Flash Crash, Frankenstein and the Birth of the Web

Between 2.42pm and 2.50pm on May 6 2010, the Dow-Jones Industrial Average experienced a rapid decline and subsequent rebound of nearly 600 points, an event of unprecedented magnitude and brevity (...) e.g. Accenture was at one point priced at 1 cent.

(...) The US Securities and Exchange Commission report on the flash crash was able to identify the trigger event (a $4 billion sale by a mutual fund), but could provide no detailed understanding of why this event caused the crash. The conditions that precipitate the crash were already embedded in the market's web of causation, a self-organized rapidly evolving structure created by the interplay of high frequency trading algorithms. The Flash Crash was the birth cry of a network coming to life, eerily reminiscent of Arthur C. Clarke's science fiction story "Dial F for Frankenstein", which begins "At 0150 GMT on December 1, 1975, every telephone in the world started to ring."

Nigel Goldenfeld in "This Will Make you Smarter"

Now to the mindblow !

A nine-year-old British boy, Tim Berners-Lee, was reading Playboy and he was astounded. He was amazed by a  science-fiction story written by futurist-prophet, Arthur C. Clarke,  about a bunch of telephones that take over the world.

In the story, telephones start talking to one another in an unusual code-speak. One day, the phones make  crank calls to freak out house-wives; the next day, the telephones make mischievous calls to businessmen in their offices. Soon enough, the telephones form a network and create chaos so robust and severe that it rapidly brings an end to the world.

Sounding like a story out of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone,  “Dial F For Frankenstein”, so impressed young Tim that he began to construct other kinds of networks in his mind. Tim went to MIT and constructed the idea for the world wide web.

Good morning ! Rise and shine :)