TLP: But Can They Do It Without Moving Their Lips?
I thought I had the laziest gig going. You know, read the "papers" like the old school news junkie I am, and then maybe find an article or two to say something about here. It's deliciously lazy and I barely carry my weight. Just ask Jr Deputy Accountant, if you can catch her amid the flurry of posts she manages to write between her real job and her other real job.
Anyway, reading the news just got lazier. The NYT explains:
The number-crunchers on Wall Street are starting to crunch something else: the news."Despondency?" Now we're talking. Snark, mockery and doom-and-glooming such as you find here at JDA are unbeatable at stirring up despondency. Click around, it's not hard to find.
Math-loving traders are using powerful computers to speed-read news reports, editorials, company Web sites, blog posts and even Twitter messages — and then letting the machines decide what it all means for the markets.
The development goes far beyond standard digital fare like most-read and e-mailed lists. In some cases, the computers are actually parsing writers’ words, sentence structure, even the odd emoticon. A wink and a smile — ;) — for instance, just might mean things are looking up for the markets. Then, often without human intervention, the programs are interpreting that news and trading on it.
Given the volatility in the markets and concern that computerized trading exaggerates the ups and downs, the notion that Wall Street is engineering news-bots might sound like an investor’s nightmare.
But the development, years in the making, is part of the technological revolution that is reshaping Wall Street. In a business where information is the most valuable commodity, traders with the smartest, fastest computers can outfox and outmaneuver rivals.
“It is an arms race,” said Roger Ehrenberg, managing partner at IA Ventures, an investment firm specializing in young companies, speaking of some of the new technologies that help traders identify events first and interpret them.
Many of the robo-readers look beyond the numbers and try to analyze market sentiment, that intuitive feeling investors have about the markets. Like the latest economic figures, news and social media buzz — “unstructured data,” as it is known — can shift the mood from exuberance to despondency.
News companies, including Bloomberg, Dow Jones and Thomson Reuters have gotten into this racket, the NYT says, by "offering services that supposedly help their Wall Street customers sift through news automatically." I know a circle-jerk when I see one; these same companies are reporting the news to begin with. Genius.
Now, where can I get one of these gadgets? After all, lazy is as lazy does.