Dire Consequences of Increased Reliance on DSS

This week we read another paper that brings forth important implications although it was written almost 25 years ago (yes, 1988 is 25 years ago).  The growth of Decision Support Systems have allowed for huge expansion in various economic industries and given companies the power to increase their decision making efficiency.  This was no doubt seen by M.C. Er.  However, the incredible growth of DSS has created whole industries that are essentially automated.

While reading this paper I could not help but think of the current state of the stock exchange.  Investment banks have now developed incredibly complex algorithms to run thousands of trades a day based on fractions of a cent.  This normative support allows for the transaction of millions of dollars a day, essentially with zero human interaction.  The only difference between some major companies is their ability to perform these functions quicker, based a lot on their proximity to the stock exchange itself.  My worry is that this intense automation will someday lead to a catastrophic collapse.  We’ve seen what can happen when financial markets become unstable, but I believe that the cataclysmic risk grows every day as investors continue to automate their transactions.

Of course, this is a small look at one industry in a very diverse global economy.  However, I think the main point is that the increased reliance on DSS eliminates the checks and balances that the human mind can bring forth.  In many cases this may be for the better, but other times it will not, and the consequences may be dire.



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