The Future of Finance

In the series of ‘The Future of Finance‘, the Dutch documentary program Backlight (‘Tegenlicht’) broadcasted an illuminating episode ‘Money and Speed’, on the global financial system. The system has become increasingly dependent on mathematical models that enhance ad-hoc economic trading. But such models are variably designed and are made to learn, and thus increasingly hard for traders and analysts to understand. These black boxes shape the economy and the market as a complex machine for trading huge quantities of data and goods. The question is what unforeseen consequences this system has, in which trade takes place at the speed of light at which data moves through the fibres. I guess the fear for the unknown threats of the capitalist moloch are a well-known trope, but that does not make it less urgent and relevant. The documentary also left me with the feeling that although time and distance do hardly matter anymore in a globalized world, in the parallel universe of economic stock-exchanges they are of utmost importance: who gets what information at what point matters for the entire dynamic of the exchange, and for the wealth of half of the world. Warmly recommended material!

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