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Algorithms: Good or Bad, they are Part of Our World

Algorithms fly airplanes autonomously.  Will all airplane pilots become obsolete one day?  You can buy a $50 machine which will take your blood pressure, it runs on an algorithm.  Will doctors become obsoleteAlgorithms control trading on Wall Street.  Will algorithms control the world?

When someone talks about computers controlling our world, the HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey usually comes to mind, "Open the pod bay doors Hal."

In his TED talk, How Algorithms Shape our World, Kevin Slavin explains how algorithms impact our lives.

Algorithms can be expressed as computer software programs.  Those computer programs can perform work.  Algorithms are not good or bad, they are just software. They are a tool.  Algorithms can be applied appropriately or inappropriately.

Thinking that algorithms will control the world is as absurd as believing that they will have no impact on our world at all.

As more and more things are expressed digitally, algorithms can do more and more.  As additional metadata is added, algorithms can do even more.

Can an algorithm analyze a financial report?  Can algorithms help create financial reports?  Sure, they can do both.  Not entirely, but they can help you create financial reports better, faster, and cheaper in many cases. Algorithms are just tools.  The more you understand algorithms the better you will understand when they can be helpful and when they cannot.

Posted on Monday, February 6, 2012 at 10:16AM by Registered CommenterCharlie in , | CommentsPost a Comment

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