/blog > archive > September 2013

BNP_Paribas_London_Trading_Floor

Here’s an interesting headline: Regulators Ask Humans How to Deal With Robot Traders Looks like the robot takeover is proceeding exactly as we predicted. There are just a few little bumps in the road we have to look out for. The rules have, historically, been mostly about preventing people from ripping each other off in ways that were deemed unsporting (insider trading, outright fraud, etc.). Even this wasn’t always necessary: Plenty of unsporting practices have, historically, been punished not with CFTC sanctions but with everybody refusing to trade with you because you’re a jerk. But a market dominated by computers looks a bit different. They’re so fast, and they’re all programmed by like the same 12 guys using the same mathematical models, and they have no emotional intelligence. So much more so than with humans, there’s an alarming chance they’ll all think and do the same thing.** If that thing…

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assembly_line

Michael O. Church takes a look at the world of work and finds a problem potentially as dangerous as the scourge of automation that we have been dutifully tracking here over the past couple of years. In fact, it goes hand in hand with automation to produce an even bleaker outlook than just looking at automation will provide. Per Church, the problem is an employment culture focused on subordination (linked item is not entirely safe for work due to language in the title, and may be offensive to some because of same repeated throughout): Workplace subordination, in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, had major operational efficiencies. Additionally, the destruction it inflicted on human capital was there for poets and philosophers to observe and mourn, but it never threatened to cripple the economy, because its standardization effects outweighed its costs. Assembly-line workers, in truth, didn’t need…

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oldguycallme

Writing at IT World, Eric Bloom has some suggestions for Generation Y employees to help them get noticed by (and possibly make some inroads with) their generation X and Baby Boomer co-workers / superiors. Bloom is very careful to point out how distasteful stereotypes are and makes some seemingly innocuous suggestions: Use the phone Spell words out Be a bit more formal in emails Work hard  None of this is offered as “We need to get things back the way they used to be,” but rather “these are good behaviors to display to a few key individuals in your organization.” What I find most interesting are some of the responses (apparently) from Gen Y readers of the piece: — Speak on Phone – Good luck. Just as you wouldn’t like using text when youstarted out, they don’t like making phone calls. Their numbers are too big and their generation’s preferred…

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