Witness: Its like the Star Trek Universe, With Better Economics

Posted on March 3, 2021
economicsedgerydersscience fictionwitness

Combining the latest digital technology with the tradition of science-fiction and the imagination of the crowd, Witness is a project from Edgeryders that aims to bring people together to solve complex problems in unorthodox ways,

“Its ambition is to become something like the Star Trek universe, or the Dune universe, but with better economics. Would technologies of great power (like Star Trek ’s replicators) be compatible with a market economy as we know, based on scarcity? How would slower-than-light interstellar trade work? (Nobel laureate Paul Krugman actually worked that one out 2) How can Harry Potter’s Wizarding world use precious metal as a currency, given that wizards can simply magic out more of it and cause hyperinflation?”


How to build a world: a webinar with the Worldbuilding Academy’s core team from Edgeryders on Vimeo.


As the Science Fiction Economics Lab’s Yudhanjaya Wijeratne says, “Our goal is to explore these ways of future living through science fiction. We draw from the philosophies and alt-economies of world around us – from punk movements, to Spain’s Marinaleda, to Vietnamese co-op structures – an accelerate everything, poke around the edges.”

Since the beginning of 2021, science fiction authors and economists have worked together on the project to construct a model of this imagined world. It is “still sketchy, and in need of plenty of debugging. But it is already an intriguing place” according to Edgeryders.

Edgeryders co-founder Nadia EL-Imam and Yudhanjaya Wijeratne from the Science Fiction Economics Lab will be speaking at IID on 24 March 2021 during the Vibrations in the Present – Rethinking existing economic models session. It is sure to be an intriguing and thought-provoking ride.


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