In this perspective, we discuss non-experts’ beliefs about the complex and ‘messy' problem of antibiotic resistance (ABR). First, we explain what we mean by complex and messy problems and why ABR fits that description. We then suggest that the attitudes of non-experts are particularly relevant to these problems. This gives rise to social epistemic risks; risks that involve the collective and social aspects of the formation of epistemic attitudes. Steering these epistemic attitudes as a way of handling these risks can take the form of creating what we call ‘epistemic architecture’. That is, a planned design of the structure within which the formation of epistemic attitudes takes place. This entails risks of its own, which leads us to conclude that there is an important responsibility for experts to take these social epistemic risks into account when communicating on messy problems, such as ABR.

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