The time of anthropomorphic technology has come to an end. Since the first tools up to the digital age, technology has advanced from fitting in the human hand to the nanoscale, from the reading of the skies in calendar years to the attosecond. What used to be graspable, comprehensible and ultimately understandable is now out of access to our senses and only graspable through abstract reasoning. This trend now pervades all areas of human activity as it progressively gets encoded into electronic systems. The world’s economy depends more and more on these abstractions as trade takes place less inside of the human domain and more inside the domain of the machine.
The Critical Art Ensemble stated that any technology that is unavailable to the masses is an instrument of control and domination. It would therefore be better for the powers that be, if these technologies were invisible.
Algorithms, these immaterial machines with physical real-world consequences are running our lives without us being aware of it or having a possibility to react. Even their architects – mathematicians, programmers and engineers, have no control over them once they are put to work. In the world of algorithmic trading – innumerable parameters and unpredictable actors – the results often fail to make sense to human analysis. They are set up, given a possibility to interact with numerous other elements (machines and algorithms) but no one knows what these things really do when performing in a massively complex ecosystem.
The new ecosystem of the machine is an Economist’s wet dream. All these trading agents, performing their actions rationally, with equal access to information, with human emotions ruled out of the market. A perfectly rational system, the very essence of the science of Economics.