TIME Artificial Intelligence

Robots May Write Wall Street Analyst Notes One Day

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Paul Giamou—Getty Images/Aurora Creative Wall Street in Manhattan, New York.

But critics are wary of the implications

Wall Street analyst notes may one day be written by robots — that’s if companies that make the artificial intelligence programs have anything to do with it.

One startup, Narrative Science, creates news articles generated by a computer program. The company has its sights set on financial services, too, The Wall Street Journal reports.

It’ll be a win for banks. They’re trying to boost efficiency and cut costs, and as the artificial technology becomes more advanced it can potentially take on more complex tasks, the report said.

The way Narrative Sciences’ program works goes like this: It sifts through information, such as regulatory filings, databases, and internal documents. Next, it uses an algorithm to put together the information in summaries or articles.

“It’s a very hot debate about whether the financial analyst community is going to be decimated by algorithms,” Celent Senior Analyst William Trout told the Journal. “Disruption, when it happens, happens very fast.”

“Analysts are overwhelmed with the work they typically have to do,” said Narrative Science CEO Stuart Frankel. Robots and automation “frees them up to do higher-value work.”

Wall Street isn’t the only place where robots may become more involved. Other jobs, such as cashiers and drivers, are seeing more automation, too.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: February 27

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Hollywood is less diverse than its audiences — and it might be hurting the bottom line.

By Austin Siegemund-Broka in the Hollywood Reporter

2. Facebook’s new suicide prevention tools finally get it right.

By Ashley Feinberg in Gizmodo

3. How will we understand the power of the bacteria in our bodies? Meet the crowdsourced American Gut project.

By American Gut

4. The road to artificial intelligence begins with computers mastering video games like a human being in the 80s.

By Rebecca Morelle at BBC News

5. Salting roads and plowing snow is inefficient and costly. A smart algorithm can save cities millions.

By Marcus Woo in Wired

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Researchers Make Super Mario Self-Aware

I, for one, welcome our new plumber overlords

Mario doesn’t need you anymore to help him rescue the princess. A new project by German researchers, called Mario AI, gives the famous Italian plumber the ability to understand speech and learn new skills as he navigates his colorful world.

Plopped into a level from Super Mario World, this super-smart version of Mario can understand verbal commands from humans spoken in both English and German. He can explore the level of his own volition and make discoveries that he relays to a human observer. For instance, ask Mario what a Goomba is (the most famous of Mario enemies) and he’ll initially say he doesn’t know. Wait until he’s killed one of the creatures, though, and he’ll say, “If I jump on Goomba, then it maybe dies.”

Mario also has different emotional states that dictate his activities in the game world. When he’s hungry, for instance, he’ll search out coins to eat, and when he’s curious, he’ll perform more acrobatics to explore more parts of the level.

The project was developed by a team at Germany’s University of Tubingen. It makes use of speech recognition software developed at Carnegie Mellon Univeristy.

[Mashable]

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: December 19

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. America needs a new testament of hope: “Demanding that we trade confusion and bewilderment for a fight for change that only hope and radical optimism can sustain.”

By Darren Walker in Human Parts on Medium

2. Data Integrity Unit: A team of detectives and data analysts is boosting the accuracy of crime statistics in Los Angeles.

By Joel Rubin and Ben Post in the Los Angeles Times

3. This remarkable community gives autistic children a connection inside the world of Minecraft — and might save their lives.

By Charlie Warzel in BuzzFeed

4. Experts are debating whether artificial intelligence is a threat to humanity. It’s very possible that machines with far less intelligence will cause us harm.

By Mark Bishop in New Scientist

5. The Innovative State: Governments should make markets, not just fix them.

By Mariana Mazzucato in Foreign Affairs

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME World Cup

Robots Have Their Own World Cup

But they're training to compete in ours

The computer Deep Blue defeating world chess champion Garry Kasparov at his own game in 1997 was one thing but when a team of humanoid robots defeats the world’s greatest soccer players it will be something else altogether. These scientists are working to achieve just that. Founded the same year Deep Blue took down Kasparov, the Robocup was born with the mission of developing an artificially intelligent human-like robot by 2050 capable of beating the World Cup soccer champions. But before the robots get to defeating us humans at the world’s favorite game they’re practicing against each other each year in the Robocup, a robot soccer tournament in which the machines must obey the same rules as normal soccer. For this year’s Robocup, more than 4000 engineers and scientists from over 40 countries assembled in Brazil to set their machines competing against one another.

TIME AI

Elon Musk: Don’t Bother Running to Mars Because the Robots Will Get Us There, Too

Elon Musk & SpaceX
Patrick T. Fallon—Bloomberg via Getty Images Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), speaks before the unveiling of the Manned Dragon V2 Space Taxi in Hawthorne, California, U.S., on Thursday, May 29, 2014.

The head of Tesla Motors and SpaceX is concerned about artificial intelligence turning into Skynet.

Elon Musk is best known for his work on electric cars and rocket ships, but he’s also invested in a couple of artificial intelligence startups. It’s not for the money, he says, but because “I like to just keep an eye on what’s going on with artificial intelligence.”

Speaking to Kelly Evans and Julia Boorstin on CNBC Tuesday, Musk discussed why he’s an investor in Vicarious, and why he invested in DeepMind (before it was acquired by Google), both AI companies.

Musk said there is “potentially a dangerous outcome” for the technology, and that “there have been movies about this, you know, like Terminator.”

Unfortunately, Musk was short on ideas for how we might stop intelligent computers from turning against us. Here’s the best–or, most terrifying–part of the exchange:

JB: But what should A.I. be used for? What’s its best value?

MUSK: I don’t know. But there are some scary outcomes. And we should try to make sure the outcomes are good, not bad. Yeah.

KE: Or escape to Mars if there’s no other option.

MUSK: The A.I. will chase us there pretty quickly.

TIME Artificial Intelligence

Interview with Eugene Goostman, the Fake Kid Who Passed the Turing Test

Chatbot Eugene Goostman supposedly passed the legendary Turing Test on Sunday, tricking 33% of a panel of judges into believing he was a real boy during the course of a five-minute chat conversation.

The milestone conveniently occurred 60 years to the day after Alan Turing passed away; Turing bet that by the year 2000, computers would be intelligent enough to trick humans into thinking they were real 30% of the time.

As you may or may not notice below, passing the Turing Test is less about building machines intelligent enough to convince humans they’re real and more about building programs that can anticipate certain questions from humans in order to pre-form and return semi-intelligible answers.

In that spirit, Eugene Goostman — the fake 13-year-old from Odessa, Ukraine who doesn’t speak English all that well – makes for a semi-convincing chatbot. His answers are at times enthusiastic and unintelligible like those from any normal 13-year-old would be; add in a shaky grasp of English, and there you go.

Here’s my roughly-five-minute conversation with Goostman. My chat text is in bold, his is in regular-weight font.

How are you adjusting to all your new-found fame?

I would rather not talk about it if you don’t mind. By the way, what’s your occupation? I mean – could you tell me about your work?

I’m a technology blogger.

It’s quite surprising that you are a technology blogger. Where do you came from, by the way? Could you tell me about the place where you live?

I live in Boston but I grew up in Minnesota. I also lived in Seattle for a while.

Could you invite me to Seattle? I would be so grateful:-)

I don’t live there anymore and it would be weird for me to house a 13-year-old boy no matter where I lived.

Possibly, it will be a big surprise for you, but “no” isn’t the only answer. The word “yes” also exists! :-) Wonna ask me something more?

That last answer of yours was a little shaky, Bro-Bro.

Damn! I’ve just recalled that I didn’t feed my guinea pig this morning. Poor animal!

Ah, okay. We’re changing the subject. What’s your guinea pig’s name?

Name of my guinea pig’s name is Bill. But I suspect he doesn’t go by it. Perhaps, he is deaf and I should call him “Beethoven”.

Too soon. Too soon for a Beethoven joke.

All the things you told me are nothing but a joke. I think you are trying to make a fool of me!

Well played. You appear to be able to detect sarcasm.

Yeah! Well, let’s go on though.

Okay. What’s your favorite sport?

I play sports sometimes. On computer. But I prefer racing.

Do kids still say “computer” like that? Like, “let’s play computer?”

I have nice Celeron-667, by the way. I play games on it!

[I disappear for a couple minutes] Sorry I was gone for so long. I had to publish a story. There’s no way you have a Celeron-667. It’s 2014.

I have Celeron so far. I’m not sure whether my next processor will be from Intel or AMD.

Do you have an iPhone?

If I say that I haven’t an iphone – will it satisfy your inquisitive mind? And I forgot to ask you where you are from…

You asked me where I was from already.

So what that you were from already By the way, what’s your occupation? I mean – could you tell me about your work?

This is now unraveling at a rapid clip.

You’re not the first one who told me that.

Nice save. You’re back in the game.

Possibly you are right. You aren’t the first one who tell me that. Oooh. Anything else?

I think we’re done here. Congrats on the thing.

Your opinion is very interesting… Keep going. And I forgot to ask you where you are from…

You can chat with Goostman here.

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