The triumph of the algorithm?

A 15-minute talk by Kevin Slavin on “How algorithms shape our world”

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13 Responses to The triumph of the algorithm?

  1. zainab says:

    Kevin Slavin’s Talk is really interesting, fascinating and as he’s moving with his talk, you can see and understand the relationship between (math) ”algorithm” and our society. This is really amazing to see how mathematics is related to others areas of our society that we do not think of. Kevin Slavin argues that we’re living in a world designed for … and increasingly controlled by … algorithms. He shows how these complex computer programs determine: espionage tactics, stock prices, movie scripts, and architecture. And he warns that we are writing code we can’t understand, with implications we can’t control. It made love more “algorithm”. We are always discovering or creating something new..

  2. anton salmin says:

    In my opinion algorthims are the foundation of all society. without small algorithims society would not be as stable. I am currently taking fundamental conputer algorithims and its simply amazing the things one can do when making a “reciepe”. Ive always wondered what would happen when in computers would start doing the thinking like solve world hunger or be a president.

    With the comment above i agree that we as humans have to watch out for the type of computer code we develop. From my experience of programing in c++ and python i have seen that one can get carried away and cause alot of damage if he or she exploits an algorithim. Who is to say that one day our science and math will be replaced by something more advanced due to new discoveries. Im always watching science channels to learn new physics which proves old theories wrong. Everything changes as new discoveries are made.

  3. As noted in the above comment Kevin Slavin essentially is saying that “we’re living in a world designed for … and increasingly controlled by … algorithms” and shows how the computer programs we create has effectively changed how espionage tactics, stock prices, movie scripts, and architecture” are done or created. I can agree with this because while we write the programs and work with them, without them most if not all of what we have accomplished and created today have been made possible only because of the programs. Without the algorithm we wouldn’t be where we are today and without the algorithm we wouldn’t be able to constantly create and stretch our imaginations to the limits.

  4. Krystel Roche says:

    Kevin Slavin’s talk make you understand the risks we are under using algorithm and that we also depend on it for our daily routine. First of all he says that “Algorithm is the math that computers use to make decision for example the stock market that he called the black box trading or algo trading as well. According to Slavin, the algorithms of wall street are dependents on one quality which is speed which operates on microsecond and if you’re a 5 microseconds behind, you’re a loser; this statement proves that we take a profound risk and that our entire asset depend on that risk which is operated by Algorithm. In addition, it’s pretty interesting that he says “Were writing things that we can no longer read which is “writing the unreadable”; a lot of people invest in the stock market and they don’t know how it operates; even people in wall street. Most of our assets depend on algorithm, 70% to be exact; this is half than what we have. If everything stops, I can imagine what can happen. Kevin Salvin’s talk gives me an even better idea of the causes and consequences of recession and depression.
    In conclusion, our livings nowadays depend on algorithm. We trust the computers more than anything. With the example of the “Epagogix” that run a script n gives how much a movie is worth was a very interesting point. Even in the elevator, we depend on algorithm. It’s obvious that with algorithm, technology will expand more over the years.

  5. This short video were the spokesman is Kevin Slavin basically is saying that “we live in a world designed for used culturally increasingly controlled by algorithms”He gave several examples of different industries using them in various computer programs. Algorithms manipulate information and people who have created them and know how to read and them, have create different methods of espionage tactics, stock prices, movie scripts, and architecture ( vacuum cleaners)”He also said that perhaps we are writing things or algorithms than we can not longer read.I agree with this because people who have discovered or wrote this algorithms has change the way society lives nowadays. Each of this algorithms have have shaped the way people communicate with each other, use different technologies ex I pod, then iPod touch have been able to be in the market because of the use of algorithms. I think algorithms have created a new world, without them programers and developers won’t be able to surpass their expectations. However, this people should also be aware and carefull about algorithms, since they help had help us in our everyday life, but also could be extremely dangerous and could cause a chaos in the society.

  6. Ekaterina Yushkova says:

    I totally agree with Kevin Slavin who talks about the algorithms. I also would like to add that the modern society is exactly based on the algorithms. Look at the Wall Street they are all use the algorithms which help them to solve different tasks and problems. All financial and market fields rely on this “magic” algorithms. Even the movie “Plimpton 322” mentioned the algorithms. All the 21 century has a relationship with the algorithms. Without them we would not have the cell-phones, televisions, i-pads, computers, calculators and others. Can you imagine how hard would it be for us to live without all this stuff? I think it would be really difficult.
    All in all, the importance of the algorithms plays a vital role in the society.

  7. christopher brunet says:

    I believe the most interesting part of this video is not that algorithms are part of our material life, and that we must be cautious in creating uncontrollable algorithms but the connection with nature. The mountain pictures that mimic the stock market crash is incredible because not only are you relating algorithms to man made objects but also to nature. At the end of this clip he says that “algorithms will be part of nature.” Once that happens we will lose the one thing that makes us human, choice. We will not be human anymore but just a bunch of sheep following what society suggest we buy. This is already a prevalent subject today as the rate of technological change is astonishing compared to the last 50 years. The past 10 years have been the most advanced stages of human society in terms of technological discovery, which is not enlightening but rather very scary because this means human creation is limitless.

  8. The common man doesn’t value the role of math in . When we are doing all these proofs and calculus problems we wonder why are we learning all this and how we it helps us in our day to day living . Math actually shapes the world around us , most importantly algorithms . Even in finance, Kevin mentions how there are many physicists in wall street now . Most of the trading is also done through algorithms. Some even work without without supervision.If these algorithms crashed we would be paralyzed . We should use technology as a tool and have proper control over it .You also wonder as to what are the limitations of algorithms.
    Like Christopher’s comment said , it was interesting how Kelvin brings in the idea of nature vs nurture.Like how landscapes are made by nature and man , algorithms are also a form of nature

  9. Lelia Tan says:

    I thought this was a brilliant way to once again bring in mathematics to our world. While we use algorithms all the time and all around us, we tend to breeze over it and not notice the power of its existence. I agree that algorithms have taken over a major part of societal life, especially in the business world. In the financial district, we can hear people talking about the stock market, see people analyzing trends, and a simple change in numbers can destroy many families. What surprised me the most was the fact that we literally “move mountains” so that algorithms can travel some microseconds faster. It must cost a lot to tear these paths apart, but at the same time hard to imagine how these algorithms can generate profits much higher than expenses. Another really interesting point is that algorithms can do things that confuse people, including financial crises where people are unaware of the location of billions of dollars. As Kevin Slavin impliess, a small malfunction in numbers can create chaos.

  10. faissal harrat says:

    Kevin Salvin is basically saying that our modern is increasingly controlled by Algorithm. i do agree with Salvin since algorithm is controlling our information system and even changed the way we communicate. The speed by which the data transfers is just amazing; He demonstrated how a millisecond can be decisive between loss and gain. and as Kevin said, algorithm is the future.

  11. Israel Katzeek says:

    I find much to be alarmed about here. While algorithms are a fascinating product of math I don’t think for a second that their exhaustive use is worth the potential problems that they present. Slavin outlined a minor case of what could go wrong with a book priced at upwards of a million dollars on Amazon. He explained this phenomenon was caused by some algorithm. For something similar to happen on Wall St. would be devastating and perhaps has already happened in the case of 9% of the market disappearing. If this system has expanded beyond the scope of human understanding, as Slavin says it has, and operates far faster than we could ever hope to keep up with, how can we ever hope to respond effectively in a crisis? Especially if our only defense is a red button that says stop.

    Slavin goes over other applications of algorithms and I am not happy to see it has spread to culture in the case of Epagogix. It makes sense, the one role of algorithms seems to be minimizing human work and maximizing profit; but it is fundamentally reducing this facet of human existence (creativity) to calculation and formulas and that is only certain to get worse.

  12. jd069511 says:

    Algorithms are implanted into our world and we dont know. algorithms are applied every second of our life. They dont have to be mathematical, but patterns of our lives. We live on them just dont think about it. That is why the universe in a sense is an algorithm. Do we really break the patterns of life or just alter them day to day but follow the same algorithms of life.

  13. Patrick Loftus says:

    This was a very enlightening presentation. I found it especially interesting when he talked about the flash crash and the fact that no one knows exactly what happened because no one fully understands what the algorithm(s) is(are) programed to do. This reminded me of a statement made in class about the last person to understand all the math of his time. Since that point there has been more and more specialization with each person having a smaller piece of the puzzle.

    It also reminded me of something I read about scientists looking at the interactions within a cell. The processes were so complicated that the human mind could not keep track of them in a meaningful way. They used a program (algorithm) to track the interactions and explain the processes. Basically, the answer to the questions they were asking was too complicated for humans without the aid of algorithms.

    So in a few hundred years we went from a world were one person could understand everything in a field such as math to now some of the answers we get from the questions we are exploring are too complex for one person to understand. When will we come to the point that the questions are too complicated and we need algorithmic help to ask them?

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