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2 May 2012

Trusting Bruce Schneier

Yesterday I was in Wellington to see Bruce Schneier speak about his latest book, Liars and Outliers.  For about an hour, he discussed the concepts covered in the book:
  • Security exists to enable us to trust each other (both individually and institutionally), where 'trust' is a complex issue
  • In addition to morals, reputation and legal controls, security gives society some control over those who behave selfishly, furthering their own personal interests rather than those of society as a whole, helping to stabilise the societies
  • Real life is far more complex than this imiplies - for instance, individuals belong and have allegiance to multiple overlapping "societies" e.g. family, groups of friends and colleagues, organizations, nations, cultures and professions
It will be interesting to read whether the book discusses the fragility of many human societies, for instance the looting that commonly occurs when civil disobedience leads to rioting.  Many of us are evidently prepared to break the rules of society and act in our own interest when the opportunities arise.

As usual, I will publish a review with further comments and impressions once I've actually read the book. [I trust that it will be worth reading.]

Meanwhile, thanks to Bruce for coming all the way to NZ to speak to us.


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