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Machine Learning, Complexity and Market Behavior

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SFI ACtioN Topical Meeting


August 8, 2019
New York, New York


Morning Sessions - Collective Intelligence
The new field of collective intelligence (see The Atlantic’s overview here) provides a useful lens for considering the ways increased machine learning tools might change market behavior. The first talk, given by Professor Jessica Flack, will provide an overview of the collective intelligence phenomena. This 30 minute talk will be followed by a 30 minute group discussion. An important goal for the talk and the discussion is to illuminate why the market is itself a collective intelligence. The second talk, given by Professor David Krakauer, will explore how machine learning tools have affected non-market collective intelligences. A key goal of this talk, and the subsequent discussion, is to look for patterns in the impact of machine learning tools on collective intelligences across three domains:

  1. Interfaces and cognitive bottlenecks
  2. Authority and homogeneity
  3. Strategic, or game theoretic, behavior

Following the morning talks and discussions, there will be a 90-minute practitioner panel. The panel will begin with each participant offering their own insights (approx. 10 min each) as to how they believe machine learning tools are changing the behavior of markets. Subsequent moderated discussion with the panelists (approx. 25 min) and with the panelists and the whole room (approx. 25 min) will more deeply explore how the collective intelligence lens can help us understand the ways machine learning is changing market behavior.

Afternoon Sessions – Machine Learning in Markets and Increased Homogeneity
We have already observed a host of mechanisms through which machine learning and other new technologies have affected financial markets (see overview here). The first talk, given by Professor Andrew Lo, will provide an overview as to how these tools are changing market behavior. One notable mechanism involves increased homogeneity of market strategies. (As noted above, this is one of the canonical ways machine learning can affect collective intelligences.) In the second afternoon lecture, Professor Blake LeBaron will use computational models to more fully explore the relationship between decreased strategic variety and market behavior. Following the afternoon talks and discussions, there will be a 90-minute practitioner panel. The panel will begin with each participant offering their own insights (approx. 10 min each) as to how they believe machine learning tools are affecting the behavior of markets. Subsequent moderated discussion with the panelists (approx. 25 min) and with the panelists and the whole room (approx. 25 min) will more deeply explore strategic homogeneity and other mechanism by which machine learning impacts market behavior.