Switzerland has a world-beating position in cross-border investing: its finance industry last year managed Sf6.6-trillion of assets on behalf of institutions, companies and the rich. So Swiss bankers have a keen interest in the technological revolution sweeping global finance, which has profound implications for the way markets operate. That includes some of the more fantastic ideas about handing the management of clients’ assets entirely to computers, creating "self-driving portfolios" in the way the automotive industry is creating self-driving cars. To outsiders, it may seem a true clash of cultures: Swiss banking means old-fashioned, personal service, as well as caution, secrecy (and until a global clampdown a decade ago, helping clients evade tax). Yet Switzerland — surprisingly, perhaps — is ahead of the game in some of the thinking about the use of computers that think for themselves and outperform humans. One pioneer is Jürgen Schmidhuber, professor of artificial intelligence...

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