As a research scientist, you’ll be working on the social and institutional aspects of trust in and by technological systems. Multiple technologies emerged to produce trust (such as global reputation systems, (self-sovereign) identity systems), or minimize the need for trust (DLTs). Trust, as produced by technical systems has many possible sources: strong cryptography, censorship resistance through decentralization, good governance, or legal legibility, certainty and compliance. Some of these trust sources, like technology governance and regulation, can complement each other. Others, such as compliance and decentralization, seem to be in contradiction. As a social scientist, you will be working with legal scholars on answering the following two questions at the intersection of trust and technology:
- How do (decentralized) technologies produce trust or minimize the need for trust?
- What makes these systems trustworthy?
You will answer these questions by studying various aspects of trust and trustworthiness in technological contexts.
In particular you will:
- conduct empirical research among technology developers on the trustworthiness of technology:
- design and implement surveys, and conduct qualitative analysis on how technology developers see the trustworthiness of technology they build and operate, and how they implement and balance different sources of trust in technological systems (system design, governance, legal compliance, etc.);
- conduct empirical research among technology users on the topic of trust:
- design and implement surveys among users of blockchain based systems on the issue of trust and trustworthiness;
- conduct a qualitative analysis of the discourses around trust and DLTs;
- work on the problem of institutional embeddedness of decentralized technical systems:
- conduct empirical research on how existing societal stakeholders (such as businesses, the media, various professional groups, regulators, policymakers) see the trustworthiness of decentralized technologies, and their ability to produce trust;