Our future robotic overlords took one step closer to realizing their future of world domination.  In what can only be a page ripped directly from Skynet’s playbook, Deep Knowledge Ventures (DKV), a Hong Kong venture capital management fund, has appointed VITAL (Validating Investment Tool for Advancing Life Sciences) to its Board of Directors.

VITAL is a machine learning algorithm used to analyze financial trends, not unlike existing high frequency trading algorithms employed by financial firms around the world. So on the plus side, VITAL is not some sort of synthetic android life form.  On the other hand DKV, the board of which VITAL is now a voting member,  focuses on investing in Biotechnology and Bioinformatics.

After hightech blog BetaBeat ran a story about the appointment, DKV’s senior partner Dimitri Kaminskiy cleared the air regarding their initial press release. No there won’t be a computer sitting at the boardroom table, but yes, VITAL will have an equal vote in investment decisions.

That vote is probably one of the most important functions of a director, as those are the sorts of decisions that can make or break a company like DKV. As long as the company’s bylaws allow it, VITAL can vote on those issues, and in a sense act as a member of the board.  But voting alone does not a board member make. Directors of a corporation have duties and responsibilities to oversee the functioning of their firm.  Duties that VITAL is not designed to perform, and responsibilities that it is unable to legally be assigned (or insured for).

At the end of the day, corporations like DKV still require human directors, and machines like VITAL are tools, not replacements for people. Whether this is just a clever marketing ploy, or a real step forward for the domination of humanity by the machines, is yet to be decided.

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