Internet commerce and economic swings: Sasha quoted

Max More (
Wed, 01 Jul 1998 14:12:14 -0700

It was delight to this Sasha quoted in this piece -- and just while he is staying with me and Natasha. He's out walking around Venice Beach, so it'll be a nice surprise when he returns.

You can find Sasha's Hypereconomy article in the Dow Jones magazine? What's the
exact citation, Sasha?


Internet commerce could spur more and more economic swings

Copyright 1998
Copyright 1998 Reuters News Service
LONDON (July 1, 1998 1:04 p.m. EDT - Economic booms and busts could become more frequent as shopping on the Internet takes off, according to a study published on Wednesday.

Jeffrey Kephart and his colleagues at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center in
New York said that as consumers buy more goods and services online, they increasingly turn to programs known as software agents to search for the best prices.

"These agents tend to exaggerate the worst market swings and create disastrous
price wars," the New Scientist, reviewing the research, said.

Kephart said software agents are not subject to the restraints that normally rein in economic activity.

"Their transactions take place almost instantaneously, cost next to nothing
distance is irrelevant," he said.

His research found that the rapid reaction of agents to price changes meant
"devastating price wars rage constantly, and providers' profits varied wildly
as they fought for business."
Alexander Chislenko, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ran similar research models and got the same results, the New Scientist said.

He said "agent economies" tend toward the chaotic and "would be like trying to control a car that was traveling at 500 miles an hour."