Forex Automation - Lost in Space

By: Martin Bottomley

How effective is automated trading?

Do you remember the TV series Lost in Space and in particular do you remember the name of the robot? If you answered "Robby" you are totally incorrect. I will tell you why a little later.

During the 1950s many scientists and engineers were working on the development of robotics and there were a good many science programs and documentaries that lead us to believe that we would by the 21st Century have most of our menial work carried out by robots.

In November, 1971, a company called Intel publicly introduced the world's first single chip microprocessor, the Intel 4004 (U.S. Patent #3,821,715), invented by Intel engineers Federico Faggin, Ted Hoff, and Stan Mazor.

This invention would be crucial to the development of robotics, and indeed today there are "robot controls" in more areas of our life than we may imagine. A good deal of our menial factory work is indeed carried out by robots ' and they do an exceedingly good job.

Yet despite the gargantuan progress in the development of robotics, I still do not have a robot that can stand behind me as I consider placing a trade who will shrill out "WARNING, WARNING, WARNING" whilst waving it's arms in the air. Nor is any of the housework undertaken by robot in my house - and there is a reason for this.

Even the most mundane task around the house requires an extraordinary amount of decision making. Just because we do not consider plugging in a vacuum cleaner to be difficult, it belies the amount of brain function required to achieve that "simple" exercise.

I have, over the years, experimented with many automated trading systems and my personal experience has been very disappointing. Since no one has yet managed to develop a robot that can carry out some very routine household tasks ' should I be surprised to find that there doesn't appear to be a robot that can make the very exacting and varied judgement calls required of the forex trader?

There are of course automated trading aids that can enter a trade when a set of pre-defined criteria is met, but that is a long haul from fully automated trading.

Traders often ask me about "set it and forget it" fully automated trading systems as if such systems were a reality. Be assured that they do not yet exist. If they did, I for one would be using one to make money while I went out and played golf instead of sitting in front of my PC for hours each day.

If such systems actually existed there would be no "Trading Houses" employing analysts and traders, just rooms full of PCs automated to make money.

How many banking institutions would have closed their investment departments and dismissed their staff in favour of such automation?

No, I am afraid that like the Robison family, automated trading is - at least for the foreseeable future - Lost in Space. So for those of you who want to make money from trading on the foreign exchange I guess that like yours truly, you will need to keep on studying those charts.

Oh, and for those of you that are still wondering about the name of the robot........

The original television series NEVER gave the robot a name, so it is simply referred to as "Robot." Dick Tufeld provided the voice and actor Bob May actually "worked" the Robot from inside. Many people mistakenly call the robot "Robby" -- which is actually the name of the robot from the 1956 movie "Forbidden Planet."

Both robots, strangely enough, were designed by the same man -- Robert Kinoshita.

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