Sunday, August 15, 2010

Computers. Again.

Here are two almost completely unrelated stories (they do both involve computers though):

The First Church of Robotics: A column by Jaron Lanier (remember "virtual reality" anyone?), about the fetishization (or religification) of computers and robots, criticizing the devaluation of thought that takes place when people talk about "artificial intelligence," and reminding us that we "must instead take responsibility for every task undertaken by a machine and double check every conclusion offered by an algorithm, just as we always look both ways when crossing an intersection, even though the light has turned green."

And a much different piece, Market Data Firm Spots the Tracks of Bizarre Robot Traders: The rise to dominance of speculative capital has only been possible with the electronic infrastructure. This article peeks at one strange corner of the world of trading that takes place entirely within interconnected computer systems. Looking at the trading patterns of the bizarre bots graphed out, I wonder if the bot designers are really just using the bots as pencils, to see what kinds of clever patterns they can sketch on their market canvas?


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