Why Machines Still Can’t Learn So Good

Anthony Ledford and his colleagues at Man AHL spent three painstaking years building a machine-learning model to do something mere mortals often can’t: find fresh ideas in an avalanche of data. But even Ledford, chief scientist at the $19 billion Man AHL in London, rolls his eyes when he hears people say that machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence, is going to transform hedge funds tomorrow. To Ledford, a lot of the buzz smacks of hype. The technology is more robust than its predecessors but hardly revolutionary. “There is some real science here, but it’s not the way it’s been portrayed,” said Ledford, who holds a Ph.D. in mathematics. “Some of it is really marketing, and that’s the bit that annoys me.” Hedge funds, stung by eight years of…


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