Robots are taking over the world and we're all going to lose our jobs. Ah no, that's not actually going to happen in the foreseeable future is it? We now know that the information technology industry is working to carefully apply robotics and automation into our lives in a fine-tuned and controlled way so that we can still work, but focus on higher-level value-added technologies.
Humans, wonderfully algorithmically illogical
Robots are good at repetition and logic... and are even good at learning and analysis. But humans are good at intuition, relationships, empathy and all those aspects of creativity that are wonderfully algorithmically illogical. New advances in Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are reinforcing our understanding of this separation between mankind and machines everyday.
As we now apply this (for now) accepted truth between machines and humans, we will see that many of the robots are in fact software systems (often now simply called bots). In terms of application, software bots similarly seek to and replace certain human functions the same way that physical robots do, but they do it either silently or with some degree of speech recognition and ability to communicate with us humans -- hence the term chatbot'.
Robots on Wall Street
Aiming to help roll out robots (okay, chatbots) out down Wall Street is UK headquartered AiX. The firm has developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbot broker in an attempt to bridge the worlds of blockchain & cryptocurrencies over to the old school traditional financial markets operated by humans.
The AiX chatbot will execute trades on behalf of traders and to help reduce trade commissions by what is claimed to be up to 95%. It will use Machine Learning technology to automatically discover the best deals for traders. Its makers grandly claim that this could herald a new age of democratized financial systems.
"I spent more than a decade working as a trader and broker, ultimately building and selling my own brokerage firm. I know from first-hand experience that interdealer brokers are expensive, inefficient and opaque. They are a hangover from the 1980s," said former broker and founder CEO of AiX Jos Evans. "Open outcry trading [that you've seen in the movies] has already almost entirely been replaced by electronic markets, it's time to replace the interdealer broker dinosaurs."
Is this technology safe?
Blockchain's impact upon the electronic financial markets is argued to be potentially huge -- it will mean new exchanges, new trading tokens, new technology platforms and new currencies. AiX says it will use blockchain technology for proof and transparency so that a complete regulatory audit trail of every trade will be immutably written onto the blockchain in the form of a so-called Evidence Tree. This tree (or record system) provides a complete, auditable record of the data and decisions used to make the trade.
"Cryptocurrencies are fast approaching US$200 billion in market capitalization," said Evans. "That is still only a rounding error in global financial markets, but investors and traders are starting to take notice. We will bridge the gap between cryptocurrencies and traditional financial markets, allowing cross-market trades using the simplest of interfaces, a chatbot. Most importantly, we will use Artificial intelligence to optimize every trade."
Evans and team claim that AI has now reached the point that it can replace traditional broker roles of price discovery and cross-market execution, even for over-the-counter (OTC) trades or when accessing dark pools of liquidity. AiX's AI engine is powered by Rainbird, a technology lauded as first auditable cognitive reasoning engine.
Who else does robot trading?
Is AiX coming to market with a true first? Well, you can already trade shares on Facebook Messenger with chatbots as reported here... and IBM Watson has competencies reaching specifically into financial trading and there are a list of other players in this zone. AiX has the chat function and the auditability factor in its favor as it seeks to carve a niche for itself, for now.
The big question could be, do these bot progressions give us a better clue as to whether our own jobs might be at risk to robotic automation?
Ask yourself whether you are wonderfully algorithmically illogical in a human kind of way at work -- there's your answer.