Trust me on this one. There are few people who have given trust and reputation more thought than security expert Bruce Schneier. His latest book, Liars And Outliers, asks the question of how society functions when we can’t trust each other. And Schneier has spent a lifetime thinking through the relationship between trust and reputation in our new information economy.
The Internet both changes everything and nothing about trust, Schneier explained to me when he came into our San Francisco studio. On the one hand, the security guru told me, it allows us to scale trust; but, on the other, he went on, digital technology allows those who abuse trust to do more damage. The Internet is also doing a bad job replicating society, he asserted. with contemporary social networks like Facebook and Twitter being worse environments for building trust between people than 90’s style chat rooms and email.
The good news, at least for entrepreneurs, is that there are huge opportunities for building new companies and products in today’s trust economy. But, as Schneier warns, trust can only be facilitated when our new digital networks are made more human. So that’s the challenge, then, for the entrepreneur. To build networks that really do reflect the real world and real human beings. To be a true Internet of people.