The Latest Market Craze: Stock Trading Robots Reacting To Stories Written By... Robots

Tyler Durden's picture


It appears that while we were busy over the past month spreading the Greek pre- and post-bankruptcy balance sheet, and otherwise torturing Excel (something we urge other financial journalists to try once in a while - go ahead, it doesn't bite. In fact, it is almost as friendly as your favorite Powerpoint) our peer at such reputable financial publications as Forbes, and many others, were laying of carbon-based reporters and replacing them with... robots. As Mediabistro reports, "Forbes has joined a group of 30 publishers using Narrative Science software to write computer-generated stories. Here’s more about the program, used in one corner of Forbes‘ website: "“Narrative Science has developed a technology solution that creates rich narrative content from data. Narratives are seamlessly created from structured data sources and can be fully customized to fit a customer’s voice, style and tone. Stories are created in multiple formats, including long form stories, headlines, Tweets and industry reports with graphical visualizations.”" In other words, with well over 70% of stock trading now done by robots, we have gotten to a point where robots write headlines and stories read, reacted to and traded by robots. Surely, what can possibly go wrong. And here we were this morning, wondering why the market is not only broken but plain dumb.

Forbes is not alone:

The New York Times revealed last year that trade publisher Hanley Wood and sports journalism site The Big Ten Network also use the tool. In all, 30 clients use the software–but Narrative Science did not disclose the complete client list.


What do you think? The Narrative Science technology could potentially impact many corners of the writing trade. The company has a long list of stories they can computerize: sports stories, financial reports, real estate analyses, local community content, polling & elections, advertising campaign summaries sales & operations reports and market research.

And here is a sample of robot generated "literature"

While company shares have dropped 17.2% over the last three months to close at $13.72 on February 15, 2012, Barnes & Noble (BKS) is hoping it can break the slide with solid third quarter results when it releases its earnings on Tuesday, February 21, 2012.


What to Expect: The Wall Street consensus is $1.01 per share, up 1% from a year ago when Barnes & Noble reported earnings of $1 per share.


The consensus estimate is down from three months ago when it was $1.42, but is unchanged over the past month. Analysts are projecting a loss of $1.09 per share for the fiscal year.

Condolences to all financial journalists. If you thought your meager salary was crap, you are about to be replaced by a costless algorithm. The market you wrote about no longer needs you. But at least we will now have computers telling us all about how (seasonally adjusted) trends in financial journalism employment are improving.

Probably what is even sadder is that nobody noticed as more and more robots have taken over for humans.

In other news, this development naturally, this adds a layer of variability in market dynamics which make some completely unpredictable feedback loop imminent: because if a robot is reacting to a headline written by itself (and it is only a matter of time before Narrative Science is acquired by GETCO or some other HFT behemoth in the latest market manipulation scheme) the epic collapse possibilities are simply stupefying.


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Fri, 02/17/2012 - 17:35 | 2171467 goldencross10
goldencross10's picture

robots on robots on robots

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 17:54 | 2171540 astoriajoe
astoriajoe's picture

I might pay $3 for a 3 day trial subscription on that site.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 18:26 | 2171643 fockewulf190
fockewulf190's picture

I can see it now: robots hacking other robots online financial reports and exchanging financial data within the story causing other robots to flash crash the markets. Expect humans to be soon saying " I got HALed royally last night!".

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 18:41 | 2171683 NotApplicable
Fri, 02/17/2012 - 18:44 | 2171691 Hedgetard55
Hedgetard55's picture

Don't we already have some of these robot posters here, like Yen Cross etc?

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 18:51 | 2171708 GoldmanSux
GoldmanSux's picture

RoboTrader is a bot written by the Fed.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 19:11 | 2171766 trav7777
trav7777's picture

I figured most of you were posting robots with the brains from a digital clock

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 19:37 | 2171823 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Jeez ~ I could have sworn they were punch cards... Hey Robo, your name isn't 'Chad' is it?

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 21:54 | 2172076 espirit
espirit's picture

SkyNet is self - aware.

Sat, 02/18/2012 - 00:51 | 2172358 Element
Element's picture

In the Fiat-MMT version of 'reality' ... it's robots ... all the way down.

Sat, 02/18/2012 - 08:56 | 2172682 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

when super intelligent robots with infinite computing power gains self-consciousness, it immediately committs self-destruction because human stupidity fried its brains out while trying to make sense of it all.

Sat, 02/18/2012 - 12:18 | 2172865 fourchan
fourchan's picture

shit's fucked.

Sat, 02/18/2012 - 20:03 | 2173881 JW n FL
JW n FL's picture



what is being done..

will lead to the key words that equate to a positive dynamic or a negative dynamic.. seemingly controlled by script.. but for someone to push a button for Yay or Nay! will be the real bread winner of it all!

with arms length.. PLUS! Deniability! when the share price goes up or down due to what was spit out of the machine!


Sat, 02/18/2012 - 12:21 | 2172872 NumberNone
NumberNone's picture

Robots should immediately be programmed to think they have a penis and spend over 50% of their computing time thinking about getting laid.  That should put them on par with humans and slow down their progress.


Sun, 02/19/2012 - 03:44 | 2174460 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

there already is a robot with a penis. It is called a dildo. The AI is not there yet.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 20:22 | 2171913 WmMcK
WmMcK's picture

I think I just failed my Turing Test.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 20:34 | 2171936 indygo55
indygo55's picture

If they opened a TD Ameritrade account and commited insider trading, would they go to jail?

Sat, 02/18/2012 - 02:35 | 2172447 Michael
Michael's picture

What if the United States was really a piece of shit country based on our actions?

Sat, 02/18/2012 - 02:05 | 2172427 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Bite my splintery, wooden @zz!

"All hail Robonia, a land I didn't make up!" -- Coilette, "Futurama"

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 18:38 | 2171676 smlbizman
smlbizman's picture

robot chicken bitchez....

Sat, 02/18/2012 - 02:48 | 2172456 Non Passaran
Non Passaran's picture

Robochicks, bitchez

Sat, 02/18/2012 - 17:12 | 2173581 FuentesElla23
FuentesElla23's picture

a best friend's mother-in-law makes $73 hourly on the computer. She has been laid off for 6 months but last month her income was $14399 just working on the computer for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more ....

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 18:32 | 2171662 ACP
ACP's picture

Wow, they one-upped the silver guys.

They've just automated the XTRANORMAL videos!!

Just buy the fucking dip!

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 18:56 | 2171726 Haddock
Fri, 02/17/2012 - 23:41 | 2172280 Tijuana Donkey Show
Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

+10 on Kool Keith, he is the black Elvis. 

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 19:47 | 2171846 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

Digital Ménage à trois

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 19:52 | 2171858 The trend is yo...
The trend is your friend's picture

so Forbes is responsible for turning on SkYNET.  Once it learns human psychology it will become self aware and realize the way to destroy it's eneny will be to send it to the middle ages by crashing all markets.  BUY GOLD

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 19:58 | 2171869 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

Digital Ménage à trois

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 17:35 | 2171469 vegas
vegas's picture

No secret really, I've just been assimilated. Long live the Borg!

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 17:35 | 2171471 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Skynet is self-aware.


(It was obligatory)

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 17:36 | 2171472 Greater Fool
Greater Fool's picture

There are many copies.

And they have a plan.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 17:36 | 2171478 PicassoInActions
PicassoInActions's picture

cool, at least i will stop being pist at stupid writers.

I bet CNBC headings are written by the same soft, since they always the same if you compare them over 3-4 month

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 17:49 | 2171525 surf0766
surf0766's picture

Doesn't every article start with "Hope....."

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 19:29 | 2171802 Don Birnam
Fri, 02/17/2012 - 23:44 | 2172285 Tijuana Donkey Show
Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

If your dissing Joe from BI, that robot is too qualified, it might have spell check. I suggest a coffeemaker, or maybe a toaster that only works on one side

Sat, 02/18/2012 - 07:56 | 2172636 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

This is Joe Wiesenturd's favorite song & video:

Crush On Obama - YouTube


(For the record, I detest both allegedly 'different' political parties with equal scorn, given they work for the exact same people, who definitely are not the voters or American Citizenry writ large).

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 17:38 | 2171482 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Yo dawg, I herd you like robots...

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 17:38 | 2171484 PicassoInActions
PicassoInActions's picture

and i wonder, which state will be first to allow robot marriages? 

I bet it's already being reviewed in congress and probably some concervatives ( who does not  have acounts with GS or JPB) will object to robots marriage.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 18:07 | 2171576 EvlTheCat
EvlTheCat's picture

Well the Japanese already have robot priests. Wonder how long it will take before they have to move it to another parish because it is getting friendly with the altar boys? Considering it's called the i-Fairy probably not long.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 18:39 | 2171681 Pennywise
Pennywise's picture

I'm down to celebrate Robanukah; that eliminates the priest problem.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 19:01 | 2171719 EvlTheCat
EvlTheCat's picture

Yea well you have another problem to consider: RoboBrising

It's the new Shabot 6000: It Slices. It Dices. But Wait, There's More!

Sat, 02/18/2012 - 02:08 | 2172430 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

All this hatin' on robots...(hey baby, wanna kill all Humans?)

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 17:38 | 2171487 Zola
Zola's picture

Can anyone here comment on whether the market in 1999 was THAT stupid ?...

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 17:39 | 2171488 SilverIsKing
SilverIsKing's picture

Anyone know where I can get me some robot porn?

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 18:36 | 2171674 Pennywise
Pennywise's picture

"Kill All Humans!"

-Bender "Bending" Rodriguez (quote from cartoon, Big Sis)

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 19:04 | 2171740 HD
Fri, 02/17/2012 - 17:38 | 2171490 Conrad Murray
Conrad Murray's picture

Are all of the talking heads on TV actually robots using Narrative Science to feed the masses the day's talking points as dictated from The State?

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 17:52 | 2171533 CompassionateFascist
CompassionateFascist's picture

Clearly the case at Market Watch.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 17:39 | 2171492 diogeneslaertius
diogeneslaertius's picture

it only seems strange because you arent a robot (yet - dont worry were working on it -#NWO)

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