Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Computational Politics

The weather is warming up and so I am full on into running again. Funny thing about running is it is probably the closest I will ever get to meditation.

I've tried meditation, and all that happens I end up internally shouting at the little voice in my head to SHUT THE FUCK UP. Which is ironic, since its the little voice that is telling itself to shut the fuck up.

But running, if I run really hard and get myself to suffering so that the only thing I can even think of doing is drawing breath, well, that's the best way to get the little voice to shut the fuck up.

So the point of the meditation is get your conscious self to give it a rest, and let the whole series of unconscious, and deeper level autonomic mental functions do their thing unhindered.

Funny, though, how we are ready to trust all of these automated heurisitics within us, and have a deep and  abiding distrust for the machines in our society to do the same thing.

Such is the tone of this Financial Times article, School For Quants. These UCL kiddies are working on the economic and social Frankenstein monsters of the future - computational economics and politics: algorithmic trading, and soon, algorithmic trending, in the form of SocialSTREAM and other large scale cultural analysis engines.

Apparently the existing chaos and volatility in the financial markets are not a concern, rather:
"People say about algorithmic trading 'They're just a bunch of cowboys, you know'. Treleaven shook his head. 'No', he said 'It is industrialization. It is like putting robots in car factories'".
So, if that's all it is, why should we worry about the automation of human relationships?

Well you know, it took awhile for evolution to iron out most of the bugs in this kluge of a brain I possess, should I not be patient with the cute little earnest quants as well? They may be deluding themselves. It may be quite the Sisyphean task in store for these Young Frankensteins.

But, to paraphrase Albert Camus, "One must imagine Frankenstein happy".

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