Technology never sleeps, and it's that sort of can-do attitude that gets people (and apparently machines) places in this hustle-bustle world. For the first time, an artificial intelligence (A.I.) has been named to a company's board of directors. The A.I. in question is called VITAL, and venture capital firm Deep Knowledge Ventures has made it an equal member of the board for its ability to pick up on market trends that are "not immediately obvious to humans."
For the last couple years, we've seen computer programs on Wall Street enact high-frequency and algorithmic trading, basically generating profits out of thin air for impossibly short periods of time. Since none of those programs have been named equal members of a board of directors, VITAL must be doing something even more impressive. If Deep Knowledge Ventures is to be believed, it certainly does, both automating due diligence for the company and using "fuzzy logic" to predict success.
Short for Validating Investment Tool for Advancing Life Sciences, VITAL is actually a program that pores over historical trends to see if startup companies will survive past their initial funding. It then autonomously hands over algorithm-generated investment advice to you and me, theoretically making us money. It's not clear yet what privileges VITAL has been given as an "equal" member of Deep Knowledge Ventures' board. We assume that use of the company jet doesn't quite have the same allure that it would for a human executive. Stock options, on the other hand, could lead to a computer-run takeover of the whole business — and maybe even the world.