Tag Archives: programming

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

The Walled Garden

Does anybody remember what using a computer is like? I spent a week after reinstalling my operating system picking out the right tweaks and gizmos and gadgets to make things more manageable. Weblogs exist that do nothing but teach you how you can make your experience on a computer less shitty. On a closed system, you can’t do that. You work with what you’ve got. Rory Marinich, “I Love Walled Gardens”

Marinich goes on to extol the virtues of having a sandbox to start in instead of having an expert system that must be learned before you can make anything. He’s absolutely right – not least because lower barriers to entry mean more people will experiment but because the more people who experiment, the broader the range of potential creations are out there, because that broadens the range of itches that people will discover and be inspired to scratch. (Besides, expert users who want to root around on the insides: isn’t that what the dev kit is for?)

He speaks harshly about the role of compulsive behavior in the environment in which people often define success in computing, but it’s impossible not to nod along with him, especially after another Apple release cycle. He is spot on about the people who speculated wildly, overexamined every leak, made elaborate laundry lists of every little thing a new Apple product should do, and then freaked out when Steve didn’t deliver exactly what they imagined. I happen to enjoy watching that particular parade unfold, but it seems like an agonizing place for the people marching in it.

And they must be getting tired after making the same complaints over and over again for so long.