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Automate This: How Algorithms Took Over Our Markets, Our Jobs, and the World (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 27. August 2013
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A fascinating exploration of how the mathematics behind automated trading revolutionized business worldwide (USA Today)
He excels in bringing a dry subject to life. The characters he traces help to dramatise one of the central tenets of the book: that techniques invented for solving problems in one field are spilling over into others, accelerating the pace of change (Richard Waters Financial Times)
An accessible foray into computer programming that has become a hidden but pervasive presence (Bryce Christensen Booklist)
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Christopher Steiner is the cofounder and co-CEO of Aisle50, a Y Combinator start-up offering online grocery deals. An engineer, Steiner was previously a technology journalist at Forbes magazine and the Chicago Tribune. His first book, $20 Per Gallon, was a national bestseller.
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( The Predictioneer's Game: Using the Logic of Brazen Self-Interest to See and Shape the Future ) und einige mehr, die von auomatischer psychologischer Persönlichkeitsklassifikation, Hochleistungsglasfaserkabeln, computergestützter medizinischer Diagnostik, Datenverarbeitung bei Facebook usw. erzählen.
Obwohl ich solche Themen auch sonst verfolge, war doch einiges für mich neu und spannend. Schwach ist nur das Kapitel über die geschichtliche Entwicklung von Algorithmen. Der Autor hat pflichtbewusst ein paar Bücher gelesen und rattert bekannte Mathematiker wie Gauss und Euler herunter, mehrfach mit dem undifferenzierten Verweis, daß mit deren Erkenntnissen heutzutage Millionen an der Wall Street verdient werden. Gestört hat mich außerdem der teilweise reisserische journalistische Schreibstil, wobei das vermutlich von Verlegern gefordert wird. Kleinere Ungenauigkeiten lassen sich auch finden, z.B. wird Black-Scholes als Algorithmus bezeichnet, und Händel und Haydn trotz 50 Jahre Altersunterschied als Zeitgenossen.
In "Automate this - How algorithms came to rule our world" Steiner managed to interview some of the hidden masterminds - even of companies operating mostly in stealth mode. A creator of an algorithm turning his "child" into a cashcow has no need to tell the world about it! Steiner tells diverse success stories where algorithms really start "to rule the world". Every aspect of life is indeed affected - and any job: lawyers, doctors, psychiatrists, salesmen, journalists, artists, truck drivers, financial businessmen and many other. Steiner brilliantly brings light into the fight for talents between Wall Street and other tech companies. The chapter about psychologic analysis of humans by algorithms was to me the most fascinating. The astounding findings of Kahler and Capers are in Germany nearly unknown and not present in university lectures.
This is a book any person with base knowledge of information technology should read. It covers even the latest developments until end of 2011. Psychologists should as well read "The Process Therapy Model - The Six Personality Types With Adaptations" of Dr. Taibi Kahler directly - available via US-version of amazon.
I do have a vague idea though of how lines of code are taking over important tasks in my world: the Google search engine and algorithms of Amazon or of networks like Linkedin are probably the most important ones affecting my life already, today. Marketing automation is becoming a thing in my industry and as a teacher on writing better copy I've been asking myself how long it might take until machines will take over the writing work anyway – and what part of the process might remain with us, humans.
This book seems "old" (2012) measured by the speed of of current tech developments. But it was a great read for me. Christopher Steiner masterfully made it easy for me to follow along and I love his insights, examples and little stories.
The book has opened up my world quite a bit bringing me a) better understanding, b) less fear of not understanding what the term algorithms stands for, c) an interest in becoming part of the development of this big data industry (I suffer no shortage of ideas). And d) it adds to the strategic thinking for my own business.
Some ideas that I had died a sudden death during the reading of this book because one thing has become very clear to me now: At least in the services industry, work with data and do it the smart way or better don't even call yourself a business person.
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Automate This is about the stories and business applications of machine learning. It’s a pleasant reading for both people in the field and others. Practitioners will find interesting applications of machine learning, although without any technical details. People outside of the field will get a feeling of what can be done with data mining algorithms.
Out of the second chapter, about the history of man and algorithms, I found the book really enjoying. Steiner’s book is also telling the story of Quants moving from the finance industry to the Silicon Valley. In summary, Automate This is an excellent book about machine learning, without mentioning it (the author uses the word “automated” for machine learning). Highly advised to anyone interested in knowing how machine learning is changing our world.
The author, lacking a more meaningful approach to this subject matter, decided to dramatize it as if to catch our attention. Duly noted, and poorly received.
For the algorithm novice, Steiner gives us hope when he explains why Wall Street was altered by quants who are no longer (thankfully) flocking to that field, and so hopefully they will be able to focus instead on music production, Top 40 hit generation, baseball recruiting, professional level poker playing, medical diagnostics, human psychology, customer experience, and other many areas, which show how much our world can now be dictated by the sophisticated algorithms developed over the last fifty years. In some places, the book reads as a cautionary tale for the college student or young professional looking to find an industry that will continue to grow with human capital instead of machines (hint, it is not medical diagnostics). It also shares success stories, which might point a more experienced algorithm researcher to a unique company or individual expert that have advanced missions in automated computing.
Overall the book is written without too much technical jargon, and it has an easy ready style. At times, it has painstakingly long chapters and it does not often rely on humor to entertain. But for someone looking to learn about the algorithmic transformation of our technological world and gain a sense for how that will only continue to spread, I would recommend Steiner’s book.
Based on detailed interviews with people who developed them, he describes the importance they have in areas of:
intelligence gathering and interpretation,
Automation in the financial markets is one of the major topics of the book. To give one example, his description of Thomas Peterffy's progression from knowing nothing about the financial markets, through building a robot to type orders to buy and sell stocks, to his founding of Interactive Brokers is fascinating.
He documents the diversion of engineers, mathematicians, physicists, and computer scientists first into the financial industry, then out of it. He provides clear evidence that computer automation is affecting social behavior, advertising, commerce, and employment. He makes a strong case for improvement in education -- particularly in areas of mathematics and science.
I am a retired university professor of computer science. During my professional career, I have been involved in some of the areas Mr. Steiner describes, and I continue to write about methods ordinary individuals can use to create their own "bots" to manage their own investment accounts. Christopher Steiner has it right. He has written an excellent, entertaining, and highly readable book. If, as it appears to be the case, the future is Automate Everything, then "Automate This" is a good place to learn what is ahead for us all.