Himanshu Damle (@) shared the link to this paper, which definitely needs to be passed along here. Called ‘Abrupt rise of new machine ecology beyond human response time’ it is co-authored by Neil Johnson, Guannan Zhao, Eric Hunsader, Hong Qi, Nicholas Johnson, Jing Meng & Brian Tivnan. Abstract:
Society’s techno-social systems are becoming ever faster and more computer-orientated. However, far from simply generating faster versions of existing behaviour, we show that this speed-up can generate a new behavioural regime as humans lose the ability to intervene in real time. Analyzing millisecond-scale data for the world’s largest and most powerful techno-social system, the global financial market, we uncover an abrupt transition to a new all-machine phase characterized by large numbers of subsecond extreme events. The proliferation of these subsecond events shows an intriguing correlation with the onset of the system-wide financial collapse in 2008. Our findings are consistent with an emerging ecology of competitive machines featuring ‘crowds’ of predatory algorithms, and highlight the need for a new scientific theory of subsecond financial phenomena.
The techno-financial ecology is not evolving as fast as it is running, and scientific research has computers too, so pursuing a cognitive arms-race against this thing is not necessarily as futile as it might at first sound … but still. Operations in the “all-machine phase” is the strategic environment under emergence.