Crowds panic in the Wall Street district of Manhattan due to the heavy trading on the stock market in New York City on Oct. 24, 1929. Via WikiCommons.

In an age where it's easier to get on social media than off of it, we still know shockingly little about how the scope, speed, and structure of online communication forums impact beliefs about stock market investing.

This October, SFI partners with UBS to host a virtual topical meeting titled “Technology and Risk: Will Speedier and Deliberate Communication Bring Higher Levels of Risk?” Members of SFI’s Applied Complexity Network can continue a discussion that began in 2020 on “Beliefs, Narratives, and Market Structure,” now in a year that’s seen a sensational “meme-stock” rally of GameStop (January 2021), a surge in uranium mining company shares (September 2021), and the preliminary outing of a major Amazon merger (August 2021), all fueled by online exchanges over social media.

Attendees will learn from three scientists researching belief dynamics, communication technology, and market risk. SFI Professor Mirta Galesic, an expert in the emerging field of belief dynamics, will discuss how her team is using quantitative and computational techniques to predict social trends. Filippo Menczer, a distinguished professor of informatics and computer science at Indiana University who develops tools for combating social media manipulation, will explore how community structure impacts the spread of ideas. Finally, Valentina Semenova, a doctoral mathematician working with SFI External Professor Doyne Farmer at the University of Oxford, will present her preliminary analysis of how social contagion, or “hype,” on Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum drives large fluctuations in stock trading.“Belief dynamics is one the most exciting areas of research we’re developing at SFI right now,” says Will Tracy, SFI’s Vice President for Applied Complexity who is co-hosting the event with Juan-Luis Perez, the Global Head of Research at UBS. “Because meme stocks had such an outsized impact on market behavior this year, it seemed important to revisit last year’s topic, and continue this conversation.”

Following the presentations and Q&A sessions, the researchers will sit for a panel discussion on the implications of technology-driven communication on asset valuation and risk. 

Read more about the virtual topical meeting.