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Establishing Trust

Trust is confidence in our ability to predict an outcome. It is a level of self-assurance that we know enough about a situation or a person or a group or even a process, to make good decisions about what will happen.

Trust is usually developed over time with experience tested predictions and outcomes. In a manner similar to scientific method, we form a hypothesis of how things work, make a prediction of how things will go, then observe the actual results and compare them to our prediction. If the prediction was accurate, we have reinforced confidence in our ability to predict. If the prediction was flawed, we need to modify and correct our method of hypothesis and prediction.

Most of us also have abstracted a set of characteristics in people that we associate with trust. We use that profile to establish trust that has not been earned and attribute it to our ability to “read” character in strangers. If our character assessment is accurate, this can be a shortcut, but if it is not, we assign trust blindly and create great vulnerability to being misled.

We can contrive means to test “trust scenarios” but they work best when the subject is unaware of the testing and can be grossly misused when the subject knows of the test and has an intention to deceive.

Daily interactions with elements outside of our close circle of experience could be aided by either some form of trust ranking or a protocol that can establish trust quickly or with less evidence. A trust ranking could be accumulated over time based on public transactions in a similar fashion to a credit rating. It might also be possible to establish such a ranking in short order by examining public communication records, assuming that there is a foundation of trust in the first place that substantiates the records.

It would seem that any attempt to establish trust with less evidence and experience takes us back to the level of creating a character profile based on matching an abstract pattern. It may be possible to build a protocol for that process that can test with a high degree of accuracy, but at the present time, it seems to reside mostly in the domain of intuition.