Why is trust essential?
Mutually perceived trust among the parties involved is a decisive factor for concluding a contract. In a company, building trust is part of risk management. Formal criteria are used in a structured process to decide whether potential contract partners are sufficiently trustworthy. Only when trustworthiness is judged to be sufficient can a successful business relationship be established. But how can trust be created if the business relationship is established by software agents? In the »Industry 4.0 Legal Testbed«, it is the objective to clarify business, legal and security requirements for building trust in the context of automated process flows.
Since January 2021, an additional research topic of Legal Testbed is the exploration of automated trust management. How can trust be made tangible and managed in an automated way?
The relevant data about potential contract partners, which provides information about their trustworthiness, is stored in so-called trustworthiness profiles (TWP).
In order to process the information, evaluate it and, in addition, derive further actions, a software is needed that manages trust autonomously: a so-called trust agent.
By integrating trustworthiness profiles as well as trust agents, trust management can be handled in an automated way.
What are trust agents?
Information alone is not enough to initiate or execute a fully automated contract negotiation. At this point, the concept of trust agents comes into play in the form of software that manages trust independently. The management of trust comprises various aspects:
- information procurement
- evaluation of information
- derivation of recommendations of action based on evaluations
Crucial to success in practice is the smooth integration of trustworthiness profiles and trust agents into automated contract management.
How can trust be formed?
Rate the trustworthiness based on the retrieved information.
Seek trust building information:
Is the trustworthiness profile matching my requirements?
Create and publish a trustworthiness profile.
Trust management in Legal Testbed
With the automation of business processes in Industry 4.0, the need arises to also automate trust building in such a way that the results obtained can be directly incorporated into the automated negotiation of contracts. By expanding the research project to include the pre-contractual aspect of trust-building between (unknown) machine actors, Legal Testbed gains another valuable component.