$23 Million Book. Computer algorithms are to blame for the book price on Amazon exceeding $23.6 million. Even so, it’s hard to believe anyone would want to pay that much for it.Michael Eisen, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California-Berkeley, said he initially noticed two copies of “The Making of a Fly” by Peter Lawrence listed for $1.7 million on the Website. He watched for several days as the prices rose to a high of $23,698,655.93, MSNBC.com reported Tuesday. Eisen said he determined the sellers of the books, bordeebook and profnath, were using computer algorithms to alter their prices in relation to those of the competitor.
He said profnath’s price would be set once a day to 0.9983 times bordeebook’s price and bordeebook would follow a few hours later by adjusting the price to 1.270589 times profnath’s higher price. The biologist said he recently checked and found profnath’s price had fallen to $106.23 and bordeebook’s price had been lowered to $134.97. He said it is likely an Amazon worker spotted the prices and manually corrected them.
Lawrence wrote The Making of a Fly in 1992, which explains how the body plans of flies and higher animals, like humans, are constructed. The sellers eventually priced copies over $23 million before the feedback loop was broken. Lawrence also edits the journal Development. He has written commentaries on the ethics of science practice, and collaborated with Mark Bretscher on the obituary of Francis Crick published in Current Biology.
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