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This week the New Yorker has a long essay on the the history and development of driverless cars. The writer spent months with Google engineers and various auto industry executives and the piece makes for a fascinating read. Although you walk away amazed at the power of the technology, the central thesis of the story is not that driverless cars are simply the next innovation in luxury, but rather that they are the next quantum leap in safety.
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Contrary to our intuition and grandiose sense of self worth, the computer is actually a much better driver than 99.99% of the general public. It doesn’t veer, it doesn’t fall asleep, it doesn’t drink, it doesn’t get bored and it doesn’t spill coffee all over its pants. In fact if public safety was the only factor, it would behoove us to legislate that all driving must be driverless by the next decade.
The driverless car is simply the next step in the integration of machines into our daily life. It is only jarring to our sense of self worth because it replaces a key activity that most of us perform every day. Yet if you think about it machines already correct our actions on daily basis in many spheres of life.
For example I am 50 years old and I still to this day cannot accurately spell the word “tomorrow”. Indeed I can barely spell every third word I type, but with google autocorrect no one is the wiser and instead of looking like the writings of a 10 year old with ADD, my research is quoted daily across the globe.
Certainly you can make the case that but ignoring the spelling conventions of the English language I am a lazy good for nothing slacker that should spend a semester in a high school remedial grammar class. But the truth of the matter is that few us can attain a Spartan sense of discipline, but many of us can achieve near Platonic levels of wisdom with the aid of technology.
Which brings me to trading. The world of retail trading is changing rapidly as algorithms continue to dominate flows in almost every market. When it comes to FX, the MT4 platform is the overwhelming choice for automated trading for the vast majority of retail clients. And there is a good reason for that. The MT4 allows you to program many repetitive, tiresome tasks that are often the difference between winning and losing.
Indeed according to some industry literature MT4 traders have a lifespan that is 5 times as long as point and click manual traders and they tend to perform up to 6 times better than screen based traders. None of this should be a surprise. The two main reasons why algo accounts do so much better is because computers don’t pull stops and they don’t add to losing trades. Indeed ever since I’ve moved all my trading to algorithms I haven’t blow up a single account. That certainly doesn’t mean I haven’t had losses, but in each every case the losses have been contained to the parameters of my trading plan – and isn’t that progress enough?