Category Archives: Math Ha Ha

The Computer Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks

So I was thinking about whether it would even be worthwhile for space aliens to come all the way to our pale blue dot, steal our water, and pack us into meat lockers. It seemed like a logical place to start might be with some assumptions about energy, desalinization, and nutritional value. This sounds like a job for Wolfram|Alpha!

I asked a few oblique questions and got somewhat but not terribly satisfactory answers:

Huh, OK, but I was hoping for an approach that would come closer to using every part of the animal, if you will.

I just asked outright:

Oh, you don’t like that at all, do you?

Maybe you just want a more specific question:

Now that I think about it, maybe you’re right, and we shouldn’t continue this conversation after all.

Update: I ended up using a rough estimate of human heights and BMIs, less 14% (skeletal weight) and multiplied by the USDA estimate of calories per 25% fat ground beef. I’m sure that’s close enough for my purposes. Feel free to contribute any other suggestions. Oh shoot, I probably should have used pork.

What Could Go Wrong?

Rebellion Research is a hot funds manager that uses an AI, developed a few years ago and only sparingly altered since then, to decide what stocks to trade. The AI produces a list, and humans execute the trades. Sexy Wall St math and programming blah blah. Here’s why they take this approach:

“It’s pretty clear that human beings aren’t improving,” said Spencer Greenberg, 27 years old and the brains behind Rebellion’s AI system. “But computers and algorithms are only getting faster and more robust.”

Savor that for a moment. But wait! There’s more:

The firm’s current portfolio is largely defensive. One of its biggest positions is in gold stocks, according to people familiar with the fund.

The defensive move at first worried Mr. Fleiss, who had grown bullish. But it has proven a smart move so far. “I’ve learned not to question the AI,” he said.

Letting the Machines Decide: New Wave of Investment Firms Look to ‘Artificial Intelligence’ in Trade Decisions