Artificial intelligence, or AI, enhancements are increasingly shaping our daily lives. Financial decision-making is no exception to this. We introduce the notion of AI Alter Egos, which are shadow robo-investors, and use a unique data set covering brokerage accounts for a large cross-section of investors over a sample from January 2003 to March 2012, which includes the 2008 financial crisis, to assess the benefits of robo-investing. We have detailed investor characteristics and records of all trades. Our data set consists of investors typically targeted for robo-advising. We explore robo-investing strategies commonly used in the industry, including some involving advanced machine learning methods. The man versus machine comparison allows us to shed light on potential benefits the emerging robo-advising industry may provide to certain segments of the population, such as low income and/or high risk averse investors.
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