Stanford University
An attendee asks a question of the panel


Building the New Economy: Data as Capital
A Stanford Digital Assets Week event

Stanford Digital Economy Lab
Fall 2022 Conference

Stanford University
November 17, 2022

Photography by Christine Baker

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Web3 presents new digital means of production and an opportunity to rebalance the relationships between all stakeholders of the economy. As humans continue to develop brilliant new applications of emerging technologies, we need to reimagine the ways our society is organized so that data serves all communities.

The speakers and panelists who participated in “Building the New Economy: Data as Capital,” a special Stanford Digital Economy Lab event as part of Stanford Digital Assets Week, examined the feasibility and implications of human-centered web3, including:

  • — the role of collective citizen organizations in managing the way data is controlled
  • — more resilient and inclusive systems that spread financial and health benefits more widely
  • — the possibilities we unlock when systems are interoperable so that knowledge, trade, and interaction can flow across company and national boundaries.

The agenda featured three panel discussions and a keynote by Stanford Digital Economy Lab fellow Sandy Pentland. Keep scrolling to view videos of the panels and the keynote address.


Building the New Economy: What We Need and How to Get There

Sandy Pentland, MIT; Stanford Digital Economy Lab
Sandy Pentland delivers his keynote address at Building the New Economy: Data as Capital.

Sandy Pentland (MIT, Stanford Digital Economy Lab) opened the day by examining the current state of web3 and providing a brief overview of what companies and policymakers must do to help it grow so that the technology benefits everyone in society. Video also includes a welcome by Christie Ko and an introduction by Erik Brynjolfsson. (Keynote begins at 13:55).

Panel Discussion

The Human Perspective: New Types of Engagement

Lucy Bernholz, Digital Civil Society Lab
Delicia Hand, Consumer Reports
Melissa Valentine, Stanford University
Sheila Warren, Crypto Council for Innovation
Sheila Warren, Delicia Hand, and Lucy Bernholz
Sheila Warren, Delicia Hand, and Lucy Bernholz participate in the first panel discussion of the day.

As digital businesses replace traditional physical businesses and civic systems, we must grapple with the implications of the amount of data, and resulting power, held by a small number of actors. As in the past, citizen organizations may be central in helping balance economic and social power (much like trade unions and cooperative banking institutions formed as a response to the forces of industrialization and consumer banking). This panel discussion explored how community organizations can wield data cooperatives, shared data, and distributed tokenized funding mechanisms to form a system based on collective rights and accountability.

Panel Discussion

Resilient Systems: Making Society Work Better

Jennifer King, Stanford University
Brie Linkenhoker, Worldview Studio
Joshua Tan, Metagovernance Project; Digital Civil Society Lab
Brie Linkenhoker, Joshua Tan, and Jennifer King discuss how web3 and other new technologies can make society work better.

New distributed, technology-enabled organizations may offer a path toward more resilient, transparent, inclusive, agile, and proactive systems, and a better future, particularly in places where existing institutions are either weak or underserved. In this panel discussion, we explore how new architectures could provide significant upgrades to — or enable wholly new — systems of currency and finance, taxation, and privacy.

Panel Discussion

Data and AI: A New Ecology

Dazza Greenwood, MIT Media Lab
Jeff Hancock, Stanford Social Media Lab
Sean McDonald, Stanford Digital Civil Society Lab
Sandy Pentland, MIT; Stanford Digital Economy Lab
Jeff Hancock, Dazza Greenwood, Sean McDonald, and Sandy Pentland talk about building a more beneficial data infrastructure.

To support a world with billions of data owners, producers, and consumers, governed by digital data and AI, we need to build infrastructure that enables interoperability across company and national boundaries. This infrastructure will determine the future of finance and money, civic engagement, and factors that contribute to human flourishing. This panel discussion explores the opportunities and challenges of designing ecosystems of trusted data and AI that provide safe, secure, and human-centered services for everyone.


Closing Remarks

Erik Brynjolfsson, Stanford Digital Economy Lab
Erik Brynjolfsson shares final thoughts of the day.

Stanford Digital Economy Lab Director Erik Brynjolfsson closed the day with a few words about the future of data and decentralization.

and moderators

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