Remembering 9/11 — and Why We Must Improve Trust in AI and Trust in Societies Simultaneously

David A. Bray
3 min readSep 11

Back in 2021, I did a post reflecting on 9/11 twenty years later. Here we are again, now twenty-two years later from those tragic events. At 0834 ET and in the minutes and hours that followed on 11 Sept 2001, the lives of co-workers, friends, family members were changed by those events. This includes the immediate consequences of those events, as well as the longer term consequences both at home (environmental exposures to aerosolized compounds and PTSD) and abroad (engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq).

Though time has marched on, those events remain for some scorched in our minds. For all who have served and been of service — thank you and may peace both find you and surround you.

Reflecting on Events Twenty-Two Years Ago

My own personal experience on that day involved plans, scheduled weeks in advance, to give a briefing on the morning of 11 September 2001 at 9am to to members of the CIA, FBI, Association of Public Health Labs, and other CDC colleagues what we would do informatics and technology-wise if a bioterrorism event occurred in the United States. This included a briefing on how proposed improvements in the information technology infrastructure of public health laboratories could greatly aid national response to a bioterrorism event.

What followed, instead, was both the initial response to the aftermath of 9/11, a rescheduled briefing on 03 October 2001, and the first case of anthrax showing up less than 24 hours later. It was a very busy time.

Images courtesy of licensed CC0

How Can We Build Trust in AI and Societies?

That said, as I look back at the events since 2001, I cannot help to lament the erosion of trust in social and civic institutions that make open societies great. This is not unique to the United States — and mirrors in some ways what we saw in the 1890s and 1900s when there was a rise in disinformation, polarization, and distrust.

Which makes me all the more confident that, while AI gets a lot of attention of late as the tech du jour, we need redouble efforts to improve trust in AI and trust in Societies simultaneously. Which is why I am happy to share a video with fellow Loomis Council member Dr. Rodney Sappington where he and I discuss “Why Trust in AI Matters — and How Can We Build It” and more, especially amid distrust, polarization, and disinformation:

Comments, thoughts, and feedback welcomed — and as always always, a huge thank you to all the positive #ChangeAgents out there pioneering efforts where together we can Be Benevolent, Be Bold, and Be Brave in working to uplift communities globally together.

David A. Bray

Championing People-Centered Ventures & #ChangeAgents. Reflecting on How Our World Is Changing. Leadership is Passion to Improve Our World.