High-Frequency Trading Is Kind Of Like What Richard Prior Did In 'Superman 3'

Bloomberg Businessweek’s Sam Grobart has a great little presentation this morning comparing one of the plot points of ‘Superman 3’ to high-frequency trading, which is in the news thanks to Michael Lewis’ blockbuster new book about how the practice may be distorting markets.

The comparison isn’t perfect, but it works pretty well.

In ‘Superman 3,’ Richard Pryor works as a computer programmer. He realises that everyone’s paychecks are being round down to the nearest cent. So he begins diverting away those fractions of cents into his own account. This is called “salami slicing.”

Money is made similarly in high-frequency trading: a computer uses trading information to zoom in and capture fractions of cents in fractions of a second.

“Salami slicing” is also features in the plot of “Office Space” as well as “Hackers.”

Check it out Grobart’s piece below:

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