How does artificial intelligence and machine learning work and what are some examples of how individual investors can use AI in their investing.
In this episode you’ll learn:
- What is artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning.
- How is AI being used by different industries.
- How are AI models built with supervised and unsupervised learning.
- What are the components of a quantitative trading model and why it is insufficient to have an AI based stock ranking service.
- What are examples of AI based investment services and AI ETFs available to individuals
- Why using AI to make investment decisions is so difficult.
Artificial intelligence has become influential in almost every aspect of life; work, home, travel, and even investing have seen the growing use of AI to aid human processes. In this episode, David explores how AI is trained to process and learn information and in what ways it can be helpful to investors and the ways in which it becomes a detriment as well. Listen to the entire episode for an insightful look at the complexities of AI in the investing world.
Understanding how artificial intelligence works
Artificial intelligence is patterned after the human brain. To train AI to process information, large amounts of data are fed the system in increasingly complicated patterns. AI learns the data by recognizing patterns and building upon those patterns until it can effectively forecast what will happen. Some examples of AI include risk management, finance, identifying fraud, retail, tracking credit, industry and organization connectedness, social media, and marketing.
David explains that there are two types of artificial intelligence. One is rules-based learning, which is heavily influenced by human intervention. You put in a rule, and there is one, fixed outcome for that rule. The result is predictable. The second type is called deep learning, which uses artificial neural systems to develop complex algorithms. Patterned after the human brain, deep learning is highly complex. Deep learning AI draws conclusions based upon the patterns, complexities, and connections that it processes—at a much higher speed and capacity than the human brain.
The complexity of AI training and the questions it raises
The complexity of AI is founded in how it is trained to think. First, the system needs data—but not just any data. It needs refined, quality data for quality output. The AI system then learns the data and forms patterns with it—connections and similarities. Then the system learns to make decisions based upon the patterns it picks up on. With supervised learning, there is an expected output that is generated by humans, and the AI system is taught how to get from point A to point B. In unsupervised learning, however, is where input is given, but the output is not defined as it is in supervised learning. One example that David cites is that of learning a language. If you needed to learn a language without even knowing the basics, you would start by gathering as much information as possible and drawing conclusions from patterns in that data. That’s how unsupervised learning works.
The quality of the AI performance is largely due to the quality of the data. Is it unbiased? Is there enough data? Training AI takes an exuberant amount of time, and it only becomes more complex as the system grows in understanding. One of the issues with unsupervised deep learning is that because of all the hidden layers of pattern-building and algorithms that are created in the learning process, it cannot relay how it comes to the conclusions it does. Humans cannot go back and track how it made a decision.
The role of artificial intelligence in investing
One of the questions that arises from the pattern-building neurologic framework of AI is whether or not it can be effectively used for investing. David points out that investing isn’t a linear framework of patterns and connections. It can change sporadically, with no prior warning. When small changes in input can drastically change the outcome of an AI analysis, can they be trusted with processing the complexity of the investment world? Predicting the future is difficult—for humans and for AI. Listen to the episode for examples of failure in predicting interest rates—both from human and AI analyses.
There are ways that AI is currently being used to help investors decide what, when, and where to invest. There is the alpha model, which ranks stocks depending on how high they are likely to go up depending on price inputs, trend behaviors, and technical aspects. The fundamental criteria used by the AI for evaluation of a stock is based upon the quality of the company, the historical growth of the stock, etc. AI can also take into account the transaction cost of an investment and execute the investment.
David shares his personal experience using an AI alpha model system. The catch he found was that he had to build a portfolio based upon the suggestions of the AI system—which was updated daily. It took a great amount of work on his part to keep up.
Approaching AI as an individual investor and not as a firm
Is artificial intelligence useful to the individual investor? David shares some ways he believes the individual investor could experiment with AI, but he is skeptical of its overall effectiveness when it comes to personal investing. Some AI platforms make suggestions as to what portfolios to choose, however, which can be helpful. Another way to experiment is to invest in an AI ETF, such as EquBot. They have multiple AI platforms that combine fundamental and quantitative analysis for optimum performance—and their ETFs are powered by their AI.
For the individual investor, however, using AI is time-consuming. You have to stay on top of the ever-adapting AI methods and conclusions and be willing to change your model based upon the daily updates of the AI system. You have to constantly feed it new data so it continues to improve. David suggests changing your strategy from focusing on getting better at predicting and to focus instead on getting out of harm’s way. Diversify your portfolio. Understand and keep up with what is happening in the economy. Make educated decisions. But don’t try to constantly predict the future.
- [0:20] The two types of AI: rules-based & deep learning.
- [3:35] Some examples of artificial intelligence.
- [4:59] How machine learning systems work.
- [6:10] Supervised learning vs. unsupervised learning.
- [9:10] Training deep learning AI models.
- [12:46] Complications with how deep learning models come up with their answers.
- [14:31] The role of AI in predicting interest rates.
- [17:16] Understanding the different factors and components of AI models when it comes to investing.
- [19:43] David’s personal experience with an AI-based investing service.
- [23:29] The Equbot and investing in ETFs.
- [25:46] The difficulties of using AI as an individual investor.
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