A new participant in the Rerun event. Thank you so much Frank Beyer. This is what he said:
Stocks and Futures
By John Visclosky
This story is a good mix of Arthur C. Clark’s 2001, the movie the Butterfly Effect, Homo Deus and the current situation with Covid19. In Clark’s science fiction novel, 2001, Hal the computer system controlling a spaceship goes rogue and starts trying to kill the astronauts on board. Since this novel was published in the 60s, AI becoming autonomous and rebelling against its creator has been a constant existential threat for humanity. In Stocks and Futures, Freya, a program designed to respond to miniscule shifts in the market, starts doing her (its) own thing. Freya’s reactions to the market can earn the trading company big money. Brad, Freya’s programmer, has named her after the Norse god and there is a nice aside about why he might have done this. It turns out Freya is now predicting the future instead of just reacting and so can make the company more than ever dreamed of. Matt, a manager, is happy about this, but there is a problem which I won’t reveal here – suffice to say a disaster is coming and Matt and Brad fear that any actions that they take from now on will have a big effect on the future. This is a butterfly effect type scenario: the smallest move could have a huge ripple.
Imagine if there had been a machine to predict Covid19, well perhaps there was? And somebody has made big bucks from it – instead of warning the world.
Many claim machines are unlikely to take a leap to true creativity and autonomy. However, what is true creativity beyond just remixing the input of others to make something a little bit new? As Yuval Noah Harari tells us in the book Homo Deus, a computer can now make a symphony which experts cannot distinguish from those composed by humans. A computer can ‘remember’ every bit of music ever created and so has a lot more to draw on than your average musical genius.
Matt is the typical Wall Street type shark, while Brad is the computer geek with a conscience. There is just enough character development in this short, fast paced story, which is tightly written and has a solid plot.