Artificial intelligence: Is the future of IR here?

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How intelligent robots and algorithms are affecting the IR profession, and what IROs can expect to see from the technology down the line


Behind the buzz 

For Barry Star, founder and CEO of Wall Street Horizon, the term AI is a bit of a bugbear. ‘I think AI is over- hyped – it’s just a buzzword,’ he says. ‘But technology – and getting smarter and better, and using technology to achieve that goal – that’s absolutely happening. 

Star’s firm, which specializes in earnings calendar and events data, relies on ‘a half-million lines of proprietary code that we use to make our analysts quicker and smarter – and we use technology to get rid of all the drudgery so that they can focus on the interesting stuff. Do we call that AI? There are plenty of industry people who would, but it really isn’t AI at all. If you want to get technical about it, it’s really about making pareto-optimal decisions in your development queue to figure out how and when to automate the things you should automate.’ 

In other words, Star says, ‘it’s the 80-20 rule. If we can automate 80 percent of a task so we can have the analyst focus on the other, really complex 20 percent, that’s a great use of automation and a great use of technology. Would I call that artificial intelligence? Maybe as a marketing term, but not really. It’s just being smart about how one automates a process.’