TEDxReykjavíkSalon: Beyond Economy

Pictures by Ben Gruber.

We did it again! Our TEDxReykjavikSalon #2, entitled Beyond Economy, just took place on the 23rd of March, in PREPP.

We took up the challenge of looking at the current economic system, beyond its borders. By presenting emerging alternative economic tools and systems, we imagined possible future scenarios of how we use money — and how money uses us.

It was an exciting and enriching journey! From new types of currencies that have been taking up space in the money trade in the last decade, to the role of artificial intelligence in understanding macroeconomics, and last but not the least, how crowdfunding changes the buyer’s role, we have explored the realms of things to come.

Pictures by Ben Gruber.

Hlynur Þór Björnsson, co-founder of the Icelandic crypto-currency exchange isx.is, talked about the ontology behind money. Starting from the observation that money is debt that banks can speculate with in our mainstream financial system, he shows how cryptocurrencies can displace this mechanism and offer a more democratic way of creating money in a society.

A different use of cryptocurrencies was explained to us by Gunnar Stefansson and Anna Helga Jónsdóttir, both from the University of Iceland. They came up with Smileycoin, a currency they use to reward students. One of the things they have managed to do was to take this system to Kenya — to a high-security prison — and explore the creation of global ties, through cyptocurrencies, that lift up the material and spiritual conditions in which people live.

Our relationship with money was further explored by Arnar Sigurðsson, one of the founders of Karolina Fund and founder of Klapp filmmaker’s co-op which emphasises skill and resource sharing in the filmmaking community. Because capital is how we interact with money everyday, we are passive buyers — he says. As such, crowdfunding disrupts this dynamic and enables more people to be active participants in the creation of products.

Pictures by Ben Gruber.

Shifting our focus from cryptocurrencies and crowdfunding, the role of artificial intelligence in understanding the economic system was emphasised by Jacky Mallet’s talk. With a PhD from MIT, Jacky is currently working on building artificial economies based on a fractional reserve banking system in order to understand their macro-economic behaviour. Her most recent experiment shows how the house lending system in place is exclusionary on a fundamental level.

Pictures by Ben Gruber.

The talks provided a rich terrain to be explored through discussions. The different approaches of the speakers were challenged against each other and by the public. We have found ourselves in a community work of attempted framing of our near economic future.

Just like our previous TEDxReykjavikSalon — Beyond Food, this event featured two sessions, each of them including 2 talks, followed by the moderated panel discussion and Q & A from the public.

Pictures by Ben Gruber.
Pictures by Ben Gruber.

PREPP made us feel like home — with the lovely cakes they baked for us and the hot drinks that warmed our souls during the break separating the 2 sessions.

All in all, we had so much fun! Inspiring talks, engaging discussions, homy atmosphere, and such a beautiful public! Below is a glimpse of the mood of this memorable evening.

We look forward to bringing our audience more Salon events in which we go beyond topics of interest for the community.

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