scorecardThe future of AI in finance might be about accepting what we don't know
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The future of AI in finance might be about accepting what we don't know

Dan DeFrancesco   

The future of AI in finance might be about accepting what we don't know
Finance4 min read

Almost Friday! Dan DeFrancesco in NYC, which is looking more like the set of "Dune" these days.

Today, we've got stories on how the biggest multi-strat funds did in May, tips for nabbing a job in PE, and pics of a beach house that's just cool.

But first, would you put your faith in a robot?

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1. AI, take the wheel.

How would you feel about handing the reins to artificial intelligence without fully understanding how it works?

Such a suggestion is blasphemy — and potentially illegal — on Wall Street. Finance firms need to be able to explain how any model they use works. That way, if things go badly, firms can't just point to the computer and shrug their shoulders.

In essence, "explainability" is AI's version of a math teacher asking you to "show your work."

But as AI tech continues to advance, one Wall Street executive is wondering if there isn't some wiggle room on those types of policies.

On Wednesday, Nasdaq CEO and Chair Adena Friedman outlined ways regulators can help banks mitigate financial crime while speaking at Bloomberg Invest. Part of those plans included the adoption of algorithms for sussing out criminal activity.

But what really caught my eye was Friedman's comments around having to fully understand how the AI works.

"We want to engage with the regulators to say, 'What's the next generation of AI going to do that's going to make it even more effective? And, therefore, maybe it's not totally explainable, but you understand we're using it for the right purpose,'" she said.

That's a fascinating thought exercise, and one worth having with how quick AI tech seems to be evolving these days.

On the one hand, it makes total sense. Why limit how you can use AI? As long as you have some good guardrails in place and can verify the answers are accurate, does it really matter if you don't completely understand how it got there?

I realize this wouldn't be acceptable for everything — like making a decision on a loan — but there seem to be lots of scenarios where having to "show your work" shouldn't get in the way of being able to solve the bigger problem.

The counter argument is that we shouldn't be using tools in the financial markets we don't fully understand. (Fair point!) Even if you keep the AI siloed to a specific environment, focused on a single task, you're still playing with fire.

Because at the end of the day, you just don't know what it's capable of.

Read the three ways Nasdaq's CEO thinks regulators can help banks fight financial crime.

In other news:

2. Hedge fund returns for May are here! From Citadel and Point72 to Balyasny and Millennium, we've got a rundown on how all the multi-strategy funds performed last month. See it all here.

3. One of Wall Street's top law firms has a new exec with a long history of cutting deals. Robert Kindler, a 17-year Morgan Stanley vet, is joining Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP to chair its M&A division. Here's everything you need to know about Kindler.

4. The best deals in sports. Marc Lasry, the PE billionaire and former co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, highlighted the biggest investing opportunities in sports these days. Here's what to keep an eye on.

5. The founder at the center of the Frank-JPMorgan deal debacle had a court appearance. Charlie Javice, who is accused of inflating Frank's users in the lead up to its sale to JPMorgan, had a brief hearing on Tuesday. Here's how that went.

6. So you want to work in PE? Here's everything you need to know about the recruitment process, from who the headhunters are to the type of salary you can expect. Check out our complete guide on how to land a job in PE here.

7. Pray for the bankers: One of the hottest startups in the world doesn't want to go public. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said the company might need "to make a very strange decision someday," which would be complicated by being a public company.

8. Wall Street is getting fed up with Amazon. Top research firm Bernstein wrote an open letter to the tech giant, saying it needed to "get back to Day One." Here's what else was said in the brutal letter.

9. So about that TikTok account you have ... According to one former exec at TikTok's parent company, Communist Party members had a so-called "god credential" that enabled them to access data on US users. More here.

10. This house is really cool. Malibu's iconic Wave House, which was owned by Rod Stewart at one point, just listed for $49.5 million. We've got tons of pics of the beach house that is just a total vibe.

Curated by Dan DeFrancesco in New York. Feedback or tips? Email, tweet @dandefrancesco, or connect on LinkedIn. Edited by Jeffrey Cane (tweet @jeffrey_cane) in New York and Nathan Rennolds (tweet @ncrennolds) in London.