Chris Skinner's blog

Shaping the future of finance

Shared experiences and the networked economy

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

I was in the theatres again recently, watching shows. I love theatre, especially musicals (Ed: is it okay for Chris to say this?). I wondered why theatre is so special and then realised it’s that shared experience. A bunch of people on stage doing stuff, and a crowd of people sharing what they’re doing.

It then made me realise that this is a crucial foundation of the networked economy. It’s our ability to share and network in real-time. A good example is that I now track and trace commentary on twitter of live TV that I’m watching. It feels like you are having that shared experience, but now at home.

The thing is that the shared experience at home is not the same. Not at all. It’s 2-dimensional. You don’t have the taste or smell of the physical shared experience.

This also came home to me as I attended a few conferences and meetings in reality. The NLP kicked in. Seeing people in reality is sooo much better. You get to see the whites of their eyes and the way they are thinking. You have off-meeting chats, drinks and networking. You don’t get that on Zoom.

And I guess there’s the rub of all we talk about, in terms of the metaverse and virtually augmented realities. Is it 2D or 4D? Real-life is all dimensional (bear in mind we have six senses) but the networked economy is currently 2D (eyes and ears only). Can we get to a true virtual world? Can we augment reality with smells, tastes and touch?

Asking this question shows that we are still in early days of technology. A bit like stepping up the ladder of artificial intelligence, we are way off computers reaching the singularity where they are more intelligent than humans. With robotics, most robots still look like toys. We are in early days.

Give it another century and sure, we probably will have developed 5D networked and shared experience with robots that appear to be human … but we’re not there yet.

And the really important thing to remember is the shared experience. As humans, we are social. In the dystopian view of the world, we can end up living with machines in our own singularity. What that means is that we end up on capsules like the blue pill Matrix. It’s a Black Mirror future. It’s a Terminator future.

I don’t believe in that future.

I do believe in a future where machines augment reality, but it will always be to make our lives better, not worse. As we progress to 5D augmented realities in a metaverse, we will find ourselves sharing experiences across the world of the networked economy to make life better; to make relationships more accessible, open and global; to enable friends to connect across borders, across countries, across religions, across ethnicities.

In other words, the network will breakdown prejudice and create far more inclusion and diversity. It will do this in real-time, but it still won’t be the same as sitting together and hugging.


… or will it?


Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

What is the future?

Learn more

Learn more about Chris

About Chris Skinner

The Past, Present And Future Of Banking, Finance And Technology

Fintech expert Chris Skinner: countries need digital transformation to remain competitive

Join me on Linkedin

Follow Me on X!

Hire Chris Skinner for dinners, workshops and more

Learn directly from from one of the most influential people in technology, gain insights from the world's most innovative companies, and build a global network.

Chris’s latest book

Chris Skinner’s ‘Digital For Good’ Book Launch Event – CFTE

Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on FinTech 2023

Chris Skinner
Commentator, CEO of The Finanser and best-selling author at The Finanser

Thinkers360 Thought Leader

Contact Me

Global Awards

Lifetime Achievement Award

Global 100 - 2024 Winner

Chris Skinner - Financial Markets Advisor of the Year - The Finanser - UK 2023

Best Financial Markets Advisor of the Year 2023

30 Best Regtech Blogs and Websites 2023

Kids creating the future bank | TEDxAthens

Captain Cake and the Candy Crew

Captain Cake Winner of a Golden Mom’s Choice Award


Alex at the Financial Services

Gaping Void's Hugh MacLeod worked with the Finanser