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Wall Street traders have been forced to eat humble pie after computers wiped the floor with them in an experiment.

In a trading simulation which pitted the wits of half a dozen of New York's sharpest operators against six robots, the machines came out clear winners.

By close of trade the machines had made seven per cent more money.

Boffins from IBM, some of whom developed the Deep Blue computer that licked chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov, said the study showed computers were now capable of coping with the cut and thrust of business.

They said the results showed the speed and consistency of machines proved a better judge of when and how to trade than the gut instinct of traders.

Jeffrey Kephart, of IBM, told New Scientist that robots were faster and made fewer errors. Machines, he said, were the future of markets.

"We see robots working in the frenzy of the trading pit while humans are elevated to a managerial role," he said.

So in the future will we see expensive, unreliable and temperamental traders running the finances of the City.

Or will we stick to humans? ®

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