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Thursday, 8 March 2012

how algorithms shape our world

this kevin slavin talk basically says:

- maths has changed form something we extract from the world to something that is shaping it.

- specifically algorithms (how computers decide stuff).

- they become like truth because they repeat again and again.

- used a lot in financial trading - algorithms used to hide large trades by splitting them up into lots of small trades - and algorithms used to find algorithms doing that and put all the small trades together to see what is going on.

- but these algorithms have caused a 9% flash reduction in the usa stock market - and nobody can explain how it happened.

- so we are writing things we can no longer read.

- also happens on amazon where items get crazy prices without any buying or selling - what we see here is algorithms locked in loops with each other with no human control.

- or are used by netflix to work out what movies to recommend you watch next.

- or there is one that analyses a movie script to determine how big a grossing movie it will make - so affecting culture.

- and if any of these algorithms went wrong how would we know?

 - or to go back to the stock market - speed is of the essence for these algorithms.

 - "it takes you 500,000 microseconds just to click a mouse, but if you’re a wall street algorithm and you’re five microseconds behind, you’re a loser".

- so people are building facilities for servers near the nodes where the internet is distributed from so these algorithms can get nearer to the internet in microseconds.

- and they are digging trenches for optic fibre cables between cities to allow thee algorithms to get faster.

- so the virtual world is affecting the real world.

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