Book review

This book encapsulates some work done in the DIRC project concerned with trust and responsibility in socio-technical systems. It brings together a range of disciplinary approaches - computer science, sociology and software engineering - to produce a socio-technical systems perspective on the issues surrounding trust in technology in complex settings. Computer systems can only bring about their purported benefits if functionality, users and usability are central to their design and deployment. Thus, technology can only be trusted in situ and in everyday use if these issues have been brought to bear on the process of technology design, implementation and use. The studies detailed in this book analyse the ways in which trust in technology is achieved and/or worked around in everyday situations in a range of settings - including hospitals, a steelworks, a public enquiry, the financial services sector and air traffic control. Whilst many of the authors here may already be known for their ethnographic work, this book moves on from accounts of 'field studies' to show how the DIRC project has utilised the data from these studies in an interdisciplinary fashion, involving computer scientists, software engineers and psychologists, as well as sociologists. Chapters draw on the empirical studies but are organised around analytical themes related to trust which are at the heart of the authors' socio-technical approach which shows the nuanced ways in which technology is used, ignored, refined and so on in everyday settings.

Trust in Technology: A Socio-Technical Perspective by Ian Sommerville

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Ian Sommerville
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