Unintended Consequences of High-Tech Layoffs- USA

High-Tech Layoffs

Particle physicists are among  group of high-tech individuals who have acquired incredible understanding of complex systems. Their domain knowledge allows them to understand and explain the behavior of even sub-atomic particles.

Law of Unintended Consequences

The Law of Unintended Consequence kicks in when these brilliant people do not find work in their original area of expertise and graviate towards money – Wall Street.

Trillions of Losses

A great example is US shutting down its version of the Superconducting Super Collider in 1993, saving the country’s taxpayers some $10billion. Not able to find work in their area of expertise, these scientist, helped Wall Street complex financial instruments -which on explosion nearly took world financial system down – requiring nearly $4 trillions to save it.

In Wall Street, these scientists, with little understanding the real-world consequences of their work (no longer working in labs – a controlled environment) and blinded by financial incentives, they created financial mosters that they themselves could not themselves understand and control.

Currently, some of the brightest mathematicians and computer scientists are working on “high-frequency trading”, i.e. auto trading by computers. We have already Flash Crash of 2010, when for few minutes – Dow lost nearly 1,000 points and that should prompt us to anticipate the unintended consequences of the lethal mix of high-tech talent in financial markets.

Anticipate Unintended Consequences

Freedom and free markets are great concepts but a society should work toward anticipating the unintended consequences, when it brightest move to totally new areas- specially financial.


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