Teconomics: The Future of AI & Automation

The Economics Society's Fourth Annual Economics Summit

“The first in-person Summit since COVID-19 couldn’t have been a bigger success.” Society Treasurer Sebastian Lofblad gives an inside look into the highlights of the fourth annual Economics Summit, hosted by the Economics Society. Cover image: The Economics Society Committee at the Economics Summit. From left to right: Nadia Hamid, Sebastian Lofblad, Rania Cassam, Aliye Osman, Regina Ruci, Khushi Singh, Ehsan Heidari, and Robert Chamunorwa. Not pictured: Shivali Raichura.

This past Saturday, March 12th, saw the Economics Society hosting their fourth annual Economics Summit, a tradition first begun by the committee in 2019. The topic this year was “Teconomics: The Future of AI & Automation”, and saw a host of talks by lecturers, students and guest speakers in the Templeman Lecture Theatre.

After an Introductory Welcome from the Head of School Professor Miguel Leon Ledesma the day began properly with an exciting talk from Kent’s own Dr Sylvain Barde, giving a talk on embracing our “robot overlords”.

Dr Sylvain Barde with Director of Education, Dr Maria Garcia-Alonso

“It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to give a talk in the summit,” said Dr Barde. “It was slick and really well organised, the Economics Society clearly put in a lot of work setting it all up, and it showed on the day. It was also really nice to see that so many students were so interested and passionate about the various issues raised in my talk. I ended up spending most of my lunch having lots of deep discussions with students about cryptocurrency, AI and other technology-related topics. All in all a very productive and interesting experience!”

Left: Lucas Lane gives his talk with Aliye Osman in the background. Right: Students get lunch during the break.

After that, we had a stimulating talk from BSc Economics with Econometrics student and President of Kent Invest, Lucas Lane, on China’s digital currency, e-CNY, the world’s first digital currency to be issued by a major economy. 

After a short break for lunch, we had guest speaker and global business expert Ryan Patel, calling in from Paris! He gave some insightful food for thought about the global economy and business, and took questions about a variety of topics, such as the situation in Ukraine, the upcoming transfer of wealth from the Baby Boomers generation, and international debt.

The Economics Summit is an opportunity to network and discuss topics with peers.

After that it was on to a student panel debate on whether the UK should become a cashless society. We heard from eight students (Karlene Wengoy, Kierran McCracken, Lewis Powell, Louie Ralph, Max, Nicola Oginni, Shivani Ramesh Babu, and Stefanos Kyprianou) from a variety of backgrounds, and got their thoughts on the matter. “It was an honour to moderate a discussion with such an inspired and intellectual group of students,” said Aliye Osman, the President of the Economics Society. “We really covered all the bases [on this topic––from the legal perspective, finance, security, etc.]”

“It was a really fun and informative experience!” said panellist Louie Ralph.

Our last panel of the day was a special panel in honour of Women’s Day, made up of four development economists (DeReCK) from the school––Dr Zaki Wahhaj, Dr Bansi Malde, Professor Irma Clots-Figueras and Dr Anirban MItra. It was a very thought-provoking discussion on gender and politics in the developing world. They gave their analysis on the role that the disenfranchisement of women has on the economic development of countries, involving a wide range of relevant and topical issues, such as women’s empowerment and leadership, the relation of conflict and gender outcomes, social norms, and the implications of cross-country and within-country migration for households in developing countries. The panellists outlined various policy implications based on current research, some of which they themselves are involved in. 

Three of the four academic panel speakers. From left to right: Dr Zaki Wahhaj, Dr Anirban Mitra, Professor Irma Clots-Figueras. Not pictured: Dr Bansi Malde, who joined virtually.

“What was particularly noteworthy [about this panel] was the genuine involvement and enthusiasm of the participants––both the audience and panellists alike––which is a living testament to the vibrancy of the Kent community,” Dr Mitra told us.

We finished the day with a fun networking session and games, and wrapped it up with some goody bags!

“The Summit this year was a huge success and we had some really interesting topics. It was great to see students from all across the university and from varying disciplines come. We can’t wait to see everyone again next year!” said Shivali Raichura, Vice President of the society.