News & Media
Ghosts in the Machine: Artificial Intelligence, Risks and Regulation in Financial Markets2016
"On the 15th March 2016, an artificially intelligent (AI) software programme called AlphaGo, defeated the world champion of an ancient board game called Go. The game is immensely complex, with a total combination of possible moves numbering several hundred orders of magnitude more than the number of atoms in the universe. Winning the series four-to-one, AlphaGo’s victory was emphatic. It also showcased significant advances in AI’s ability to recognise obscure patterns, learn new ones and adapt strategies to changing circumstances.
"Yet, just two weeks after AlphaGo’s impressive victory, a new chatbot called Tay, exposed a darker side to AI. Designed to engage in friendly conversation with people online and assist them with Microsoft services, Tay’s unique design feature was that “she” learns from her online interactions. Upon Tay’s public release a coordinated barrage of abuse and incessant trolling by Twitter users, taught Tay the wrong lessons. The programme was corrupted into spewing racist, sexist and xenophobic comments, revealing the potential for flaws in the design and programming of AI, as well as the uneasy interaction between artificial intelligence and the natural kind..."
Twitter Can Help You Trade Fed Meetings2016
"In the social media cacophony, some of the noise rises to the level of stock market signal.
"That’s the finding of a working paper overseen by Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Andrew Lo, which says a trading strategy based on views posted on Twitter prior to Federal Reserve policy meetings regularly turned a profit. A one-standard-deviation increase in tweet sentiment can be exploited to boost Fed-day equity returns by 0.62 percent, it found..."
Venture capital boosts endowment2016
"With Yale’s endowment at an all-time high of $25.57 billion, the University’s investment success has been buoyed by startups like Uber, Airbnb and LinkedIn...
"Massachusetts Institute of Technology finance professor Andrew Lo ’80 said Yale’s portfolio has had better returns than other venture capitalists. He speculated that this is due to Yale’s extensive network of contacts, which includes alumni and seasoned portfolio managers."
A Robot Wants Your Job2016
"The investor of the future may already be incubating in a computer lab. Time to adapt to survive...
"A few years ago, Lo’s team was asked to explore the benefits of machine-learning tools within a commercial bank’s credit card business. The team’s 'recognition algorithms' processed 10 terabytes of data from half a million customers over five years. 'We were able to identify consumers who were likely to default or be delinquent on their credit card payments much more accurately than traditional tools,' Lo says. 'By addressing those particular hotspots in their credit card business, the bank was able to reduce the risk of the overall business but only by affecting 3% of its customers, as opposed to making broad credit reductions for the entire customer base.'"
Look to Twitter, not Google for investment tips2016
"The MIT study looked at English-language tweets in 2007-14 about the Fed, measuring sentiment and adjusting for the reach of the tweeter.
"'We exploit a new dataset of tweets referencing the Federal Reserve and show that the content of tweets can be used to predict future returns, even after controlling for common asset pricing factors,' the authors, Andrew Lo, a professor at MIT, and Pablo Azar, a PhD student there, write."
Smart Beta Not Quite as Clever as Marketed2016
"Has the investment industry’s marketing push outsmarted itself? For several years, huge effort has gone in to selling “smart beta” funds. It has worked, creating great excitement. Now, not at all surprisingly, the backlash has begun..."
Health Care Loans Offer Possible Remedy for High U.S. Drug Costs2016
"Americans pay some of the world's highest rates for health care coverage and drug therapies. Although these costs hurt consumers, drug companies point out that the U.S. system allows them to bring new therapies to market faster and sometimes exclusively for domestic patients. Still, tabs like $84,000 for a curative hepatitis C treatment price most people out, even those with the best insurance.
"Andrew Lo, a finance professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and director of its Laboratory for Financial Engineering, has proposed a fix of sorts. He and fellow researcher David Weinstock, a physician at the Boston-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, recently published a paper in the journal of Science Translational Medicine that shows how capital markets could finance these costly treatments in the same way that consumers bankroll other large purchases, like mortgages."
Prof. Andrew Lo (MIT, Loans For Cancer Drugs)2016
Could Financing Health Care Like a Home Hold Down Drug Costs?2016
"Consumers take out loans every day to purchase houses, cars, and college tuition. What if they could do the same for expensive medicines?
"It’s an idea that a group of Boston-area health economists floated last month in response to the rising cost of prescription drugs. And as envisioned, everyone involved in health care and finance could benefit from the availability of a health care loan..."
This Dream Team Could Fix Drug Pricing2016
Luke Timmerman includes Andrew Lo on a list of leaders he hypothetically would like to assemble into a "dream team" to address issues of drug pricing.
‘Health Care Loans’ for Hep C Cure2016
A new class of medications was recently approved that cures more than 95 percent of people with Hepatitis C in only six weeks at a cost of about $84,000 per person, and new therapies with price tags that are likely to exceed $1 million per person are now available or coming soon. How can patients possibly afford them?
This MIT Professor Thinks Wall Street Can Fix High Health Care Costs2016
"It was during the financial crisis that Andrew Lo had his epiphany: The way to save health care from ever-rising costs is by bringing in the banks. Specifically, by packaging drug development costs into securities to be bought and sold by Wall Street—the very, um, mortgage-bundling technique that blew up the economy in 2007. “The reason the financial crisis happened is not because securitization didn’t work. It happened because it worked way too well,” says Lo, a professor of financial engineering at MIT. Securitization injected a huge pool of money into mortgages—what if you could inject that pool of money into a worthwhile cause and, ahem, do it responsibly?
"So Lo, who has seen his mother and several friends die from cancer, wants to use the techniques of Wall Street to fix healthcare. In a new paper in Science Translational Medicine, he and his coauthors propose creating loans for patients whose insurance policies don’t cover ultra-expensive treatments like the cure for hepatitis C—loans that would be financed by bundling them and selling to Wall Street investors..."
Risikoaversion und Kapitalmärkte [Risk Aversion and Capital Markets]2015
"Risikoaversion ist eine der zentralen Annahmen der Wirtschaftswissen
schaften, aber auch eine grundlegen de Eigenschaft menschlichen Verhaltens. Trotz umfangreicher Forschung ist wenig über Nutzenfunktionen oder über die Gründe für unterschiedliche Risikopräferenzen von Individuen oder Gesellschaften bekannt."
[Risk aversion is one of the central assumptions of economics, but also a fundamental property of human behavior. Despite extensive research, little is known about the benefits or features of the reasons for different risk preferences of individuals or companies]
Indexing’s Brave New World2015
"Indexes are becoming more than just market-cap-weighted portfolios, according to a new report from MIT. With new passive investment products continuing to emerge, Sloan Professor of Finance Andrew Lo proposed broadening the definition of an index to include “dynamic indexes” such as smart beta strategies..."
Redefining Indexes to Reflect Reality2015
"The investment industry should be constantly looking at the impact of technology on the status quo. Just because indexes have been defined as cap-weighted portfolios, doesn’t mean that can’t change. In fact, the evolution in portfolio management necessitates a change in thinking with regard to the definition of indexes, in particular so risk management can be decoupled from alpha generation. In a new paper that argues for a new definition of what constitutes an index, Andrew Lo, professor of finance at MIT Sloan School of Management pushes the boundaries by not only suggesting change, but by demonstrating a new functional definition for indexes and the benefits, and pitfalls, of doing so..."