Slide 1

The Pamphleteers

To paraphrase the Bard: “Glendower: I can call avatars from the vasty deep. Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man; But will they come when you do call for them?” (Henry IV). If you’re feeling blue, don’t try calling Z/Yen’s avatars; they come in more natural tones. In 2011 we announced a technology research project with the Technology Strategy Board and the London Film Museum to produce avatars which would help people comprehend large, complex data sets. Our objective was to create artificial ‘personalities’ that would react to data and thus help orient real personalities (the likes of you and me). We thought our avatars project might help people navigate financial services, gambling, health or security datasets.

The avatar personalities were provided by Z/Yen’s predictive system, PropheZy The large, complex dataset came from trading patterns in our prediction market, ExtZy . The avatars have been successfully interacting with ExtZy players for several months. For those readers who have missed ExtZy since its early 2009 launch, you play free for significant prizes while Z/Yen gain a laboratory for work on exchanges and trading. Basically, have fun while being a paid lab rat.

ExtZy resembles numerous financial or betting systems, and the avatars function as ‘tipsters’. You call up an avatar whose personality interests you – “Madeline is the earnest avatar for players looking for healthy regular payouts from their investments. She'll spot reasonably priced stocks that should…”. From that point the avatar provides her or his suggestions to buy, sell or hold. You can also examine their historic performance. In practice, the avatars do seem to outperform human stock pickers by a small, but large-enough-to-be-helpful margin (well, except maybe “Val” who is having a bad year). If you want to check them out, just login or create an ExtZy account and “call an avatar”.