Artificial intelligence researchers in Japan say they've found a way to predict major policy shifts from the country's central bank by analyzing split-second changes in the facial expression of its governor, Haruhiko Kuroda. Julian Satterthwaite reports.
Are interest rates about to rise in Japan? Is economic growth going to slow slightly? Or maybe global markets are all doomed! Who knows? Two artificial intelligence researchers in Japan say they they're developing a way to predict policy changes from its central bank by watching the split-second changes in facial expression of its chief, Haruhiko Kuroda. Kuroda usually has a neutral expression and announcements are made in very carefully worded, dry, language after the bank's board decides on a course of action. But the researchers found he displayed fleeting signs of "anger" and "disgust" at news conferences up to seven weeks before two major policy changes. They say it shows Kuruda sensed existing policies weren't cutting it long before the board acted. And afterwards he displayed less sadness in public appearances. Yoshiyuki Suimon says he wants to study Fed chair Janet Yellen and her European counterpart next. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) YOSHIYUKI SUIMON, NOMURA FINANCIAL & ECONOMIC RESEARCH CENTER "Although it's still very basic, we've proved that there is correlation between the governor's facial expression and the decisions being made on monetary policies. I believe we can use this method to predict his next move on future monetary policies." The pair of researchers used a program designed by Microsoft called "Emotion API." They say they're already fielding inquiries from investors.