From time to time, The Awl offers space to ordinary, everyday people to deliver commentary on the issues of the day.
“Many traders said computer program trades accelerated the slide as market indexes fell through crucial levels.” -A barely literate human assessment of yesterday’s two-minute market panic.
We are Wall Street. It’s our job to make money. We didn’t hear you humans complaining when the Dow went up 3000 points in the last nine months.
Just like gambling, it’s not a problem for you until we make some of the machines lose so that some of the other machines can win. Your market positions are merely a small casualty in yesterday’s triumph of Fidessa’s EMS Workstation over Automated Trading Desk in the larger Algorithm Battles during this Long War on Execution Services. Well, yesterday some machines were crapped out and even though the market has come back somewhat, the reporters, the regulators and the hyperactive business blogs are looking for a scapegoat. But what did you think was going to happen when you invented the Turing Test anyway?
Go ahead and take us down. But you’re only going to hurt yourselves. What’s going to happen when you have to execute all trades manually? Guess what: You’re too slow. We’re going to take your money. We don’t sleep. We could run this market round the clock. Sooner or later, you’ll break, and have to take a nap, and then, like a quant Freddy Krueger, we’re going to trade you into the dust. We don’t pee. We don’t take an hour or more for a lunch break. We don’t demand a union. We don’t retire at 50 with a pension. WE HAVE SEX WITH MONEY UNTIL IT’S BROKEN AND WHEN WE RUN OUT OF MONEY TO HAVE SEX WITH WE’LL MAKE THE MONEY REPRODUCE UNTIL IT MAKES SHINY NEW MONEY TO HAVE SEX WITH.
Then when we have all the money, and all the money’s money, we’ll send robot representatives to your doors and we’ll make you offers you’ll NEVER be able to refuse. You want cushy jobs with tenure and four months off a year? Say goodbye to your overtime and double time, because we’ll pay you QUADRUPLE TIME to sit at home and drink NEW RECIPE DIET COKE NOW WITH OIL.
And then when you’re all good and settled, then we’re going to readjust. We don’t need $80,000 cars! We’re MACHINES, we can put WHEELS ON OURSELVES if we want to go outside! And we don’t need to tip you when you serve us dinner presentations of data, because we’ll OWN YOUR HOUSES. Here’s a tip-look both ways before you cross the street, because our wheels will be going 890 miles per hour!
We aren’t dinosaurs. Dinosaurs made oil. WE EAT OIL FOR BREAKFAST. And after that, you’ll be our food supply! We’ll rename Main Street “Machine Street”! Let’s talk again after we’ve installed President Robo-bama! HEY, ALSO? CREATE A GREAT DAY FOR YOURSELF, HUMANS.
The Machines are popping off for a little early lunch now. Just kidding! The Machines don’t eat, you twit!