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Err, yes?

Nikhil Rathi, chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), will say in a speech today that the dominance of big tech combined with a boom in AI could pose “significant risks to market functioning”.

“What does it mean for competition if Big Tech firms have access to unique and comprehensive data sets such as browsing data, biometrics, and social media?,” he is expected to say to an audience at the Economist Impact Finance Transformed event.

He will suggest that such access will enable big tech companies to predict consumer behaviour around the world with greater accuracy than any financial institution.

The idea that people can predict consumer behaviour is a problem because?

The real problem here is that some tosser who doesn’t grasp this is actually in a position of bureaucratic power.

9 thoughts on “Err, yes?”

  1. I love how you assume, despite all evidence, that the tech companies will utilise their advantages in a purely benign manner.

  2. The kindest interpretation I can come up with is that he’s thinking of the one sided information advantage in a market for lemons and the distortions that causes.

    Of course, the idea that consumer behaviour can be predicted is wishful thinking (aka Cabbage Patch Dolls, WTF was that about?)

  3. Yep agree with the Cat – AI can predict somethings but is not magic. Consumer reaction to a new issue is something without precedent and therefore cannot be predicted by pattern matching. Non linear problems are still non linear, we still can’t solve the travelling salesman problem and Hayek is probably still right …

  4. “…chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority …with greater accuracy than any financial institution”

    It’s only Fair Competition if the lawyers prevent anyone else from winning.

  5. Every ass thinks he must announce an opinion on AI. If you can bear it look at Tyler Cowen blethering on about it.

    Then remember the opinions he cultivated about Covid. Ha!

  6. “….with greater accuracy than any financial institution”

    And which chimp/dartboard combo-equipped financial institution did he have in mind?

    Given that they have virtually no track record of accuracy on anything?

  7. Technical analysis, momentum trading, high speed trading, etc. They were all fads which promised the moon on a stick and failed to deliver. I predict the same with AI. After all, it’s built on mass data collection from the “real” world and so will be subject to the same errors of confirmation bias, herd behaviour, mass delusion and all the usual stuff that queers the investment pitch.

  8. Consumer behaviour is a big deal for my firm. What people do with their money at retirement matters yet we assume people will carry on doing what they are doing until it’s obvious they’ve stopped doing it. Be nice to know that in advance. So AI might be useful. Also would be useful to set an automated trawl through people’s lives for individual underwriting. Now that would be an FCA concern.

    But maybe the FCA is worried about aggressive behaviour from companies with a track record of buying out competition to restrain price competition. Is that an FCA problem? It’s certainly the business model of many start ups.

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