05:13 AM

Computers: The new news consumers

A fascinating article in the FT today about how computer-generated news has a lively audience - other computers. It's not just Google News. Various services are taking financial data and turning it into news stories customized for software to process and pass onto trading computers.

“One of the big consumers of news now is a computer,” says Matthew Burkley, senior vice-president of strategy at Thomson Financial. “This area has turned out to be broader than we thought. Instead of being limited to a marginal number of our clients, the demand for news which is readable by a computer is very widely spread.”

Reuters reports a similar demand. “There is real interest in moving the process of interpreting news from the humans to the machines,” says Kirsti Suutari, global business manager of algorithmic trading at Reuters. “More of our customers are finding ways to use news content to make money. This is where news is exciting.”

Still Wall Street firms maintain a place for humans in the new world of news-triggered trading.

“News events are extremely subjective,” says Will Sterling, head of institutional electronic trading at UBS. “Our general approach has been to blend the automation with a degree of human oversight. It’s better to take an extra few seconds to be sure.”