Thursday, November 20, 2014

Rodent Traders Can Beat the Odds

Eighty-five years ago, a young psychologist called BF Skinner developed what is technically called an operant conditioning chamber but is more famously known as a Skinner box, designed to contain and train laboratory animals. The simplest version rewards a rat for pressing a lever. More complex devices can play sounds, display lights and even deliver electric shocks, though Skinner himself preferred to use rewards rather than punishments ... Skinner’s ideas of modifying behaviour with rewards in a controlled environment seemed somehow manipulative and threatening. These days we call behaviour modification "nudging" and it is perfectly respectable. I thought of all this when I discovered RatTraders.com, a website offering, in its own words, "a professional service to the financial industry; rats are being trained to become superior traders in the financial markets." more

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