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Introspection, part one

I’ve been writing a textbook. Part of the journey of doing that involved rather deep levels of introspection. It’s been more than thirty years since I started the journey of research, and 29 (since 1992) since I first published my formalization of trust. I talked about it too, at MAAMAW (Modelling Autonomous Agents in a Multi-Agent World) in Italy that year and realized that perhaps I was on to something. Introspection is fun, especially when it involves something that you care deeply about, but it can lead to some challenging realizations. For example, whilst the field of Computational Trust that my PhD thesis basically started has moved forward, I’m not sure it has moved in a way that makes me entirely happy. We’ll get to that. Don’t worry. It hasn’t always learned from what has come before either. When I published my thesis, and the various associated articles and papers, I was laser-focused on the fact that many different disciplines contribute to our understanding of trust. It simply isn’t good enough to look at a single field, even a composite one like computer science or AI, and think that you have seen all you need to know. Trust, being what it is, has economic, sociological, philosophical, psychological, probabilistic, emotional and even more different kinds of roots. It’s a package deal. If you’re not looking at them all, you’re not looking at trust. Conversely, now that the field is old enough to actually be something, if you’re not including it in the study of trust, well, guess what – you’re not looking at the whole picture of trust then either. We all have something to give in our continual refinement of the way we understand trust. That’s introspective.

Dalkeith, Ontario. October 22, 2021

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