Robots ruined the Economy
March 14, 2009 3:44 AM   Subscribe

Two words - - Robot Bailout!
posted by fairmettle at 5:31 AM on March 14, 2009

Well, Domō Arigatō Mr. Roboto.
posted by gman at 5:36 AM on March 14, 2009

Robot insurance?
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:53 AM on March 14, 2009

It's all because of that damn robo-Acorn giving robo-mortgages to Afrobot-Americans who couldn't afford them. Can we all please stop being robo-politically-correct and admit the robo-truth?

(And don't call me robo-phobic. I heard this from Sean Hannity, and he's the biggest screaming robo of them all.)
posted by PlusDistance at 7:08 AM on March 14, 2009 [3 favorites]

This is clearly just the initial steps in a larger master plan by the robots to destroy the human race.
posted by mock at 8:05 AM on March 14, 2009

It's all because of that damn robo-Acorn giving robo-mortgages to Afrobot-Americans who couldn't afford them.

Hey plusdistance, screw you! You roboservitives are the problem here. Everyone knows that it was under regulation of flesh-creatures and the exploitive business practices of meat-bags that caused this recession. You skin-thing apologists are dragging this country down!
posted by fuq at 8:08 AM on March 14, 2009

Exterminate! EX-TER-MIN-ATE!!

Seriously, the problem is with the meatware for creating and trading in financial abstractions like derivatives, CDIs, CDOs etc that were traded without fully understanding what
these instruments were about. I suspect that this was in some aspect deliberate - the people who championed these instruments knew that the institutions and funds they were selling these to didn't fully understand them, in a new unregulated market.

I'd like to employ some otherwise idle assembly-line robots from GM to physically "reeducate" the crooks who created those financial instruments. After we deal with the idiots who OK'd the sale of no-down 40-year mortgages with hidden balloon payments.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:40 AM on March 14, 2009

"Robots ruined the economy..."

...because we humans asked them to.
posted by majick at 9:05 AM on March 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

What? You can argue that comptuers caused the economic meltdown (or rather, poorly programmed computers) But how can you blame robots? The wallstreet computers didn't have, like, legs and laser guns and shit.

Is every computer a 'robot' now? No.
posted by delmoi at 9:29 AM on March 14, 2009

God frakkin' toasters!!!
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 12:14 PM on March 14, 2009

I don't know whether I believe the economy is the robots' fault. Sure, they amplify wild swings, but human traders do many of the same things in those situations (albeit more slowly). Human traders have managed some pretty bad crashes even before computers, and I think there were models and analysts and quasi-magical "strategies" long before computers. My guess is that the problem with economic models isn't that math doesn't apply at all or that analysts don't understand the subject it is their job to analyze, so much as that it is impossible to model a system containing the model itself.

It's like trying to predict the future. Your prediction changes what will happen, because people factor it into their decision process. Similarly, building a system out of models of that system is bound to fail eventually. That's why I don't think stock market analysts (regardless of whether they are human or machine) should base any of their decisions (ever) on the actions of the market itself, since that's the thing their decisions are affecting. Feedback is bad. Even negative feedback in a circuit can blow up if you get your phase shifts wrong.
posted by Xezlec at 1:28 PM on March 14, 2009

delmoi: An automatic trading program will respond to stimuli, autonomously making changes to the world it inhabits, in a way that can affect its survival and the survival of others.

They are more idiomatic 'robots' than any of the other bullshit linked in this thread.
posted by blasdelf at 1:33 PM on March 14, 2009

The article makes a bold claim: "The third problem is that the models don’t “understand” each other"

It's total bullshit. The whole point of a short-term trading program is to try to discern the strategies of the other actors. Quants know about shit like this.
posted by blasdelf at 1:38 PM on March 14, 2009

"Robots ruined the economy..."

...because we humans asked them to.

Man, somebody should like make some kind of law about robots not doing shit that will hurt people.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 1:44 PM on March 14, 2009

The robots have a bad rap. They were just used by the big bankers as an excuse to do deals with what they knew was completely worthless crap so they could double-dip the tax writedowns using shell companies in the cayman islands and other tax havens.
posted by ArkhanJG at 1:52 PM on March 14, 2009

Artful Codger - Warning! Not really a robot!
posted by Artw at 2:45 PM on March 14, 2009

How to survive a robot uprising.
posted by harmfulray at 5:46 PM on March 14, 2009

I was watching a "How It's Made" on escalators, and the robot polishing the stair plate had disturbingly human-like movements.

That, or humans have disturbingly robot-like movements when performing similar tasks.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:24 PM on March 14, 2009

Well, at least we're safe from the terrible secret of space.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:57 PM on March 15, 2009

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