Research analysts are the most likely employees on Wall Street to find themselves working with—or being replaced by—robots, according to a survey by Greenwich Associates. By next year, some 75% of banks and financial firms will either explore or implement artificial intelligence technologies, harnessing a variety of digital services to extract insights from mountains of data.
While AI is probably near the peak of its hype cycle, several factors have helped it gain traction in recent years, according to Greenwich. Billions of images and documents are now available online for training computers to spot patterns and other high-level tasks. Advances in graphical processing units, which are adept at the kind of data crunching required by AI, are making sifting through daunting datasets much easier. The cloud has also made it cheaper for researchers and startups to boost their computing power to service sophisticated AI-enabled systems.
AI makes sense for financial research, as machines can crunch reams of data more quickly than human analysts and, with the right data, identify obscure correlations and patterns. Natural language processing(paywall), for example, can help analysts sort through vast amounts of news (or other analysts’ reports).