“Mind The Gap!” – The life and times of a man on the move Episode 75

Movie stars and famous rock artists get their work copied by tomorrow’s stars, cover bands and global consortia. We get our work copied by…. yes, you guessed it…. robots!

In this weekly series, I look back on what stood out, what was bemusing, amusing and interesting during my weekly travels, interesting findings within the FX industry and interaction with an ever-shrinking big wide world. This is purely observational and for your enjoyment.

Imitation is the finest form of flattery….. or is it?

Bots. Who needs them?

Well, they certainly do have their commercial use, and no doubt many of today’s initiated, who conduct their everyday lives online can appreciate the virtues of customer service chatbots rather than endless stylophone-synthesized hold music before reaching a human automaton who, as famously depicted by Matt Lucas and David Walliams in Little Britain, then goes on to retort in anodyne prose “The computer says….. no.”

They also have their use from a business to business perspective. Back in the 1990s, with the launch of peer to peer instant messaging, interaction between companies and their technology and liquidity vendors became far more efficient, and led to the widespread use of industry-specific messaging systems which are now in almost exclusive use by Tier 1 institutions in order to convey important information in real time to customers and executing venues, at a huge monthly leasing cost.

I worked on one of the deployment projects by Hutchison Telecom into a global bank back in 1997 for mobile M2M messaging which was a relatively pioneering effort across North America in order that important transactions and data could be monitored by senior management at any location.

Here we are over twenty years later and chat support, and machine-to-machine commands are taken for granted.

However, then we come to marketing… or indeed the rather amusing misuse of bots for the purposes of gaining SEO attention on certain channels.

This week, I had to see the mirth in this YouTube ‘advertisement’ , extolling the virtues of the ubiquitous MetaTrader 4 plaform and according to its title, preparing the FX industry for the inevitable switch to MetaTrader 5, although this is somewhat tenuous.

It was, however, not the author who was extolling the virtues of the platform which is firmly ensconced in retail FX, continuing to hold 85% of the retail third party platform market worldwide despite its 15 year lifespan – and in computer software, 15 years is the equivalent of a Victorian steam pump being used today in a modern nuclear power station.

This particular YouTube performance, however, does not include the words of the owner of the channel, who very likely does not even know what MetaTrader is.

The owner of the channel, Sidney Ute, appears to be named after a Holden pickup truck with a New South Wales license plate, however we can of course be sure that this is not his real name.

Instead, it is the work of an automated crawling robot which has dragged highly-ranked imagery and quotes from articles across the internet about the platform, showing quite comprehensive technical detail in its wording, however, to me, somehow , those words are somehow familiar… I wonder why. Oh yes! It’s because they’re my words! Perhaps I can now cancel my visit to the doctor, as a little searching confirmed that I am not experiencing some old-age related Deja-vu.

My words are there, printed on the video, and also read out by an electronic version of a Californian young lady. Verbatim.

My friend and colleague Brad Alexander is also the subject of some degree of plagiarism on the video, however the bots which compiled this automatically by pillaging my vocabulary have attributed my words to the astute Mr Alexander’s imagery,  and vice versa. There are photographs of me in Guangzhou, and Mr Alexander in his dapper suit.

It is an amusing, if totally amateur, way of getting recognized in today’s world of clicks-over-quality, however it is somehow reassuring to understand that the totally unbiased bots which have no personality (or rather as little personality as the individual who set them to produce this effort) are simply looking for the most read and most highly ranked items in Google relating to a specific subject and found that on the subject of MetaTrader 4, my prose hit the spot.

I spoke to Brad about this, and he said, with his intellectual tongue-in-cheek style “Oscar Wilde said there is only one thing worse than being talked about”.

As much as a middle-aged, overweight electronic trading industry old-timer who doesn’t blow his own trumpet, this is quite reassuring.

For those who wish to be mildly amused by synthetic reporting, here is the video:

Wishing you all a good laugh, and a super week ahead!

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