'Robots could replace fund managers, Google could be industry leader'
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Google could use its massive data gathering capabilities to emerge as a fund managing giant, a leading asset management expert warns.

Robots and artificial intelligence pose a threat "to be really scared about", Jonathan Wilmot said.

And the threat doesn't only apply to blue collar workers but also to hedge fund managers.

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"Officially Google and Deep Mind (a Google subsidiary) are not working on investment, I'm not sure how many of you believe that — I don't," he said at Credit Suisse's annual investment conference in Hong Kong today.

"(They) have access to data and they have enough money to buy financial data sets and have others they can mine to use these techniques.

"These guys have the highest credibility and the deepest capacity to apply machine learning techniques to funds management. They have a lot of cash in this low return world. And they don't like paying people fees."

The comments came hot on the heels of the announcement by BlackRock, the world's largest fund manager, that it was cutting jobs across its stock picking divisions and putting more of the tasks on computers.

Mr Wilmot said that in the future fewer humans will be needed to pick stocks and manage assets.

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"These machines are beyond human in ability to process large data sets," he said.

"They don’t have the context or intuition that human beings do but we do know that the guys at the very edge of this revolution basically believe machines will be able to do it all at some point."

However, he said a potential stumbling block could be a reluctance to trust artificial intelligence in funds management.

"It doesn't matter how powerful this stuff is, it's going to be really hard to trust it on a big scale, especially with large amounts of money," he said.

The Australian

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