Thursday, May 6, 2010

What Happens When Machines Become Hysterical.

Today in ten minutes machines crashed the stock market.

What happened at 3:15 today? Some people think a multi-million dollar trader at a big bank screwed up sold a boat load of stock.

Suddenly all the trading computers on Wall Street thought the world was ending, and by 3:40 the market was down 700 points.

It has harder to tell what happened at 3:45 as the market went back up. Presumably bargain hunters are swooping in.

I like to wonder what happened when super fast trading programs go bad. It looks like the system had an "system instability", and once it fell so far, it just kept going. I know the machines were not crazy, but they were too fast for anyone to realize what was happening.

I am not sure any human could have figured out what happening in fifteen minutes either, but at least they could not have traded so much stock so fast.

Oh, the dollar/euro is up to $1.26 -- the strongest point for the dollar in 14 months. Great for employees of BASF, but not so good for US exports.

I was looking for an illustration of crazy, insane and hysterical machines and I found this wooden electromechanical elephant.

I don't know if it depicts crazy machines, but it is depicting something.

It is from Les Machines de L'ile in France.