Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Neo meets the Oracle

"The algorithms of Wall Street may be the cyber-equivalent of the 80's yuppie, but unlike their human counterparts, they don't demand red braces, cigars and champagne. What they want is fast pipes....
Meanwhile, a transatlantic fibre optic link between Nova Scotia in Canada and Somerset in the UK is being built primarily to serve the needs of algorithmic traders and will send shares from London to New York and back in 60 milliseconds. "We are running through the United States with dynamite and rock saws so an algorithm can close the deal three microseconds faster, all for a communications system that no humans will ever see," said Mr Slavin. As algorithms spread their influence beyond machines to shape the raw landscape around them, it might be time to work out exactly how much they know and whether we still have time to tame them."


Neo: Are there other programs like you?
The Oracle: Oh, well, not like me. But... look, see those birds? At some point a program was written to govern them. A program was written to watch over the trees, and the wind, the sunrise, and sunset. There are programs running all over the place. The ones doing their job, doing what they were meant to do, are invisible. You'd never even know they were here. But the other ones, well, we hear about them all the time. 

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