Did the shadow of an American billionaire hang over the outcome of the vote on the Brexit? The wealthy boss of the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies and co-owner of the U.S. far-right Breitbart site, Robert Mercer, would have given a serious technological boost to his friend Nigel Farage, the former boss of the independence party Ukip, The camp of the "no" in June 2016, according to the British newspaper The Guardian, Sunday 26 February.
#Robert Mercer would have played the role of the master puppeteer in this political play, before exercising his influence on #The American elections. Until now this septuagenarian was mostly known for not wanting to be known. Officially, he is 18th in the Forbes rankings of the best-paid investment fund managers with a remuneration of $150 million in 2016.
Robert Mercer, pioneer of Artificial Intelligence
Robert Mercer is one of the pioneers of artificial intelligence research and was first in this field at IBM in the 1980s when he was seen as a talented programmer. With this experience, this father of three daughters joined the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies in 1993, specializing in the use of "big data" to define investment strategies.
In 2016, during the American presidential campaign, he suddenly emerged from the shadows by becoming one of the main donors of the republican camp. He first supported Ted Cruz, before betting over $11 million on Donald Trump.
Cambridge Analytica worked for Robert Mercer's two Republican favorites: first Ted Cruz, then Donald Trump. The Guardian says that a few months before the British referendum, Robert Mercer went to see Nigel Farage to suggest working with the British parent company of Cambridge Analytica, Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL Group). The former communication director of the Leave.eu movement (leaving the EU), Andy Wigmore, told the British daily that SCL "was delighted to help [the campaign] free because Nigel was a good friend of the Mercer."
Information on 220 million American adults
What is the advantage of Cambridge Analytica compared to all other data analysis structures? First the wealth of their database. Alexander Nix has repeatedly claimed, for example, to have information on the 220 million American adults. Secondly, their method of analysis is not based essentially on traditional criteria such as geographical location, age or occupation.
No concrete evidence confirms that Robert Mercer and his big data enthusiasts played a pivotal role in both elections. But Leave-EU's former communications director, Andy Wigmore, told the Guardian that "it was the artificial intelligence that won the referendum."