Fast Company

"Data Nudist" Gabriel Shalom on Open Video, Trust, and the Future of Money

Gabriel Shalom is a young filmmaker who just completed a film called The Future of Money. It features interviews with young social entrepreneurs who are attempting to create networks like Flattr and Giftflow where social currency can replace the paper kind. Many participants were interviewed over Skype, sitting in their bedrooms, and the whole thing was thrown together with $6,000 raised from a large group of donors.

"There's this whole parallel economy based on trust, transparency, and open data"--phenomena like couchsurfing, coworking, community gardens, and hackerspaces, says Shalom. He's one in a horde of innovators and hackers in Barcelona for the Mozilla Drumbeat Festival on the Future of Learning, Freedom and the Web--from David Wiley, one of the godfathers of open educational content, to Joi Ito of Creative Commons, and Mitchell Baker, Mozilla's chief lizard wrangler. I'm here documenting it this week as a follow-up to my book DIY U.

For Shalom, openness about who you are is linked to getting what you want. "What we're looking at creating are data nudist colonies: whole groups of people being transparent and attaining a new level of happiness and comfort," he says. "If you are open about what you have, what you need, what you can do, who you know, you start to generate a kind of digital profile that is very rich in potential value."

Rather than allow a company like Facebook to make billions by monetizing our identity and our social graph, citizens of the networked utopia should be able to benefit from these assets directly. It's a heady idea and likely to appeal to a lot of Millennials who are richer in friends, time, and passion than in cash.

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  • Thomas Greco

    Gabriel's video highlights the changing values and attitudes of the younger generation, which suggests the possibility that we may, after all, be able to muster the radical sharing, cooperation, and reorganization that will enable us to successfully complete the metamorphosis from the "caterpillar economy," which demands ever accelerating growth, to the sustainable, steady-state "butterfly economy" of fairness and peace.

    Thomas H. Greco, Jr., author of The End of Money and the Future of Civilization