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There's a sentence in this article that is critical and yet very easy to overlook: the author had 2 years experience daytrading manually. That already gave him a lot of knowledge of how the markets work and where an edge might be found.

I think that if someone is a good programmer and has some mathematical chops and has that kind of experience daytrading, taking a shot at automated trading is probably a reasonable thing for them to do. Without all of that background, you're right, they're almost certain to lose money.

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