This letter is really going to p&!# some people off!! I’m sorry about that, but it’s time for a dose of reality. Do these headlines look familiar to you? I get a new one in my mailbox every week.
“The new XXX Forex Robot is taking the forex community by storm!!”
“There is no other way to put it, the buzz surrounding the XXX Forex Robot is….Huge!!”
“It’s official… the boundaries of Forex Artificial Intelligence robot trading has been pushed forward.”
“The XXX Forex Robot went live yesterday and, as I predicted, it rocked the Forex industry…”
“XXX Forex Robot will change history…”
“So after 24 hours, the industry buzz behind the XXX Forex Robot is reaching fever pitch!!”
It’s a seductive concept …. the Money Machine. Let’s be honest here. All of us in our heart of hearts dream about finding the “Holy Grail:” The infallible system that tells us to buy at the bottom and sell at the top. Taking it one step further, we want this system to run on “auto-pilot.” We just get up in the morning, start our “Money Machine,” and then collect our profits a little later in the day on our way to dinner in Paris. (As long as we’re fantasizing, we might as well have a private jet.) Ok, now let’s get real. The money machine doesn’t exist. Billion dollar companies, that can afford banks of super-computers and teams of programmers have gone bankrupt trying to create that “Holy Grail.” (Does the name Enron ring a bell?)
Wall Street brokerage houses consistently lose millions on programmed trading. Do you really think you are going to find a “Money Machine” that’s going to run a few lines of code on your home computer and automatically fill your bank account? Of course not. Yet many traders wind up jumping from one trading program/method to the next looking for just that. They don’t make the commitment necessary to succeed with any of them because when they start one method, they are already looking for the next. I know that’s the case because I’ve “been there and done that.” The fact is that no programmed trading system can work because every day is different than every other day there ever was. Market movement on any day is the result of all human experience up to and including that day.
So how do these little desktop robots show such great back tested results? Simple, they are simply algorithms designed to show great profits on one set of historical data. How it does going forward is anybody’s guess. It’s the ultimate in curve fitting. That’s why each robot can only “trade” one currency pair in one time interval. In other words, these “Robots” are designed to be back-tested. Then they are updated monthly so the most recent data can be used to maintain the illusion. Essentially, they are picking the winner of the race after the race has been run!
The idea behind most of these robots is to trade when the markets are very quiet and take very small profits from the random movement of the market while using very wide stops. This allows a lot of “wins” in a row (maintaining the illusion) before a big loss wipes you out. If you really want to be successful trading you have to put in the effort to learn to trade, and use the “Secret Weapon” that each of us has.
Scientists have never even come close to producing a super-computer as powerful as the human brain. We can process amazing amounts of data instantaneously. That’s why systems don’t work, but trading methods do work. When you look at a chart you can easily understand the national, international and financial forces affecting that chart. Yes, even technical trader should be aware of the world around them. Do you really think what happens in the equity markets don’t effect the currency markets (or visa versa)?