Nasdaq crash triggers fear of data meltdown

Nasdaq crash triggers fear of data meltdown: A series of system crashes affecting Google, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft in the past fortnight has brought warnings that governments, banks and big business are over-reliant on computer networks that have become too complex.

The alarm was sounded by industry experts in the aftermath of a three-hour network shutdown that paralysed the operation of the Nasdaq stock market in New York on Thursday, on what should have been a quiet day of routine share trading on the exchange.

Jaron Lanier, the author and inventor of the concept of virtual reality, warned that digital infrastructure was moving beyond human control. He said: “When you try to achieve great scale with automation and the automation exceeds the boundaries of human oversight, there is going to be failure. That goes for governments, for consumer companies, for Google, or a big insurance company. It is infuriating because it is driven by unreasonable greed. In many cases, the systems that tend to fail, fail because of an attempt to make them run automatically with a minimal amount of human oversight.”