Thursday, December 16, 2010
'Crop Circles' in Cyberspace | FBI | Fortean Times: "Most intriguing, though, is the idea that no one is responsible – that instead, the systems are doing it for themselves. The financial markets’ digital systems are now so complex, and the number of organisations using bespoke trading bots so huge, that the interaction between the programs could well be generating emergent phenomena spontaneously. That is, these patterns are just weird side effects that come about in much the same way that fractals come about as a result of chaotic phenomena, emerging fully formed from the ether with no design or overall purpose. But they are nonetheless there, asking for quotes and behaving in ways that every so often have an influence on trading. New behaviours could be evolving from the combination of, and interaction between, the behaviours that the programmers intended. The question remains, though: how long has this been going on? After all, no one thought to look before May of this year. There already seems to be a huge amount of this kind of activity taking place, and as the markets increase in size and complexity, how will the behaviour of these patterns, now dubbed ‘Algorithmic Crop Circles’, develop? And what will the outcome be?"