The Varieties of Affective Relations in Socio-Technical Collectives: A Study of Automated Trading
Discourses on Algorithmic Trading and High-Frequency Trading very often define these practices as an automatization of trading and thus a replacement of humans through machines. Preliminary results from my fieldwork indicate that, far from side-lining humans and banishing affective elements, fully automatized trading, paradoxically, intensifies complex affective human-machine relations. “Collective hybrids” (Callon/Muniesa), under which automated trading may be classified, integrate human and non-human elements on a multi-frequential scale. My work sheds a light on the intensity of these relations ex negativo – by tracing what happens at the moment of their dissolution. After briefly surveying the entangling frequencies across human senses, material screen- and soundscapes, and algorithmic discrimination, I ana-lyze what happens at the particular instances when these relations, for one reason or another, fail. I show that it is the highly intense affective relations among elements of such dynamic collectives that leave the disentangled elements in states of shock and affective arrest, drifting (algorithms) and traumatized (humans).