March 7, 2012
The Reign of Robots Is Nearly Upon Us
Mark Buchanan, Bloomberg
The futurist Ray Kurzweil has famously predicted that humanity is approaching a “singularity,” a fateful moment when our technology becomes smarter than us and able to learn faster than we can, when it becomes the principal creator of new technologies and machines race far ahead of us. Humans may effectively fall out of the loop -- a species demoted, if not eliminated.
For now, this world remains science fiction, at least at the level of humanity. But finance is flirting with a similar transition, as ever-faster computing and communications technology takes high-frequency trading into a regime of speed where human beings can no longer keep up. In fact, we may have already arrived.