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OPINION

Sideways: Priam and the AI Trojan horse

Bank of America is reportedly excited about the potential of a tool it calls the Predictive Intelligence Analytics Machine, or Priam.

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The firm is also part of a consortium of dealers aiming to develop a new corporate bond platform in an initiative dubbed Project Mars.

It would not take long for a machine-learning tool like Priam to scour the internet and discover that it shares a name with the last King of Troy, who came to an unfortunate end when the Greeks used the gift of a wooden horse to enter the city and slaughter its inhabitants.

Bankers – like other professional workers – are currently torn between extolling the benefits that advances such as artificial intelligence could bring to their business and worrying that new technology will undercut their own value.

The primary markets for sales of new stock and bond issues seem like sectors that could benefit from greater use of technology without creating a Trojan horse that destroys jobs. 

After all, bankers will always be needed to discuss the details of new-issue terms with clients, unlike some trading functions that could easily be supplanted by smarter machines. But technology could create a Trojan horse of a different type by compromising the ability of underwriters to discretely steer deal allocations towards selected clients.