Artificially Intelligent Assistance in Empirical Economics Research
From Research Princeton Research Day on April 29th, 2020
To address these limitations, my partner and I are building a new computer tool—a graphical user interface application named, at least at the moment, “Athena.” On the front end, it uses machine learning to process natural language queries: there is no “syntax” involved in coding with Athena. On the back end, Athena permits more flexible, open-ended querying than any other language we know of.
An example to illustrate: you are looking to regress “x” on “y” using an instrument. If you use Stata you must choose an instrument, Google the right syntax (find it here: https://www.stata.com/manuals13/rivregress.pdf), and then write a perfect line of code. If you use Athena you can simply ask Athena—in normal English—to open up your dataset and find the ten strongest instruments to use in a regression of “x” on “y.” At that point you can put you economic “detective hat” on to determine which instruments are worth looking into.