Making recommendations based upon the analysis of data sets is the premise of Artificial Intelligence, so it’s not a surprise that it’s being utilised for the forecasting of everything from the likelihood of natural disasters to the performance and evolution of financial markets.
Some of the world’s most destructive earthquakes - China in 2008, Haiti in 2010 and Japan in 2011 among them - occurred in areas that were deemed relatively safe by scientists, showing that understanding where earthquakes are likely to strike has never been a sure science. Scientists are hoping to bridge uncertainty by using machine learning to scan ground-motion measurements to predict more accurately the likelihood of an earthquake happening and when they are most likely to occur - hopefully saving hundreds of thousands and maybe millions of lives.
If successful, these AI tools could demonstrate a system that can perform more effectively than human experts.
Financial market movement is also on the verge of being transformed by AI. Until now, most firms have focussed on using technology to cut costs and make efficiencies, but AI is showing the potential to create value for organisations by automating market prediction and financial investment. So-called robo-advisors have been adopted by a number of leading investment companies including Merrill Lynch and Fidelity.
The World Trade Organization, however, has warned that new, deep learning-based financial systems will instead provide a back door for large institutions to influence markets in unscrupulous ways.