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December 30, 2019 | By

AI IRL Podcast Episode 45: AI & The Future of Verification


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Authentication used to be an easy process.

It all started with the king. The king would require a wax seal around any form of parchment or communication that was produced, verifying that it was actually coming from the person that it was supposed to be coming from.

If it wasn’t sealed with the king’s seal, it wasn’t legitimate communication. It’s become a little more complicated since then.

On the most recent episode of AI:IRL, we sat down with John Baird, Founder at CEO at Vouched for a talk about the challenges we face with authentication, and what AI can do to make those challenges less of a burden.

An Ancient Challenge

At some point, we had to abandon the king’s model of authentication.

Why? Because a signature is easy to forge. Easy to hack.

But for hundreds of years, we’ve needed authentication for a host of things. If you want to rent a car, open a bank account, make a doctor’s appointment, or rent a car, you need a form of ID. Usually a driver’s license.

But again, as technology has evolved, so has the ability to hack and forge those forms of identification.

So we moved to multi-factor authentication.

Maybe it’s a text message. Maybe it’s biometrics. Maybe it’s a combination of both. A password or security question isn’t enough anymore.

Eliminating the Friction

But as we are requiring more and more forms of authentication, sometimes a password, a security question, and a code, we’re introducing more and more friction into the process.

An overwhelming amount of the new bank accounts opened in the last five years have been opened online. Not many people are walking into a bank to open an account.

Why not?

Because the friction that exists is making it incredibly inconvenient.

How many times have you been to the DMV, thought you had the right paperwork, only to find out that you forgot one of the seemingly dozens of pieces of required identity verification? It’s incredibly frustrating.

“Fort Knox is the most secure bank in the world. But I don’t know anybody that has an account there. There is way too much friction to be able to make a deposit at Fort Knox.”  John Baird

There has to be an easier way, right?

How Can AI Help?

The great thing about AI is that it can do things that no human will EVER be able to do.

Take the driver’s license for example.

Every state in the US has different requirements for what unique characteristics must be present for the ID to be legitimate.

California has almost fifty requirements. Multiply that by fifty states, and all of a sudden, someone sitting there looking at individual IDs to verify identity becomes something that is rife with the possibility for fraud and identity theft.

Humans just can’t’ do that type of work.

Vouched is using AI to look at every ID, and all the individual characteristics that make an ID legitimate, and they’re becoming experts on each and every type of ID.

Does the state seal look right? Are the colors exactly right?

The AI can look at the piece of ID at a pixel level to make sure that not one pixel has been altered, rendering the ID illegitimate.

The truth is that we live in a world that is rife with identity theft, fraud, and deception. Companies like Vouched are looking to level the playing field just a little more, giving customers a greater sense of confidence in their online lives.

This discussion with John Baird was taken from our AI: In Real Life. If you want to hear more AI episodes like this one, check us out on iTunes here.


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