Skip to Content
Artificial intelligence

A virtual assistant called Abbie is picking the best bonds for traders to buy or sell

November 12, 2018

A new version of a virtual assistant called Abbie can suggest the best bonds to buy or sell, taking into account pricing, ease of trading, and risk.

What is it? The bot, built by asset managers AllianceBernstein Holding, scans millions of data points within seconds to find potential trades and suggest them to the company’s portfolio managers. It can find bonds people may have missed, spot human error, and communicate with other bots, Bloomberg reported today. The original version was launched in May 2018 and handled bond trades worth nearly $19 billion in the first three months. But it was far more limited and needed more precise instructions from human traders.

Why it matters: Abbie already supports over 60% of AllianceBernstein’s fixed-income trades. The fixed-income market, which basically trades debt, is one of the most important elements of the global financial market. However, humans still make the final decisions and execute trades based on Abbie’s recommendations.

A growing trend: Abbie’s rise in the bond market is symptomatic of the emerging role of AI software within companies, helping to inform people’s decisions by scanning data at a much faster rate and higher volume than they ever could. For example, machine-learning discovery tools are already doing some of the heavy lifting that used to be a job for paralegals at law firms.

Deep Dive

Artificial intelligence

A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?

Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.

The viral AI avatar app Lensa undressed me—without my consent

My avatars were cartoonishly pornified, while my male colleagues got to be astronauts, explorers, and inventors.

Roomba testers feel misled after intimate images ended up on Facebook

An MIT Technology Review investigation recently revealed how images of a minor and a tester on the toilet ended up on social media. iRobot said it had consent to collect this kind of data from inside homes—but participants say otherwise.

How to spot AI-generated text

The internet is increasingly awash with text written by AI software. We need new tools to detect it.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.