The rise of the robo-analyst

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21 June 2015
Anshuman Jaswal
With the rise of the robo-advisor, the possibility of a similar advance with regard to research is enticing. Robo-advisors help investors make choices based on their personal investing preferences. Associated Press already uses automated robot journalists to produce some of its articles. Similar robot analysts could undertake analysis for varied fields such as finance, marketing etc. using APIs to obtain news and information from platforms such as Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg and other similar providers. Where subjective information is required, mechanisms similar to SurveyMonkey could be deployed to undertake surveys by these robot analysts, which could then use advanced software systems to analyze the information so obtained. A lot of academic research could also be conducted by machines in this fashion. Universities already employ supercomputers in research and such machines could arguably even produce finished papers that could add value. Indeed the use of machines can be envisioned to go beyond such work. CEOs could be machines or robots instead of human beings. Furthermore, it won't be surprising in such a context, with laws permitting, if people elect supercomputers to represent them democratically. Instead of a scary Skynet, we could have a number of robot representatives that could each represent a different constituency and act in accordance with the specific choices and constraints put in place by the electorate. Any controversial decisions could be vetted by the head of the party the computer represents, who could be a human, or even by a neutral ombudsperson. None of this is probably something that hasn't been thought of or discussed in one form or another elsewhere. I was just wondering how long we have before it affects us even more than it already is. Just some thoughts on a slow Sunday.

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