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Salesforce Research Team develops AI Economist to predict economy trends

Salesforce research team created AI Economist, an artificial intelligence tool that can predict economy trends through simulation of millions of years of economies and help design tax policies and more.
According to Stephan Zheng, Lead Research Scientist at Salesforce, the software can provide a simulation and data-driven solution to defining optimal taxes for a given socio-economic objective. It uses reinforcement learning (RL) – a machine learning training method based on rewarding desired behaviours and/or punishing undesired ones.

“The AI Economist uses a collection of AI agents designed to simulate how real people might react to different taxes. In the simulation, each AI agent earns money by collecting and trading resources and building houses. The agents learn to maximize their utility (or happiness) by adjusting their movement, trading, and building [behaviours]. One way to do this is to maximize income while minimizing effort, for example, making as high of an hourly wage as possible,” Zheng says.

The software also learns to optimise taxes and subsidies to facilitate global objectives.

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The team worked with Harvard-affiliated British-American computer scientist professor running an Economics and CS research group, David Parkes. You can read what each of them had to say about the project here.

Chief Scientist and Head of Salesforce Research, Richard Socher, says that the hope is that AI Economist gives countries the ability to predict and foresee the ramifications of their tax policies and come up with better, transparent ones where necessary.

The team adds that they can’t wait to partner with governments and see how their tool works in the real world.

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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.