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The Bot Brief

POSTED 04/09/2023

"There is no force on earth more powerful than an idea whose time has come."     

- Victor Hugo


Bots in The News:Bot Index vs. S & P 500

Labor statistics trumped Trump (pardon the pun) as the market took somewhat of a negative turn. Fears of a weakening economy were further confused with 236k job growth while hiring pace slowed and tech cuts continued. The S & P 500 fell only 10 basis points, but the tech-concentrated Bot Index declined almost three percent.

Three companies within the Bot Index fell by more than 10 percent while the gainers were led by the defense corporations.

The Chinese EV manufacturer NIO Inc. was the leading decliner in the Index with a 14.27% slide. Its ‘sister’ EV company - Tesla followed suit with a 10.80% retreat. Both companies were forced into price cuts while the U.S. Administration indicated that financial support for the vehicles may be halted.

The other double-digit decliner in the index was 3D Systems whose stock gave back some of its March advances. The stock cratered 10.26%.

Virtually all the gainers during the week included the defense manufacturers. The best performance was noted by the drone corporation – AeroVironment who gained 13.23%.

2020's Decade of Bot Performance


Water, Water, Everywhere:

The Bot Brief has devoted considerable ink in the discussion of robotics in outer space and underseas. Both environments are certainly hostile to humans but offer the perfect application scenario for robots. We just noticed a new company Nauticus Robotics is being developed by several NASA engineers that were involved in space automation efforts. They are using their experience and expertise to create AI underseas robots that need not be tethered to an above surface vessel. While the initial commercial opportunities were in the oil and gas industry, pipelines and communication cabling, several governments are looking at the devices with military applications.

Interestingly, just this week the government of North Korea tested an underwater drone that is capable of delivering nuclear weapons. The ‘hermit’ kingdom released that it had tested its underwater ‘boat’ Haeil-2 Unmanned Underwater Nuclear Attack Boat in early April with a successful 72-hour mission. While the deployment did successfully blow up its test munition, it is doubtful that the 72 hours of propulsion could have carried the vehicle very far. Nonetheless, if deployed from a mothership, the range issue may not be significant.

Certainly, this offensive strategy will need to be countered by a defensive stratagem that will inevitably promote both underwater and aerial drones. As noted above, the defense companies’ component of the Bot Index will certainly be a beneficiary.




Member: American Economic Association, Society of Professional Journalists, United States Press Association. Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts, Robotic Industries Association (now A3 Automation), Member IEEE.


The Bot Brief is a weekly newsletter designed for economists, investment specialists, journalists, and academicians. It receives no remuneration from any companies that may from time to time be featured in the brief and its commentaries, analysis, opinions, and research represent the subjective view of Balcones Investment Research, LLC. Due to the complex and rapidly changing nature of the subject matter, the company makes no assurances as to the absolute accuracy of material presented.