The case for e-trust
Trust is generally understood as a relationship in which an agent (the trustor) decides to depend on another agent’s (the trustee) foreseeable behaviour in order to fulfil his expectations. It is a fundamental aspect of social interactions, as it has economical, social, psychological and ethical implications, and as such it is a crucial topic in several research areas (Gambetta 1998; Taddeo 2009). In the past decade, research interest in trust-related concepts and phenomena has escalated following the advent of the information revolution (Floridi 2008). The use of Information and Communication Technologies, of Computer Mediated Communications (CMCs), and the development of artificial agents—such as SatNav systems, drones, and robotic companion—have provided unprecedented opportunities for social interactions in informational environments, involving human as well as artificial and hybrid agents (Ess 2010). In such scenario, one of the most problematic issues is represented by the emergence of etrust, that is, trust specifically developed in digital contexts and/or involving artificial agents. Like trust, e-trust too has a variety of heterogeneous implications, ranging from the effects on social interactions in digital environment to the behaviour of the involved agents, whether human or artificial (Taddeo 2009; Ess 2010).