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Device Protects Day Traders From Emotional Trading

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the never-again dept.

The Almighty Buck 260

Philips Electronics, a Netherlands-based company, has come up with a device designed to protect day traders from emotionally based trading decisions. The Rationalizer measures your galvanic skin response and lets you know when you are under stress. An online trader can then take a "time-out, wind down and re-consider their actions," according to the company. This may have come too late for us, but at least future generations won't have to live through the horror of angry day trading.

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260 comments

This is a great change (4, Funny)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748579)

Now all day traders will be making rational, informed decisions instead.

Is day trading a good thing? (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748749)

I'm wondering how day trading, as an activity, benefits society. Sure, if done right, it can benefit the individual, but what use is it to the average person? It seems to promote the tragedy of the privates. That is, privately owned resources will be used unsustainably and depleted because the owner can simply take the profits and reinvest them into rapidly depleting some other resource. Communally managed resources will be used sustainably because no one person can abscond with the profits and reinvest them in some other resource depletion scheme. Day trading seems the perfect example of this. Day traders have no connection with the companies they trade in, no commitment to them, no stake in them at all.

With other industries, one can easily see how they benefit society, yet day trading seems to provide no benefit. Maybe someone who understands the function of day trading better than I do can explain what purpose it serves besides making a few individuals rich at the expense of everyone else. Day trading seems more like gambling than responsible ownership. Doesn't it create an unacceptable moral hazard?

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (3, Insightful)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748841)

They make all their money by pushing papers around.

They create no products and provide no services. I think that's all anyone needs to know about how capitalism supposedly rewards hard work.

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29749047)

You can think of it as short term investing. Sure, an investor produces nothing and earns money seemingly from nothing, but you're ignoring the fact that he's supplying the investee with the ability to produce a product/start a business, etc.

Day trading's the same on a micro scale. Any consential transaction benefits all parties. So in the end it's positive.

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (1)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749711)

Except that unless the day trader was involved in the initial public offering, his purchase of company stock really has no impact or actual investment in the company. That's the main thing I don't understand or appreciate about the stock market-- once the company sells stock, all subsequent sales and trades are between the old owner of the shares and the new owner-- the company is not significantly impacted.

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29749595)

If it isn't hard work pushing papers around to make money, why doesn't everybody do it?

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (4, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748847)

Day trading seems more like gambling than responsible ownership. Doesn't it create an unacceptable moral hazard?

I don't think you understand what a moral hazard is. Moral hazard refers to the concept that people who are isolated from risk (i.e: mega-corps that get bailed out when they fuck up) won't behave as rationally as those that are fully exposed to said risk. I don't recall many (any?) day traders getting bailed out during our recent round of corporate welfare.

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (1, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749083)

I think I do understand what a moral hazard is. Day traders are isolated from the risks they create, not because of any bail out, but because they can simply reinvest their money into something else after ruining a company. They have no incentive to look after the long term welfare of the companies they invest in. That is a moral hazard. They can create risk for the companies they invest in, while being isolated from that risk.

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749301)

Day traders can't "ruin" a company that's sound. And how can you claim that they are "isolated" from risk when they risk losing massive amounts of money on a daily basis?

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749581)

They risk losing their own money, but they create a larger risk to society that they are isolated from. They are basically absentee landlords. They have no vested interest in keeping any company functional. If they can make a profit by killing a company, what's to stop them from doing so?

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (1)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749805)

I'm likely quite ignorant on this subject-- but *how* can a day trader (or even group of them) kill a company?

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749783)

I've yet to find an example of where day traders did ruin a company.

One example where they were accused of it is HBOS plc, Europe's largest mortgage bank. Rumours started circulating that it was running out of money, and was a week away from bankruptcy, so they were accused of bringing down a good solid company.

It turns out that the rumours were wrong only in that it was actually three hours away from bankruptcy as a result of its investments in toxic mortgage assets.

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (1)

bravecanadian (638315) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749309)

How is a day trader insulated from risk? How can a day trader ruin a company? How can they create risk for a company?

You do realize that the share price in general has nothing to do with the day to day operations of the company, right?

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29749695)

So, day traders are CEOs?

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (4, Informative)

ragethehotey (1304253) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748849)

Google "liquidity" and you'll realize why having it is such an important thing. (and why gambling day traders provide it)

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29748961)

Liquidity is overrated. It's a justification, a rationalization after-the-fact for and activity that is fundamentally worthless to society.

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29748985)

Liquidity is overrated. It's a justification, a rationalization after-the-fact for and activity that is fundamentally worthless to society.

On the other hand, the majority of humans on this earth are worthless to society.

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749207)

Liquidity is overrated.

That's tantamount to saying that efficiency is overrated.

-jcr

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (2, Interesting)

NoOneInParticular (221808) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749571)

Efficiency is overrated.

No serious. Part of the reason we're in such a mess is because of over-efficient business. Business doesn't keep items in stock, they don't have spare capacity, everything is optimized so that every penny is squeezed from the business as long as everything runs as normal. The slightest hiccup will make the whole house of cards come tumbling down.

Contrast this with nature. Overefficient predators will die out (as they deplete their source of food), and everything is set up to be adaptive, not optimized. So yes, efficiency is overrated, adaptability is better. In the long run we're dead, but hopefully not extinct.

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29749605)

Efficiency can be overrated.

When you have a widget that is 70% efficient and it "loses" $100 a year due to "inefficiency" would you claim that it makes sense to spend $2,000 to bring it to an efficiency of 85%?

The answer will be different if you're talking about a single item, a product line that sells millions per year, a product with a life-expectancy of one year, a product with a life-expectancy of 200 years, etc.

Like with EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE REAL WORLD, there are real tradeoffs to consider. You cannot just make a claim that "efficiency is never overrated"... it certainly can be if it "costs" more than it "saves".

The same thing is true in software design. I've seen programmers spend dozens of hours trying to make a piece of code more "efficient" (you can substitute "elegant" here if you like) and this is for a marginal gain in efficiency/elegance in a relatively unimportant piece of software where the net benefit of the efficiency will be approximately 2-3 hours of compute time over the next 100 years. You MAY be able to make a claim that more efficient code is easier to debug/repurpose, but that still needs to be weighed against the disproportionately large amount of effort (diminishing returns) to take a "relatively" efficient design and make it "astoundingly" efficient. A lot of times, it makes sense to settle for "good enough" in the real world.

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (1)

lee1026 (876806) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748883)

In theory, it smooths out random changes to the price, reducing the risk of any investment that people make (because a stock that is moving steadily up is less risky then a stock that is going up in crazy waves of ups and downs), which, in turn, allows for companies to borrow money easier.

In practice, you are basically right.

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (4, Insightful)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748997)

I think day traders probably have little power over what the industry is doing, since they don't stay investors long enough to go to board meetings or anything. What's more important are the people who buy into a company, pressure it into insane business practices for short term profits (or simply go along with short-term profit motivated plans), then cut and run and get away with it because they have no liability when the company goes bankrupt.

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (2, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749759)

For instance, a case [nytimes.com] reported by the NYTimes in which a firm that does something useful is essentially looted by a private equity firm, who bought up the company's stock on debt, and then promptly assigned the debt that they used to buy up the company to the company they just bought.

Private equity firms get $750 million, Simmons Bedding Company gets bankruptcy. It makes the stuff Michael Milkin was pulling in the 1980's seem positively nice and friendly by comparison.

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (1)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749113)

Day trading furthers the evolution of humans ...

The best day traders make money from the worst day traders. Women flock to money, so the good day traders will breed, the rest will have to spend all day on /. posting how unfair day trading is.

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (2, Funny)

Teun (17872) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749799)

No no no!

The good ones never leave their screen.

It's the slackers that take the time to meet up with the girls..

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749151)

I'm wondering how day trading, as an activity, benefits society.

They provides liquidity in the markets. Every time you want to buy or sell a share, the faster you can find a counter-party, the better your chance is to get your order filled.

-jcr

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (1)

BabyDuckHat (1503839) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749293)

They provides liquidity in the markets. Every time you want to buy or sell a share, the faster you can find a counter-party, the better your chance is to get your order filled.

Oh, so they enable day trading.

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749153)

Sure it is. Day trading transfers money from idiots to those who are smarter and wiser. Every study I have seen says that day traders generally lose money over the long term.
My understanding of the markets is that there are times when day trading benefits society by rapidly moving resources from an inappropriate allocation to a more appropriate allocation. If day traders did not exist, all of the profit to be had from such activity would end of in the hands of a much smaller group of people. As it is, this profit gets spread out over a larger group of people who generally feed it back into general distribution by making bad decisions later.

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (1)

GargamelSpaceman (992546) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749291)

I would say that yes day trading is a good thing, because wealth in the hands of day traders tends to flow out of their hands and into the rest of the economy. Once the day trader is broke, the problem is solved. Of course a few very lucky day traders will exist and these will brag about how much money they made and attract many others to the day trading industry. These others wouldn't have contributed any insight into the market had they not become day traders anyway. It's worth having a few wealthy day traders as the service they provide is to more efficiently and quickly separate the other fools from their money by being poster boys/girls for daytrading as a practice.

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (2, Interesting)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749357)

Professional traders (which i hope to be one day) are the lubrication of the gears of finance. They give companies the money to grow. The difference between traders and Joe Bob who bought a stock is financial education. If Joe knew what a pro knew, he'd do it too. Most people do not have the time or interest to seek a financial education. Which is terrible for them and the economy in general. ERISA and the baby boomers are going to fuck up the US economy in about 6 years or so*. i hope that won't happen, but there is a huge potential for disaster there.

It's like a wave powered generator. The waves are there and aren't going away. Traders siphon some of the energy that was swishing back and forth anyway. They just keep it, instead of losing it. Imagine a field of hovering platforms rising and falling above the water. An uneducated person would stay on it until they are sniffing saltwater. A pro would have sensed the downward trend and hopped off. Being smart enough to follow the rats off the sinking ship isn't evil or selfish or greedy, it's smart.

The company i'm trading doesn't care if i hold the stock for an hour or a year. The market doesn't either, really.

Day traders benefit the market as a whole by making the market exist and giving it life (movement). If a stock is (wrong)valued, the day traders smell the blood and start the correction.

i'll grant you that it's hard to see the benefit, but it's there.

Day traders are a tiny part of the whole trading ecosystem. They just happen to be the sharks, while most people are the tuna. In a very real way, my success depends on being smarter than the sucker i'm selling to or buying from. But that's true of all business! i'm smarter (at computers) than the users i support. They don't want to be computer smart, they want to be smart at something else. So they pay me to be smarter and do things they don't want (to learn how) to do. i don't want to go to chef school but i want to eat mushroom risotto. i give money to someone smarter than me to cook it for me. The chef isn't evil and i'm not a chump (just lazy). It's an exchange of want for have. i have money, he wants money. i want nummy risotto, he has cooking skill and morel mushrooms.

In stock trading, i HAVE a stock that's been going up. Joe heard from Jeff that $stock is going up. i forecast, based on the dojis, P/E ratios and the M for murder that this stock has run up against resistance and is about to go down. i WANT to cash out and take my girlfriend to Restaurant Nora for that risotto. Joe WANTS that stock and HAS cash. We both get what we want. The stock moves. Joe might get what he wants too.

It's only gambling if you don't know what you're doing. The meteorologist doesn't pull a prediction out of his ass. He looks at historical trends. Good poker players don't gamble. They read your tells, calculate odds and decides the risk/reward ratio he wants. He KNOWS when to hold 'em. Yeah, there is risk involved. But a smart trader knows not to take stupid risks (or to let emotions or ego get in the way). Being someone in the know... i can make money on a stock regardless of the direction its moving.

* When the boomers are forced to start withdrawing from their 401s there will be more sellers than buyers, stock values will tank (unless we have an awesome president between now and then).

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (2, Funny)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749529)

> They just happen to be the sharks, while most people are the tuna.

Which makes the hyper-scalping (sub-second round trip) automated trading platforms some sort of T-1000, right? :)

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749723)

How is a president, even of arbitrary awesomeness, going to keep the value of a commodity with an increasing number of sellers and a decreasing number of buyers from going down?

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (2, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749881)

Day traders are a tiny part of the whole trading ecosystem. They just happen to be the sharks, while most people are the tuna.

I guess I was asking, what's in it for the tuna? Why should a tuna let itself be eaten by a shark, when the tuna is a citizen of a democracy where it can vote to outlaw sharks?

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749373)

The real question is more complex. Is day trading a BAD thing and, if so, can we stop it?

And if we find a way to stop it, what are the consequences to non-daytraders? Are those consequences worse than tolerating daytraders?

The measure of a good law is:

1. Is it preventing some form of harm?
2. Is it introducing less harm than it is preventing?

All laws should go through this kind of proof. How much harm is being done, how can it be prevented, and how much harm would be done by the prevention. I can think of a number of laws that would simply go away with the slightest application of this test.

Of course, the terms used are extremely subjective, and there are many types of "harm" (physical, emotional, financial, loss of freedom, etc). So it's tough to tally most laws on T-charts.

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (1)

eric-x (1348097) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749443)

Day trading is not a quick get rich thing unless you already have a lot of money and it is still a lot of work and stress and mainly a form of entertainment. Most people work to make money not to serve a higher purpose. In that light it is not much different from regular jobs. Once rich one might do something really useful with its money, like setup a company and thereby providing jobs and new products. It's possible.

What use is television? It mainly encourages to do nothing and gives raise to social isolation. Are program makers morally wrong? Is making money with poker wrong? There are so many money making activities that you could consider a 'moral hazard' that your point becomes pretty insignificant.

Re:Is day trading a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29749653)

Did you notice all the communally managed resources being used sustainably by national governments?

Re:This is a great change (1)

clavo-t (831373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748917)

Yeah... No decision is made without emotion... Why blame emotions? "emotional trading" is not bad by itself... why not blame stress instead?

Re:This is a great change (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749039)

Given the nature of the stock market, you've got to wonder whether calm "rational" decision making is any better than stressed "emotional" decision making. Doesn't a monkey with a dart board outperform most stock analysts?

Re:This is a great change (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749279)

Scientologists have had this device for years, of course. They call it an "E-meter."

... and, as far as I can tell, they have no actual data suggesting that this would actually make for better trades. (But then, neither do the scientologists).

Re:This is a great change (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749377)

Now all day traders will be making rational, informed decisions instead.

What if it worked like a force feedback joystick? Now that would heat the emotions up instead...

One should not be mandator for posting here (2, Insightful)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748581)

If every /. poster had to use one, life would be much duller :-)

Re:One should not be mandator for posting here (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749715)

I'm actually filing a patent for a (software based) gizmo that will work exactly the opposite for reading Slashdot: whenever it detects rising blood pressure due to annoyance, it will give you an injection of adrenaline and a short series of rapid, high-voltage electric shocks, making the slashdotter just angry enough to write that flame he otherwise wouldn't post due to Slashdot's unreasonable moderating standards.

If, on the other hand, it detects an increase of endorphines caused by the writing of a masterfully crafted troll, it will give you a blow job.

Hopefully, my invention will eliminate the need for meta-moderation.

I've known a lot of day traders. . . (5, Interesting)

Slicebo (221580) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748585)

. . . and trust me, giving them a device that will tell them when they are stressed is about as useful as taping a stethoscope to their chest so they can check whether their heart is beating.

Day traders are *always* stressed. Always.

Re:I've known a lot of day traders. . . (1)

eric-x (1348097) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748683)

Indeed. Daytraders that give in to their emotions are hopeless anyway, a Rationalizer won't save them. You need to plan ahead so you know what to do when things go down, and then stick to that plan.

Re:I've known a lot of day traders. . . (4, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748685)

Not only that, but the first time a trader can't make a trade because the device tells them to chill out, that sucker is flying through a window.

Re:I've known a lot of day traders. . . (2, Funny)

esmrg (869061) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749781)

that sucker is flying through a window.

The device or the trader?

Re:I've known a lot of day traders. . . (4, Funny)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749023)

Yeah, if they're behaving irrationally, expecting them to respond rationally to a device telling them that seems... optimistic. "Calm down!? Don't f*^&ing tell me to calm down!"

Re:I've known a lot of day traders. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29749883)

Yeah, if they're behaving irrationally

like Day Trading in the first place.

Hell, yeah, I was under stress! (2, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748589)

I was stressed out about how I needed to make this trade RFN so I could retire to a small island nation - MY OWN!

Stupid galvanic response thingie made me wait until after the bubble burst.

Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29748629)

I bought 1700 shares of BOA at $3 when I was really, really drunk.

reminds me of House (1, Interesting)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748647)

My wife and I were watching an episode of House recently where a billionaire dumped his stock in his company because he thought the karma would save his kid's life. I don't think any device would make a man with that level of conviction change his mind, though I imagine it might help prevent the last-minute-auction syndrome you tend to see on Ebay where a bidder ups a bid past the Buy-it-now price of the same item from another seller. It's irrational, but it happens all the time.

-l

Re:reminds me of House (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29748789)

House is definitely the worst television show on the air right now, and quite possibly the worst of all time. Any references to it are stupid, and you, by extension, are also stupid.

Re:reminds me of House (0, Offtopic)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748999)

Actually, I don't particularly like House. This particular episode wasn't too bad, though the billionaire character is terrible. The wife and older son are the real fans...

-l

/responding to troll, yeah yeah...

Re:reminds me of House (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749241)

House is definitely the worst television show on the air right now, and quite possibly the worst of all time. Any references to it are stupid, and you, by extension, are also stupid.

A most compelling point, I am convinced!

Prediction... (1)

TomRC (231027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748657)

...No day trader will buy it - stress is part of the job.
But imagine if they did...

"I'M SORRY, YOU CANNOT TRADE RIGHT NOW - YOU APPEAR TOO STRESSED TO MAKE REASONABLE DECISIONS."
"But the market is crashing! I can make a killing if I can just change my trading positions!"
"I'M SORRY YOU CANNOT just change my trading positions! BUT YOU APPEAR TOO STRESSED TO MAKE REASONABLE DECISIONS."
"@$%^!@*!!"

Device Defenestration Ensues. Innocent passers-by injured or killed. Lawsuit / criminal sanctions may apply.

Re:Prediction... (2, Insightful)

eric-x (1348097) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748833)

It's not only part of the job.. I suspect that for most traders it becomes the main reason to continue trading.

What if... (2, Interesting)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748661)

I can just imagine if this is used for drivers. You get stressed by the heavy traffic, or the twit who blocks you when you try to merge, and the car suddenly pulls itself off the road and won't start again until you calm down.

Re:What if... (1)

eric-x (1348097) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749051)

* car pulls of the road
* "damn.. if the car doesn't start within 5 minutes I will be late for this meeting"
* driver gets progressively more stressed as time passes
* "fuck I am late, but not all is lost, I can still catch the reminder of the meeting.. only if this GOD DAMN $%^&(@ CAR WOULD START"
* One hour later. "Right.. I missed the meeting. No big deal. Too late to do anything about it anyway. I'll blame it on a flat tire or something."
* Driver relaxes, Car starts
* Driver arrives one hour late at work

Re:What if... (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749071)

Someone came up with this idea several years ago. I seem to remember this being a British idea, but my memory may be incorrect.

Without some sort of context as to why I might be having a stressed galvanic response and what constitutes a valid reaction to the stressor, the system could easily turn into something counterproductive.

Maybe I'm stressed because I gotta take a leak. Maybe the crazy driver is behind me and I've accidentally done something to set him off (not noticed him catching up with me when he's onramping or being unable to move over to the left lane and get out of his way), and I'm just scared of him. Maybe a cop's just nailed me for blowing a stop sign, but I see a safe pulloff 100 feet ahead. Maybe my chest suddenly hurts and I'm having trouble breathing, and the hospital's 50 yards up the road. Maybe someone's just tried to carjack me.

Yes, most of these are outside/unlikely cases, but a system like this will have unintended consequences.

I had a car that nannied me by refusing to start unless any seat with more than 20 pounds in it had its seatbelt attached. I'm already a freakazoid about wearing my seatbelt, because I've been in an accident where it clearly saved my life, but I also carry loads in my passenger and back seats occasionally. Net result: In that car, all seatbelts but the drivers remained locked at all times, and most passengers just sat on them. This was the exact opposite of the intended effect of the technology.

Urban legend speaks of people being unable to start their cars when under extreme time pressure (imminent danger) because they didn't think to put on their seat belts before turning the key. I doubt those stories, but still, they are an example of why the technology might go horribly wrong and/or be rejected as a concept without some form of smarts behind the decision.

My favorite was the cars that had the seatbelt permanently attached to the doors, so when you got in and shut the door, the belt was ON. Brilliant concept, except that, should a door somehow come open during an accident (or should someone catch their sleeve on the door handle while the car was moving, for example) that seatbelt was now an active participant in passenger ejection. Not to mention the simple fact that the doorframe has less heft than the car's frame, so you've already lost some of the strength in the system right there.

This idea could certainly be useful, but it would have to be tempered with a healthy dose of information. If my galvanic response goes up AND my driving suddenly gets really aggressive AND there are other cars beside me or immediately in front of me, then that's almost certainly something I'm doing that I need a little break from.

galvanic skin response = wheatstone bridge (4, Informative)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748703)

Dunno why they'd have to invent something to do this: it's been known for almost 200 years. Build a Wheatstone Bridge [wikipedia.org] with your body as one of the four legs of the bridge, and measure across the middle. I was building these when I was 10. Add a transistor to drive a meter and you have most of a Scientologist's E-meter. Use this as the input to an analog input channel of an Arduino and interface it via RS232 or USB to your computer and you can easily write something to automatically log you out of e-trade or whatever. I'm not really sure where the innovation is here, although Philips usually comes up with great ideas. I guess you could use a sparkfun xbee unit to make it wireless, since anything that contains the word "wireless" seems to be patentable these days, but that just makes me even more irritated.

Re:galvanic skin response = wheatstone bridge (2, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748891)

Add a transistor to drive a meter and you have most of a Scientologist's E-meter.

I hope you have a good lawyer, cuz Tom Cruise is about to sue you ;)

Re:galvanic skin response = wheatstone bridge (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749111)

You'll note I didn't recommend saving money by buying them on Ebay, because apparently Ebay refuses to allow them to be listed. I wonder if Google Marketplace has any? Not going to search from work but I am curious, now.

Re:galvanic skin response = wheatstone bridge (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749123)

...but that just makes me even more irritated.

ERROR: Post Rejected. Galvanic Response indicates irritation. You have been logged out of /.

Please wait 1 minute and retry.

Have a marvelously wonderful day.

Signed,

  - GalvaNanny.

Re:galvanic skin response = wheatstone bridge (2, Interesting)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749359)

Don't like replying to my own post, but I'm still irritated and have more to rant about. A simple wheatstone bridge isn't of much use because it's an absolute measurement, and the system, if calibrated for testing people in Italy, where they're more likely to be sweaty, hot, and irritable, would have a lot of issues testing people in the Antarctic, where nobody's sweaty and probably people are generally somewhat calmer. There is an adjustment knob, traditionally, of a 1M or thereabouts pot on one of the other legs, but the user has to keep moving it to keep the meter on-scale. It *would* actually be useful to hook this thing to a microcontroller with an A/D and a D/A so that the uC could control the amplifier gain, because that way you could have the thing record your sweat record over time and do some useful adaptive prediction with it. Then *maybe* you could actually detect that the person was suddenly unusually tense and cut off trading (although maybe he's just watching porn in another browser window.) But the entire idea of sweat being a great predictor of behavior is weak. I taught my 6 year old brother how to push a so-called lie detector needle around to wherever he wanted it, and when I was briefly dating a Scientologist, I thoroughly unsettled her and her family by being able to move the meter needle from one peg of the meter to the other, back and forth, while having a nice pleasant conversation. Which is to say, once you have played with one for a little bit, it's easy to fool, and even with a uC doing monitoring and analysis of your past stress history, a couple weeks of experimentation and you could easily false-negative it when you need to and go ahead and do that unwise trade.

Another market (2, Insightful)

vekrander (1400525) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748725)

This sounds like it could be equally as useful to an online poker player (I know many). All it would take is some marketing to the poker community.

Contribution to society? (1)

tylersoze (789256) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748775)

Maybe someone can help me understand this differently, but I can't think of a more worthless contribution to society than a day trader. Are they contributing anything whatsoever to society by their actions? Just shifting money back and forth trying to make a profit? Hell someone playing WoW all day is less worthless. Can someone tell me what purpose they serve? How about giving the money to the people that actually create things or provide services?

They keep day trading bokers employed! (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749037)

Actually, while they are not producing any goods in the traditional sense, they increase the liquidy of the market. The more more liquid it is the better is is for pretty much anyone, or so economists say. So they do produce a useful service of sorts.

But yeah, I see your point, they do seem like pointless generally parasites that just try to make money off the inherent noise in the system. Personally, I think that it sounds like a really risky form of investing with a fairly low payout for the amount of time, effort, and risk involved. But each to his own, and a fool and his money...

Re:Contribution to society? (1)

vekrander (1400525) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749049)

It's legal and you can make money doing it. There are scammers, grifters, schemers, and thieves out there too, so I would say day traders have more worth than that. Day trading is just another way to support yourself or your family by using your talents. Casinos do pretty much the same thing except they lower your odds in exchange for entertainment and booze. At least with day trading, you contribute to a real economy. Heck, even WoW probably has people that daytrade within that economy and then sell their in game profit for real money.

Re:Contribution to society? (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749099)

Maybe someone can help me understand this differently, but I can't think of a more worthless contribution to society than a day trader.

Not every occupation necessarily contributes to society. Think of those who are employed, but do not do any productive work, or those who impede others trying to do productive work.

Assuming they pay taxes, day traders definitely contribute to society. By this metric, they might even contribute more to society than low-income individuals who receive government benefits.

Re:Contribution to society? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29749243)

Oh, so you mean like lawyers and strippers?

Re:Contribution to society? (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749395)

Day traders keep things moving, so if you want to buy/sell a share, you can generally find a day trader to do it against. If you wait for another investor, you could be waiting a while.

If you don't like it, get investors to care more about the exact price they trade at, and squeeze the traders out of the market.

Does it come with black hair dye? (4, Funny)

entrice (1422613) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748859)

"Users wear a device called the EmoBracelet that senses stress and makes an accompanying lighted bowl, or EmoBowl, change color and flicker from yellow to red as emotions become more intense." Something makes me think this is being targetted towards a younger market.

Re:Does it come with black hair dye? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749181)

Something makes me think this is being targetted towards a younger market.

That would be the version that includes an eyeliner and a fold-out razor for cutting yourself.

-jcr

Very lie detector like... (1)

Zapotek (1032314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748869)

...if you ask me.

I mean...isn't that the main function of a lie detector?..more or less...
I wouldn't like to be wearing that thing on my wrist while talking to my boss or a customer...

Why stop with day traders? (1)

ewg (158266) | more than 4 years ago | (#29748885)

Why stop with day traders? Wouldn't it be fascinating to know the measured stress profile of a given workplace before accepting their job offer?

Re:Why stop with day traders? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749777)

Y'know who else would be fascinated to know the measured stress profile of a given workplace before you accepted their job offer? Your insurance company.

That doesn't sound useful (5, Insightful)

CrazyLion (424) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749001)

I'm a trader by profession (although not a day trader) and making emotional decisions is about the worst thing you can do. The only worse thing is NOT making a call because you happen to be excited.

It's a learned behaviour, but a trader needs to be able to abstract away from the trade. You almost need to pretend that somebody else is doing the trade and you're just watching. I think any trader who stays in the job learns this skill eventually. The first time I traded a few million dollars of risk, I was down to few last red cells in my adrenaline stream. If I kept going that way, I'd be either an unemployed or an alcoholic (or most likely both). Instead I learned not to take it too personally. Now a large trade barely increases my pulse.

I don't think a device can replace this behaviour. In a fast market my heart may be way up due to working on several things at once and trying to keep up with the information. I still need to make trades, I just need to stay rational. A glorified heart rate monitor won't help with this.

Re:That doesn't sound useful (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749133)

I was thinking something similar (I do currency/futures trading with my own money, but am by no means a professional); I know when I'm emotional, and I know I shouldn't trade when emotional, I don't need a machine to tell me it's a bad plan.

Re:That doesn't sound useful (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749343)

So maybe traders would be more rational if they had zero financial interest in the success of their trades, right? I mean if the decisions you make don't affect you more than the decisions you make when playing Windows' mine sweeper then you should stay cool headed, right? And surely as a result their performance would increase?

I mean, having an interest in those things, that's as if you rewarded a doctor or a firefighter $10,000 for saving a life. That's easy to see why it's not a good idea.

benthalus (2, Funny)

benthalus (584472) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749011)

Is this a quasi-legitimate use of an E-meter? I hope the Church of Scientology doesn't get wind of this, we all know how litigious they are.

Another gimmick (1)

norletsk (1567121) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749109)

Yet another gimmicky use of galvanic skin response. You might as well be required to undergo Scientology auditing before trading stocks, since the E-meter measures the exact same thing.

What's next... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29749161)

... a device to keep me from getting too drunk while playing blackjack?

Alternating between euphoric mania and dark sullen rage is the whole point of day trading. If you're sitting there clicking buttons like a robot, you're totally missing out on the fun part.

False positive or not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29749171)

The danger of any such device is the assumption that the measured response is inappropriate. Stress responses are generally more useful than not.

If applied to a vehicle driver, as suggested in a comment above, the results could be disastrous.

I believe more than galvanic skin response would be necessary to construct devices of sufficient sophistication to distinguish inappropriate human emotional reactions from valid reactions to stressful situations. I imagine that heart rate, respiration and facial expression analysis would be required at a minimum. If it is even possible.

As for the day trader, perhaps he is breaking a sweat for good reason?

What's the mass psychology of "The Steet?" (1)

dbdweeb (598548) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749237)

Any more, investing is more about sensing the collective mood of Wall Street than it is about evaluating the viability of an enterprise. If those mood sensing devices were networked and one could hack into them to judge the mass psychology of the street it would be a very powerful investment device.

Scientologist use the same device (0, Offtopic)

strangeattraction (1058568) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749261)

Don't Scientologist measure galvanic skin response to help you get "Cleared"? Maybe traders are some new type of Thetans.

Goddamn heap of shit!!!! (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749431)

Sell! Fucking idiot machine. I'm not stressed, I just have a fucking cold. Oh look the stock is tanking. I was right. Better get out quick. Sell! What do you mean I'm stressed?! I'm not fucking stressed. It's time to get out. Sell! Sell! Sell! Fuck now it's REALLY tanking. Okay now I'm getting stressed for real. Stock is hitting the floor and this is going to wipe me out. Sell now you fucking piece of shit machine! Sell!!!!!! Ah fuck, I'm about to lose my shirt here! Sell!!!!! Anyone want to buy a fucking useless money losing piece of shit machine???

Master Yoda (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749493)

sez "Much fear I sense in you. This trade I cannot allow you to execute."

I guess it's better than the Admiral Akbar model of trading.

There is already a better device in existance (1)

tdp252 (519328) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749575)

Tradestation is an automated trading platform where you program in routines that monitor the market in some near-real-time fashion and they make the decisions on when to buy or sell for you.

If you are an avid geek, up to learning a new programming language, and have some statistical analysis background, then this platform might be a good option. The goal is that you program your routines during relaxed off trading hours, back-test them against historical market data, and then once satisfied let them go to make all of the emotion-free decisions for you.

I personally don't know that I have the skill needed to protect my fortunes from what amounts to a complicated shell script but for others I'm sure it works fine, or at very least provides the allure of finding the "secret" algorithm to make millions. :)

Data (1)

Bensam123 (1340765) | more than 4 years ago | (#29749779)

I dunno about the implied use for the device, but I could see this as a very interesting device to measure mob responses. Put these on quite a few people who are trading and compare them to the flows in the market. I wonder what sort of correlations would pop up.
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