Zerodha CEO Nithin Kamath shares own deepfake video, warns about AI threats

Zerodha Co-founder and CEO Nithin Kamath on Wednesday posted a video showing his own deepfake which was convincing enough to fool users into believing it was Kamath himself. He said the aim was to highlight the growing threat posed by Artificial Intelligence (AI).

In the video, Kamath’s deepfake speaks about the difficulty in verifying customer identities as digitisation becomes centre stage.

“As the deepfakes improve, I think it will only become harder over time to validate if the person on the other side is real or AI-generated. This problem will be bigger for banks that have more stringent regulatory requirements during onboarding,” Kamath said in the minute-long video clip. However, at the end, he disclosed that “the video isn’t me; it is a deepfake”.

In a post accompanying the video, Kamath who is India’s youngest billionaire at the age of 37, said that the rise of AI technology and deepfakes pose a large risk to the financial services industry.

“The tipping point for Indian financial services businesses was when onboarding became completely digital, thanks to Aadhaar, etc. For businesses onboarding a new customer, an important aspect is ensuring that the documents and the person opening the account are real,” he said.

The normal process that’s followed today is to fetch the ID or address proof data from the source using Digilocker and or Aadhaar. Also, match the face from this ID proof with the person opening the account through a webcam.

“Today, we have a bunch of checks in place to check for liveliness and if the other person is real or not. But as the deepfakes improve, I think it will only become harder over time to validate if the person on the other side is real or AI-generated. This problem will be bigger for banks that have more stringent regulatory requirements during onboarding,” he noted.

As AI-driven deepfakes continue to alarm lawmakers around the world, the Indian Government has stressed it has a zero tolerance policy towards any online information which is patently false, misinformation and against national security.

Earlier this month, the IT Ministry issued advisories to social media intermediaries on ensuring 100 per cent compliance on tackling deepfakes and spread of misinformation on their respective platforms.

Kamath said it will be interesting to see how the regulations around this evolve. “Going back to the physical way of opening accounts will bring the growth of the entire sector to an abrupt stop,” he added.

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