Trust and Transparency

One of the books I am reading, Gut Feelings, made a statement:

Transparency and trust are two sides of the same coin.

without much elaboration.

To place the statement in context, Gerd Gigerenzer was writing about moral systems. Specifically, how the Ten Commandments was so effective because it they are so simple. The American tax code is less obeyed precisely because even experts cannot possibly understand every detail.

People cannot trust or obey what they do not understand. Simply stated rules are more easily understood and thus obeyed. Contrast: “You must file your income taxes by a certain date” against the whole tax code. Compare the certainty of compliance when the taxes are filed versus the certainty all the forms are completed correctly.

Maybe I need to go back and read Easier Than You Think? The beauty of the book is stating everything in a single sentence and then a short explanation for why.


Do you talk about computers, software, or web sites as manifesting human-like behaviors? Personally, I have.

At work, we manage several machines who collectively provide the GeorgiaVIEW service. When a machine is completely unresponsive, then we refer to it as having died. When a machine stops a performance issue, we refer to it as happy. I call my car cranky when it fails to run well.

Besides, electronics and vehicles, are there other examples?