to be trusted including stakeholder groups wider than customers.
“We are all marching to the same tune”
Entire sets of teams within Amazon are unified in how they see trust by Leadership principles. This brings consistency between all messages coming from any department in Amazon and consistent actions are part of trust-building.
“You know what we know, and that is the way to develop trust through transparency”.
Anne clearly separated two ways to inform customers and give them control in what data about them has been stored and what will be done with that information. Hardware, mechanical features help customers disable recording and software functions with voice controls enable management of stored data. During our conversation, we have Alexa acting on examples Anne provided, giving us a real, hands-on experience for listeners.
“Hard questions that do not have a simple answer make our work more challenging and more interesting because of that.”
Amazon products are built in a manner that appreciates household settings. Alexa, for example, is built and it is being constantly updated to ensure answers provided are relevant, timely, accurate, and cognisant. All four attributes need to be there since Alexa is built to be sensitive to families, for holidays, but also different cultural expectations and geopolitical contexts.
“Innovate in a manner that will engender trust with your customers”
We asked Anne about the future of trust governance and her insights led to responsible innovation. Anne underlined that she feels it is her responsibility and responsibility of all technologists to be mindful of what they release in the world.
“I love all the great stories of how we are making lives better. And I am still an optimist … We have done our job right if we leave things better than they were.”
Anne brought her personal values and aim to contribute to wider society to multiple roles she held. She makes it clear that the WEF engagement objective was to make sure technology is utilised to improve the public good. She commented on the need to account for multiple perspectives when developing trust governance, from responsible innovation, unintended consequences, and biases, to the concept of fairness, all with the purpose to build technology in an ethical manner and to build it to improve lives.
Author: Dr Adela Drozdibob
Technological and design support: Anisa Hobaya, David Loose