Friday, January 25, 2013


Gary Larsen

(Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a global set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, formed to disseminate "ideas worth spreading."

I've watched several TEDs without know who TED is, so I looked it up.  Okay.  That's good.  But any group saying they want to disseminate "ideas worth spreading" — ahem.    Past presenters include Bill Clinton,  Al Gore, Gordon Brown, and  Richard Dawkins.  We  know too well what these people think is worthwhile, so caveat emptor.  Still, it's always a good thing to know what the arguments are, and last night I watched Kevin Slavin: How algorithms shape our world .  

A spell binding performance in my view; your's may differ. The "Algo Trading" section made me quite sit up. Specifically, the 9/18/08 market crash (that "buckled the economy 'til the Banks pancaked into the rising dust ... " ).   

Slavin suggests that two competing algorithms colliding sent the system out of control.  There is in my mind every reason to fear this sort of thing, even expect it.  But I can't help noticing how timely this events was for one Mr. Barack Obama.  There was no better moment in time for his then floundering campaign.  This opportunity for the DNC (that they seized immediately!) to make him the face of the Democrat Party's solution for a financial disaster.  A disaster they blamed, with media spin, on the stupid, reckless George Bush policies.   I propose that if programmers can create those trading algorithms, they can also create timely collisions.  Watch the 18 minute presentation.  It's beautifully presented by Slavin, with a  twinkle in his eye.


Chuck Martel said...

Read Tom Clancy's "Debt of Honor" (1994). "Japan engineers the collapse of the U.S. stock market by hiring a programmer in an exchange firm to insert a logic bomb into the system, which ends up deleting all trade records."

David said...

TED has some good stuff scattered in among the many "not so worth sharing" stuff.

My favorites (so far) are:
Peter van Uhm: Why I chose a gun.
John Wooden: The difference between winning and succeeding
Drew Dudley: Everyday Leadership
Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Anonymous said...

Chuck, all of Clancy's Jack Ryan series are excellent. The Bear and the Dragon and Executive Orders really hit home what a decent, smart and HONEST person can do in the office. Of course, when you wipe out the entire Congress and cabinet along with the President and VP it is easy to "do the right thing". I love Tom Clancy's work and even though the books are long, they are a great read and they keep me turning pages for hours.


drew458 said...

algorithm: a computational process repeated a finite number of times until a result is achieved.

AlGoreith: a computational process repeated an infinite number of times until a pre-determined result is achieved.

"Bush STOLE the election!!"
- Chad

Anonymous said...

TED is a mixed bag. There is some good stuff mixed in with the clap trap.

Al Gore has no rhythm. He's an old, fat, white guy. (He's stupid, too.)

Post a Comment

Just type your name and post as anonymous if you don't have a Blogger profile.