RSAC 2012: Interview with Bruce Schneier about his new book, Liars and Outliers

Come see me and Bruce Schneier at the RSA Conference in San Francisco discuss his new book, Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive. He was kind enough to mention me by name on his blog:

At the end of February, I’ll be at the RSA Conference in San Francisco. In addition to my other speaking events, Davi Ottenheimer will interview me about the book at something called The Author’s Studio. I’ll be doing two one-hour book signings at the conference bookstore. And, and this is the best news of all, HP has bought 1,000 copies of the book and will be giving them away at their booth. I’ll be doing a couple of signings there as well.

We will be in the Crypto Commons, Wednesday, February 29th from 10:20 am – 10:50 am

Crypto Commons will be the home for new events at RSA Conference 2012 this year. One of these new events will be the debut of the Security “Author’s Studio.” Come spend 30 minutes watching and participating in a live interview with a well-known author who is also speaking at the Conference. The interview will be done by a selected delegate and will include questions from the audience. A book signing will follow.

The book has just been published and already is getting many rave reviews for his treatment of game theory and his thorough study of trust. He is clearly one of the best writers alive and is known for an amazing ability to synthesise, distil and explain complex security theory in a very accessible and entertaining format.

Liars and Outliers

We don’t demand a background check on the plumber who shows up to fix the leaky sink. We don’t do a chemical analysis on food we eat.

Trust and cooperation are the first problems we had to solve before we could become a social species. In the 21st century, they have become the most important problems we need to solve—again. Our global society has become so large and complex that our traditional trust mechanisms no longer work.

I don’t know about you but I don’t background check the plumber because I use a different set of controls instead. It’s not like I actually trust the plumber. And I have been known to do chemical analysis of food. Perhaps you can imagine how this interview will go. :)

Below is a video on YouTube I found with Bruce introducing the core dilemma he addresses in the book (20 views so far).

After I watched it a few times (to help get the view numbers up) an alternative title came to mind: Life with Parasites.

Now just imagine my voice interrupting him to ask if we really should judge the outliers as a parasite absolutely or does the dichotomy break when we introduce a few degrees of relativism. Given one person’s parasite could be another person’s provider, does the dichotomy give way to a cycle of rewards?

To put it another way, why is it after a bombing that a bus driver is more likely to return to driving a bus than a passenger is likely to return to riding one? Is it trust? I say no but maybe Bruce can convince me otherwise.

Hope to see you there.

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