New York (CNN Business)Artificial intelligence and machine learning might sound like the stuff of sci-fi movies. But hedge funds, major banks and private equity firms are already deploying next-generation technologies to gain an edge. Citigroup (C) uses machine learning to make portfolio recommendations to clients. High-frequency trading firms rely on machine learning tools to rapidly read and react to financial markets. And quant shops like PanAgora Asset Management have developed complex algorithms to test sophisticated investment ideas.
SINCE THE EARLY 1800s, several waves of technological change have transformed how we work and live. Each new technological marvel -- the steam engine, railroad, ocean steamship, telegraph, harvester, automobile, radio, airplane, TV, computer, satellite, mobile phone, and now the Internet -- has changed our home lives, communities, workplaces, schools, and leisure time. For two centuries we've asked whether ever-more-powerful machines would free us from drudgery or would instead enslave us. The question is becoming urgent. IBM's Deep Blue and other chess-playing computers now routinely beat the world's chess champions.
BY PATRICK WATSON: The news headlines after last week's jobs report proved it again: Life is hard (and getting harder) for low-skilled workers. Illegal immigrants take their service industry jobs. Robots take their manufacturing industry jobs. According to the media, many low-skilled workers have simply given up. Their lives are terrible, and everyone wants to help.