Algorithmic Trading to Algorithmic Campaigning, Behind the Political Scene w/Sasha Issenberg

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Welcome to Capital Account. Last night was the US vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan. If you pay attention to the message, the commentary, the fact-checking, the alternative analysis and criticism, or even the horse race coverage, there may still be much that you are missing. What about the stuff that goes on behind the curtains, deep within campaign war rooms? Well, campaigning has come a long way in the past twelve years. Specifically, technology and science has made available techniques and strategies to campaigns that were, until now, used far more extensively on Wall Street and other industries. The use of these technologies has enabled things like data mining, modeling and behavioral analysis of voters to target the electorate more efficiently, and with greater effect than ever before. These techniques have been particularly advantageous to “get out the vote” efforts, but much progress remains to be made. Our guest, the Victory Lab author Sasha Issenberg, says political campaigns have historically been resistant to innovation – he’ll tell us how that has changed in recent years, particularly since the 2008 presidential cycle.

Since we often cover the field of algorithmic trading, we thought: what about algorithmic campaigning? Just as in finance, when deploying technology to areas once governed by human beings, complexity becomes an issue, not just for those using these new technologies, but for the reporters and journalists on the campaign trail who are tasked with covering the candidates. What is there that the rest of us are missing as a result, and what is the greatest thing we can take away? Sasha Issenberg, author of the Victory Lab, is here to tell us.

Plus, the E-U wins the nobel peace prize, a prize that has often come with strings of dubious attachment. What is the nobel committee up to this time around? And what is our friend Jamie Dimon and his firm JP Morgan up to now? They saw a big earnings jump this quarter, and the CEO himself attributed much of this to mortgage refinancing. Demetri and Lauren talk about this, as well as Lauren’s comedy routine in today’s “Loose Change!

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