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Building trustworthy software agents

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1 Author(s)
Patrick, A.S. ; Nat. Res. Council of Canada, Canada

As agents become more active and sophisticated, the implications of their actions become more serious. With today's GUIs, user and software errors can often be easily fixed or undone. An agent performing actions on behalf of a user could make errors that are very difficult to "undo", and, depending on the agent's complexity, it might not be clear what went wrong. Moreover, for agents to operate effectively and truly act on their users' behalf, they might need confidential or sensitive information. This includes financial details and personal contact information. Thus, along with the excitement about agents and what they can do, there is concern about the resulting security and privacy issues. It is not enough to assume that well-designed software agents will provide the security and privacy users need; assurances and assumptions about security and privacy need to be made explicit. This article proposes a model of the factors that determine agent acceptance, based on earlier work on user attitudes toward e-commerce transactions, in which feelings of trust and perceptions of risk combine in opposite directions to determine a user's final acceptance of an agent technology.

Published in:

Internet Computing, IEEE  (Volume:6 ,  Issue: 6 )