Alex Pentland and Alexander LiptonOct 25, 2021
Building the New Economy
Data As Capital
MIT Press 2021
Data is now central to the economy, government, and health systems—so why are data and the AI systems that interpret the data in the hands of so few people? Alex Pentland and Alexander Lipton's Building the New Economy: Data As Capital (MIT Press, 2021) calls for us to reinvent the ways that data and artificial intelligence are used in civic and government systems. Arguing that we need to think about data as a new type of capital, the authors show that the use of data trusts and distributed ledgers can empower people and communities with user-centric data ownership, transparent and accountable algorithms, machine learning fairness principles and methodologies, and secure digital transaction systems.
It's well known that social media generate disinformation and that mobile phone tracking apps threaten privacy. But these same technologies may also enable the creation of more agile systems in which power and decision-making are distributed among stakeholders rather than concentrated in a few hands. Offering both big ideas and detailed blueprints, the authors describe such key building blocks as data cooperatives, tokenized funding mechanisms, and tradecoin architecture. They also discuss technical issues, including how to build an ecosystem of trusted data, the implementation of digital currencies, and interoperability, and consider the evolution of computational law systems.
Galina Limorenko is a doctoral candidate in Neuroscience with a focus on biochemistry and molecular biology of neurodegenerative diseases at EPFL in Switzerland. To discuss and propose the book for an interview you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.