How can I trust the information I read over the Internet? We argue that a general theory of trust in networks of humans and computers must be built on both a theory of behavioral trust and a theory of computational trust. This argument is motivated by increased participation of people in social networking, crowdsourcing, human computation, and socioeconomic protocols, e.g., protocols modeled by trust and gift-exchange games, norms-establishing contracts, and scams. User participation in these protocols relies primarily on trust: trust in both the computational elements in the network and the human element. Thus, towards a general theory of trust, to computational trust, we add behavioral trust, a notion from the social and economic sciences. Behavioral trust captures participant preferences (i.e., risk and betrayal aversion) and beliefs in the trustworthiness of other protocol participants. We argue that a general theory of trust should focus on the establishment of new trust relations where none were possible before. This focus would help create new economic opportunities by increasing the pool of usable services, removing cooperation barriers among users, and, at the very least, taking advantage of network effects. Hence a new theory of trust would also help focus security research in areas that promote trust-enhancement infrastructures in human and computer networks.
This work is joint with Virgil Gligor.
Reception to follow.
Jeannette M. Wing is the President’s Professor of Computer Science and Head of the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University. She received her S.B., S.M., and Ph.D. from MIT. From 2007 to 2010 she was the Assistant Director of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate at the NSF. Wing’s general research interests are in the areas of trustworthy computing, specification & verification, concurrent & distributed systems, programming languages, and software engineering. Her current interests are on the foundations of trustworthy computing, with a focus on the science of security & privacy. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, AAAS, ACM, and IEEE.