Algorithms, Wall Street, and The White House

One of the most fascinating parts of a book I reviewed recently for USA Today, “Automate This, How Algorithms Came To Rule Our World“, by Christopher Steiner, is the story of how a poor but brilliant Hungarian immigrant who arrived in the US in the early ’60s, figured out how to use computers to automate stock trading on Wall Street.

That’s why I was equally fascinated this week when that same man, Thomas Peterffy, showed up as the star of a Republican Presidential campaign commercial. Grainy black and white pictures of what appear to be post WWII Eastern Europeans are flashed on the screen, while Peterffy warns against the evils of socialism. The spot, “Freedom To Succeed“, is posted on YouTube.

If I had not read Steiner’s book, I would never have known that the white-haired guy with the Hungarian accent, is in fact one of the wealthiest men in the world. By escaping grinding poverty behind the Iron Curtain, and amassing a fortune here in the US through intelligence, ingenuity, creativity, and tenacity; Peterffy is a prime example of the rags-to-riches American Dream.

But his commercial appears to suggest that voters are not being asked to choose between a Republican and a Democrat; but  between Democracy and Socialism.

Is he on the money, or out to lunch?

You decide. Then, get out and vote!

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