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I’m relieved AI has come at the end of my investing career

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In many recent conversations with investors, the topic invariably shifts to AI. A retired fund manager I spoke with recently summed it up succinctly: “A car won’t drive itself; it needs direction or at least guidance. But if you’re headed to Manchester, it’s far easier by car than on foot.”
This encapsulates the crux of AI’s role in high-value intellectual activities like investment. It’s not just about whether AI can outperform humans, but rather how AI can enhance human capabilities—speeding up processes, improving accuracy, and reducing costs.
A lawyer at the same gathering remarked on how, when he started his career, a significant part of a trainee’s role was document discovery—sifting through extensive paperwork to extract information for interpretation.
Similarly, in the investment sector, there was a time when companies prided themselves on having “the information advantage.” This often involved a team of numerically adept but relatively inexperienced individuals combing through annual reports to populate databases with financial metrics, enabling investors to focus on stock selection.
AI holds tremendous promise in revolutionizing the resource-intensive field of investment analysis. Can machines truly outperform humans in this domain? The answer is nuanced.
The so-called “information advantage” was essentially about having some basic knowledge, albeit at a significant expense of time and money. AI now promises to accomplish this work in a fraction of the time and cost. This shift parallels historical transitions, where thousands who once worked with horses in 19th century cities found themselves needing new livelihoods as technology advanced.
AI functions akin to a labor-saving device—a versatile vacuum or dishwasher. It could also enhance investment decisions by mitigating the behavioral biases that often cloud human judgment. Unlike people, AI operates impartially, driven purely by data.
Recent studies, such as those from Chicago University’s business school, have explored whether AI can surpass analysts in converting financial data into predictions about corporate earnings. The findings suggest that machines perform marginally better in this regard. Moreover, portfolios constructed using AI-generated earnings predictions demonstrate statistically significant performance improvements—a trend that may imperil jobs in various professional sectors, including more senior roles, sooner than expected.
However, AI’s apparent ability to simplify complex financial management tasks can be misleading. It presents answers swiftly and seemingly effortlessly, akin to the advent of screening software three decades ago. Then, accessibility was hindered by cost, whereas AI democratizes access but also obscures processes within its black box.
Personally, I once trusted the tangible process behind my Online REFS stock screening software, where I saw colleagues inputting data. Conversely, querying ChatGPT leaves me uncertain of its information sources.
AI capitalizes on our preference for shortcuts. We crave definitive lists of stocks matching specific criteria, often without scrutinizing how these recommendations are derived. Yet, as with early computing, the quality of input directly influences the output.
Reflecting on my career, I’m optimistic about AI’s potential for investors, yet relieved it emerged toward its end rather than its start. Many tasks I’ve performed over 35 years hold little relevance today—a parallel to adjusting bridles and mucking out stables. Now, understanding internal combustion or making room for new skills is imperative.
Despite AI’s transformative impact, I remain confident in human capabilities. We excel as social beings, valuing personal connections and nuanced understanding—qualities I prioritize in those managing my finances. I seek advisors who inquire about my family, not just offer automated solutions.
The AI revolution mirrors the disruptive force of the internet boom preceding it. It promises prosperity for a few highly skilled individuals while potentially marginalizing many others. A winner-takes-all scenario risks fracturing social cohesion, underscoring the need for thoughtful adaptation.
Indeed, AI is here to stay, demanding adaptation rather than resistance.
Tom Stevenson is an investment director at Fidelity International. The views are his own
Source: telegraph.co.uk
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iDenfy launches a new AI-powered utility bill verification tool

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This new feature will boost its already existing address verification solution by offering a more straightforward utility bill check in any format or language
iDenfy, a Lithuania-based identity verification and fraud prevention software provider, has launched its new automated utility bill verification solution. This innovative tool is designed to enhance the efficiency and accuracy of the proof of address (PoA) process, as well as provide businesses with a powerful tool to ensure anti-money laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance.
iDenfy’s automated utility bill verification service uses advanced AI to extract and compare utility bill information with customer details in multiple non-Latin languages within approximately 20 seconds. This new addition to iDenfy’s RegTech service package includes key features such as full name verification, as the system extracts and compares the full name on the utility bill with the customer’s provided details, as well as address validation, which verifies the user’s full address in any language or format. This helps companies scale, especially those that operate in global markets or have various partners from different jurisdictions.
According to Domantas Ciulde, the CEO of iDenfy, this is a must in today’s landscape as regulations evolve and companies like crypto platforms or fintechs are required to conduct address checks. However, according to Ciulde, there’s a challenge when it comes to user experience, as additional checks like PoA verification add friction for the end user. For this reason, iDenfy’s team wanted to balance out the time that it takes for the customer to complete the address verification by tailoring a balanced solution, utility bill verification.
Asked why not use documents like government-issued IDs, Ciulde explained that regulators require other documents that were not previously used for identity proofing. According to iDenfy’s data, utility bills remain the most popular choice out of all PoA documents among their clients due to their accessibility. Additionally, utility bill verification is a robust method for confirming a customer’s current residence. Unlike other forms of address verification, utility bills are regularly updated documents that reflect the latest residential information of the individual. iDenfy’s team further explains that this makes this document highly reliable for verifying a person’s address, ensuring that the data is present and accurate.
Another new option that iDenfy’s utility bill verification service now offers is seamless API integration, which delivers address verification results automatically without the need to enter any data manually. Users can create a new utility bill upload window for PDF files or images and link the results to onboarded customer data. This makes the job of compliance teams a lot easier, especially when there are thousands of customers who need to have their address data checked. In-house compliance teams don’t need to use spreadsheets or any sort of internal databases and worry about data safety requirements, as these complex issues can be solved with the new RegTech tool.
iDenfy’s utility bill verification also facilitates re-verifying existing users by requesting a utility bill with a recent issue date. It helps prevent potential illicit behavior by setting transaction thresholds that require additional proof of verification. AI-generated context on the type of utility bill produces a final comparison response within approximately 20 seconds on average, which, according to iDenfy’s team, is at least five times faster than it would take during a standard manual address verification process. It’s also worth mentioning that iDenfy’s AI-powered utility bill verification tool can be seamlessly integrated into any company’s existing KYC workflows.
This verification process is particularly beneficial for financial institutions that are frequent targets for fraudulent activities. Verifying customer addresses is a crucial step to add an additional layer of security in eliminating fraud and making it harder for fraudsters to use fake or stolen identities. For example, without thoroughly verifying users during processes like account opening, loan approval, and credit card applications, financial institutions can be exploited for fraud, leading to significant financial losses and damage to the company’s image.
“With the utility bill verification solution, our goal was to streamline the process and use AI to widen our capabilities, in this case, accept new formats in more different languages for companies that want to scale faster and offer their customers a seamless address verification check,” — commented Domantas Ciulde, the CEO of iDenfy.
 
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4 Days of Family Fun at Cotai Expo – Free-Admission Sands Shopping Carnival Open Now

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Sands China’s annual signature event, the 2024 Sands Shopping Carnival, kicked off Thursday at The Venetian® Macao with an opening ceremony attended by representatives from the government, finance, business, and community services sectors.
Dr. Wilfred Wong, executive vice chairman of Sands China Ltd., said: “The Sands Shopping Carnival is celebrating its 5th anniversary this year. Over these five years, Sands China has maintained a steadfast partnership with the Macao SAR Government, the Macao Chamber of Commerce, and other supporting entities, providing relentless support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through this platform without seeking any financial return. Together, we have successfully created nearly 2,800 exhibition booths over the years. This year also marks the momentous 20th anniversary of Sands Macao. As a long-standing pillar of Macao’s business landscape, we have deep ties with the local community. Our commitment to supporting local SMEs is unwavering, and we embrace the philosophy of growing with SMEs. Year after year, we have organised the Sands Shopping Carnival, fostering mutual assistance and collaboration across various sectors in Macao.”
Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, director of the Macao Government Tourism Office, said: “Shopping is a key component of tourism. In the first quarter of this year, 48 percent of visitor expenditure in Macao was dedicated to shopping, which constituted the largest category of tourism expenditure, followed by accommodation and dining. Delivering exceptional shopping experiences is therefore crucial for enhancing the overall travel experience of tourists. It is essential for the retail service industry to catch up with market demands by continuously introducing products that cater to customers’ preferences and providing meticulous and personalised services.”
U Kin Cho, vice president of the board of directors of the Macao Chamber of Commerce, said: “Sands China is committed to supporting the Macao SAR government’s initiatives to promote the growth of SMEs. For five consecutive years, they have organised the Sands Shopping Carnival, a remarkable event that serves as a free business platform for SMEs. This event helps them expand their market presence and create new business opportunities. The Sands Shopping Carnival has been a resounding success, attracting over 100,000 participants annually. It has become one of the largest discount sale events in Macao and a renowned signature event in the local retail industry. We firmly believe that with the active involvement of major corporations like Sands China, and the determined efforts of SMEs in their own transformation and upgrading, Macao will undoubtedly regain its economic vitality.”
The Sands Shopping Carnival offers a free business platform for local SMEs and Sands retailers, helping them create more business opportunities, while providing a fun weekend destination hotspot for local residents and tourists in support of the Macao government’s ‘tourism+’ initiative. It is the fifth year that Sands China is running the shopping and leisure hotspot, with total visitation for the last four carnivals surpassing 420,000.
The carnival is free-admission, and is the largest sale event in Macao. It is open from noon to 10 p.m. daily, Thursday-Sunday, July 18-21 at Cotai Expo Halls A and B, with a special invitation-only preview session on the first day. The carnival features more than 580 booths, with a record-breaking 325 booths dedicated to local SME suppliers. Additionally, the carnival offers nine exhibition zones across 21,000 square metres: Sands retailers; household products; parenting and family; gourmet and wine; food court; green living; Macao cultural and creative; play and fun; and Macao specialties and souvenirs. Among the more than 260,000 products, the 2024 Sands Shopping Carnival features a limited number of special daily MOP 1 items each day for shoppers.
Furthermore, the Sands Shopping Carnival has witnessed a continuous increase in the number of participating community organisations, encompassing a wide range of areas including culture and creativity, as well as food and beverage. This trend reflects the transformation of the carnival into a grand shopping extravaganza, uniting all sectors within Macao. As part of Sands China’s long-standing efforts to promote social inclusion, Sands Cares Ambassadors are providing on-site support to local community organisations participating in the carnival, such as by helping man their booths.
The carnival features free parking as well as complimentary shuttle buses running routes to and from various locations throughout the city: Luso International Bank Building at Nam Van, Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Frontier Post at Macao Port, Border Gate, and Hengqin Port (Macao side).
The Sands Shopping Carnival features a variety of shopping, an international-cuisine food court area, and family-friendly entertainment, activities and games. Carnival highlights include:

Over 580 booths offering more than 260,000 products and some of the best deals in town, including special daily MOP 1 products and huge discounts of up to 90 per cent off; visitors are encouraged to support sustainability by bringing their own shopping bags
BOC Smart Kids Presents: Little Master Chef Workshop, a free food-prep and decorating activity for children, led by Sands China’s food and beverage team, featuring Mexican Tacos, Vietnamese spring rolls, handmade sushi, and more
ICBC ePay Presents: National Essence: Hanfu Styling Contest, with adults aged 18 or above from cities in the Greater Bay Area competing Saturday for the Excellence Award and a judging panel awarding prizes on the same day
Bank of Communications Presents: Rising Stars: 2024 Kids Talent Showdown, providing a platform for children aged 5 to 12 years old in cities in the Greater Bay Area to showcase their talents on stage on Sunday; outstanding individuals and teams will be awarded an Excellence Award on the same day
Food Court featuring a variety of regional and international choices, with free eco-friendly utensils available

The 2024 Sands Shopping Carnival is organised by Sands China Ltd. and co-organised by the Macao Chamber of Commerce, with the full support of the Economic and Technological Development Bureau, the Macao Government Tourism Office, and the Commerce and Investment Promotion Institute. It is sponsored by BOC Macau, ICBC (Macau), Bank of Communications Co., Ltd. Macau Branch, and BNU.
The carnival’s opening ceremony on Thursday was officiated by Dr. Wong; Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes; Tai Kin Ip, director of the Economic and Technological Development Bureau; U U Sang, chairman of the board of directors of the Commerce and Investment Promotion Institute; Sun Yaohua, director of the Economic Affairs Department of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Macao SAR; U Kin Cho; Grant Chum, chief executive officer and executive director of Sands China Ltd.; Dave Sun, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Sands China Ltd. and managing director of Venetian Macau Limited; Stephen Ieong, managing director of Bank of China Macau Branch; Huang Xianjun, deputy chief executive officer of ICBC Macau; Xia Ying, vice president of Bank of Communications Co., Ltd. Macau Branch; and Carlos Cid Alvares, chief executive officer of BNU.
More information about the 2024 Sands Shopping Carnival is available at the event’s official website at https://en.sandsresortsmacao.com/sands-lifestyle/events/sands-shopping-carnival-2024.html.
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CMA CGM Embarks on a Strategic Partnership with Google to Deploy AI across all Shipping, Logistics, and Media Activities

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CMA CGM, a global leader in sea, land, air and logistics solutions, and Google today announced a strategic partnership to accelerate the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) across CMA CGM’s operations worldwide.
By leveraging Google’s proven AI solutions and insights from experts, CMA CGM will help empower its employees’ decision-making. In fact, every program and tool developed within the partnership will be designed to assist users in their decision-making processes across several key workflows.
This comprehensive collaboration aims to revolutionize shipping by enhancing efficiency, responsiveness, and adaptability to market fluctuations and disruptions, resulting in faster and more responsive customer service. As part of the partnership, CMA CGM will actively seek to optimize vessel routes, container handling, and inventory management to ensure efficient and timely delivery of goods while minimizing costs and carbon footprints.
CEVA Logistics, the logistics arm of CMA CGM, will pioneer the data-driven future of logistics, focusing  first on warehouse smart management aimed at better operating its 10.3 million square meters of warehouse space. The smart management tool, built on Google technology, will allow CEVA Logistics to better anticipate and plan its operations thanks to an enhanced volume & demand forecasting.
Furthermore, the partnership will extend to CMA Media, providing an edge for CMA in the media landscape. Google’s AI expertise in this field will help CMA Media develop critical tools to assist its journalists in their day-to-day work, such as synthesizing and translating documents, generating media snippets for social networks, or digitizing and referencing archives from articles, photos, or videos.
The partnership will eventually benefit all CMA CGM associates thanks to dedicated high-impact training sessions at TANGRAM, the Group’s excellence centre for learning and innovation.
This collaboration is part of CMA CGM’s overall strategy to transform its business through AI innovation. It follows key moves such as CMA CGM’s investment in Mistral AI, PoolSide, and Dataiku, as well as the launch of open science lab, Kyutai.
Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and CEO of CMA CGM, stated:
“I am pleased to announce this global partnership between the CMA CGM Group and Google to accelerate AI adoption across our operations. This collaboration aligns with our digital roadmap and investments, marking a crucial step in our transformation strategy. Together with Google, we will lead the digital revolution in shipping, logistics and media, optimize our processes, and enhance our competitive edge. We are committed to driving innovation with tangible benefits for our staff members and our customers.”
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet
“By combining CMA CGM’s deep expertise in shipping and logistics with Google’s AI tools and secure infrastructure we can help CMA CGM digitally transform its own operations and those of its customers. This  partnership is a prime example of how AI can assist employees, improve outcomes for customers, and revolutionize industries.”
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