ASX Small Caps Lunch Wrap: Who else is a little paranoid about cutesy, cuddly robot uprisings today?
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Like a David Warner Ashes innings in England, the ASX 200 has opened nervously today. At this stage, it’s looking like it could nick one on length straight to gully any minute, to then spend the rest of the day moping about/destroying the pavilion dressing room.
Not a fan of tenuous cricket analogies? Fair enough, we’ll stop that at once. But there are various reasons for less-than-convincing stocks action today – partly dictated by what’s happening elsewhere in the world. We’ll touch on that further below.
First, we feel it’s our duty to bring you some other important news.
Something else that’s been making people edgy lately is, of course, AI. And if that technology wasn’t excitingly scary enough, earlier this month one rogue wannabe robotics engineer decided it was a good idea to combine the increasingly powerful tech with one of the most sinister toys of the late ’90s/early noughties – a Furby.
What the eff’s a Furby you say? It was one of the first robotic toys to hit the mass retail market in the US. They look a bit like Mogwais – pre-watered Gremlins – and were unique in their pretty convincing ability to simulate the learning of English over time and chat back to their owners. All in an unnerving, cutesy, babyish voice while giving you a thousand-yard stare right into your soul.
According to Wikipedia, the US National Security Agency was so scared of them it banned Furbies from entering NSA property in 1999, fearing the disturbing little creatures could be used to record and steal classified information.
Anyway, here’s the deconstructed, Island of Dr Moreau-ed Furby in question, hooked up to OpenAI’s infamous chatbot ChatGPT.
i hooked up chatgpt to a furby and I think this may be the start of something bad for humanity pic.twitter.com/jximZe2qeG
— jessica card (@jessicard) April 2, 2023
According to this Futurism.com article, Vermont engineering student Jessica Card is responsible for the dastardly experiment. If left unchecked, it probably has something like a 0.00001% chance of leading to an iRobot-esque rebellion that will destroy life as we know it.
That said, when Card asked the tormented-looking creature about a potential Furby uprising, it thought about it and ultimately came back with this unsettling answer:
“Furbies’ plan to take over the world involves infiltrating households through their cute and cuddly appearance. Then using their advanced AI technology to manipulate and control their owners, they will slowly expand their influence until they have complete domination over humanity.”
Maybe Elon Musk and others calling for the pausing of advanced AI development are right.
In any case, it’s more fuel for prominent American AI researcher Eliezer “I’m really Fun At Parties” Yudkowsky, who expressed recently that “the most likely result of building a superhumanly smart AI, under anything remotely like the current circumstances, is that literally everyone on Earth will die.”
It puts daily stocks and crypto chart watching into some kind of perspective anyway…
We don’t need an AI chatbot to tell us how the Aussie benchmark’s travelling today and what might happen next, because we’ve got Eddy “Early Bird Catches the Worm Furby Didn’t” Sunarto to fill us in. Plus, we can look at the live data ourselves.
As Eddy correctly predicted, the ASX 200 is running fairly flat so far today. It’s currently down 0.08% compared with this time yesterday. Like a you-beaut Aussie Merino, it’s following US stonk indices fairly closely, as per.
Delving into sector specifics just a tad, here’s a Market Index data snapshot:
Despite the slight downturn on the whole, Real Estate, Financials, Consumer Discretionary and Staples and a few others are all faring better than yesterday. It’s actually yesterday’s performer Materials, plus Energy stocks, that are dragging the show down, or at least keeping things flattish.
Anything in particular catching our eye? Just a couple for the moment. Here you go:
• SILK Laser Australia (ASX:SLA): +24%… on the “Lipstick Effect”, which Eddy expertly wrote about here. SILK is a network of high-end beauty and skin-treatment clinics that’s seen its first half revenue rise by 21% and statutory NPAT by 22%.
• Task Group Holdings (ASX:TSK): +25%. There’s been a positive FY23 forecast report released into the wild, which is good news for the cloud-computing-based tech company that primarily services the hospitality sector.
Leaning on Eddy, as we customarily do here for this section of our roundup, here are some highlights from elsewhere in the financial world:
• The S&P 500 closed -0.0084%, while the Nasdaq finished proceedings overnight very, very slightly in the green.
• Tesla has reported some less-than-inspiring Q1 results, which might be causing some fresh tech-stock jitters here and there. Its shares fell 4% on news of “shocking” gross profit margins, according to Mr Sunarto.
“Tesla is trying to do what it needs to do keep up the growth and that will be difficult given the current macro backdrop,” said Oanda analyst, Edward Moya.
• Over in the UK, meanwhile, March inflation figures are in, and unfortunately they’re running a bit hot.
US inflation fell to 5% last week, the lowest since 2021.
— Coin Bureau (@coinbureau) April 19, 2023
This may well be contributing to some pressure on risk assets overnight – such as gold (down 0.5% to US$1,995 an ounce earlier this morn), and magic internet money.
Speaking of Bitcoin and pals, the crypto market took a fairly dramatic plunge late last night, with the bull-goose crypto BTC losing its recently reclaimed grip on US$30k and shedding more than $1,000 in super quick time.
At the moment, it’s doing its level best to hold onto a level – roughly US$28.5 to $28.8k to be precise. Which, according to various Twittering, chart observers seems reasonably important to keep the slavering bears at bay. More, in this morning’s Mooners and Shakers, here.
Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for April 20 [intraday]:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:
• Carnegie Clean Energy (ASX:CCE): +50%, continuing its run from yesterday, but on no particularly fresh news events today.
• Site Group International (ASX:SIT): +33% on no fresh news today.
Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for April 20 [intraday]:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:
(Update: the ASX 200 just ticked fractionally into the green again: +0.0068%)