A financial chatbot designed to support understanding and engagement with the stock market has been developed by School of Computing students Suraj Sharma and Joseph Brennan.
The artificial intelligence (AI)-driven conversational agent, titled StockBabble, is built to empower retail investors, many of whom may be new to investing, and supplement their informational needs.
Users can benefit from the chatbot application by querying information on companies to retrieve a general and financial overview of a stock, including accessing the latest news and trading recommendations. They can also request charts which contain live prices and technical investment indicators and add shares to a personal portfolio to allow performance monitoring over time.
Suraj and Joseph designed and built StockBabble during their final year project module at the School of Computing. Their inspiration came from a joint passion for finance and the recognition that public interest in the stock market had grown during the Covid-19 pandemic.
From trialling and researching the impact of StockBabble, Suraj and Joseph found that respondents felt more confident in investing after using the application and all would consider recommending it to others. These results suggest a wider appeal for such agents and could significantly help to inform the design and development of future intelligent, financial personal assistants.
The students’ research paper detailing these findings has also been published at the 3rd ACM Conference on Conversational User Interfaces (CUI 2021).
Suraj said: ‘The skills obtained throughout our studies, as well as our placement experiences, contributed enormously to this project. Software development practices and methodologies such as agile and scrum allowed us to effectively plan and carry out this project, while also utilising our web development skills from previous University modules.’
Joseph said: ‘It goes without saying we have had a lot of outstanding support from our supervisor Dr Jason Nurse, and we are extremely grateful for his guidance throughout this project. We hope to take the invaluable skills we have learnt from this project and apply them across all our future endeavours.’
Dr Jason R.C. Nurse, who supervised the group’s project, added: ‘It was an innovative project, which fulfils a gap in the market, and was executed to perfection. They created a sophisticated AI-driven conversational agent that is able to support new investors in their engagement with (and learning about) the stock market. I am delighted for them as well in getting this research project published.’
Now they have completed their final year of undergraduate studies at Kent, Suraj will be working as a web developer at AlphaGeek, while Joseph will be working at Sky UK as an associate software developer.
Their research paper titled ‘StockBabble: A Conversational Financial Agent to support Stock Market Investors’ is published by 3rd ACM Conference on Conversational User Interfaces (CUI 2021). doi: 10.1145/3469595.3469620