TDE – Truth for Trust
In previous papers of this educational series, the concept of trusted data exchange (TDE) was introduced. The digital age was identified to have a distinct need for trusted processes. Trust was identified as an essential proponent to functioning and fluent digital exchange. Existing systems and mechanisms were put under scrutiny and none were able to establish independently verifiable trust at scale. The reason for independent verification as an important qualifier was the universal acceptance of and portability into different environments and to different parties.
As for the scalability of existing solutions wishing to establish trust, it was noted that they come at a high cost or if they do scale it’s with a lower level of trust. To establish both portability and a high level of trust, the mechanism has to be based on something which would be translatable and acceptable to any party. For these reasons, this paper will expand on the concept of mathematical truth to create the necessary basis for a trusted data exchange. Further, it will identify the possibility to establish a mechanism that can fulfill all the aforementioned essentials.
From Trust to Truth
To achieve portability the underlying mechanism must shift from trust to truth. Definitions of trust typically refer to a situation characterized by the following aspects: One party (trustor) is willing to rely on the actions of another party (trustee); the situation is directed to the future. In addition, the trustor (voluntarily or forcedly) abandons control over the actions performed by the trustee. As a consequence, the trustor is uncertain about the outcome of the other’s actions; they can only develop and evaluate expectations. The uncertainty involves the risk of failure or harm to the trustor if the trustee will to not behave as desired.
Being in accord with an original or standard is the most common understanding of ‘truth’. To create a trusted data exchange, the exchange must underlie the ‘truth to self’ or authenticity of the asset exchanged. Truth is usually held to be opposite to falsehood. Hence, for TDE it can either be ‘false’ or ‘true’. For this, we look towards mathematics for answers.
“So mathematical truth prefers simple words since the language of truth is itself simple.”
– Tycho Brahe