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Shaping the future of finance

Are you who you say you are?

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As an advocate of digitalisation, I am finding myself more and more conflicted these days. Apps don’t work; settings change; updates mess up my services; processes break and cannot be repaired without a reset; I can’t make a payment as there is no WiFi or mobile data; I can’t get home as FreeNow and Uber aren’t working … you get the idea.

But what really worries me right now is AI, Artificial Intelligence. I see lots of fake news and deep fake videos; I see ChatGPT replacing people like me; I see news that even experts on things cannot identify the difference between what is real these days and what is unreal. The answer is that the world is becoming surreal. For example, just this week, Kuwait launched an AI generated newsreader:

We can live in a metaverse of alternative realities that have no correlation with real life. We have had this for years – the gaming industry is worth more than the movie industry – but as a boomer and older gamer, I don’t get it. I would rather be in the real world than another world, especially when other worlds create situations where people die through disconnection. There literally have been people gaming who were so addicted they ate and drank nothing for days and died!

Let’s not linger too much on that theme, and bring this back to my favourite subject: money, and how financial markets operate today. We’ve just seen many companies automating everything. The question has to be asked: what happens when the automation fails? By way of example, many customers will quit a bank if their digital services don’t work: Co-op Bank customers threaten to quit as app goes down again and again.

Personally, I am experiencing this more and more often, especially when multiple players in the financial system are not joined up. I’m trying to make a simple payment and find that I am authorising in the app, who ask me to authorise with the payments company, who ask me to authorise with the bank, who ask me to authorise with an API, who ask me to verify my identity … it’s really awful and it’s true.

Technology is meant to make life easier, but it’s making it harder. Who do you trust? What is fake and what is real? Why is everything getting so much more complicated? Can’t the financial system and digital system work together to make our world a better place?

Anyways, I diverse, let’s bring it back to AI. AI has got to the stage today where even the expert people cannot tell the difference online between what is real and unreal.

Take these images and tell me which are real or AI generated:

Source: The New York Times

The answer is that all four pictures above are fake, generated by AI. What to believe and not believe? What is real and unreal? And how can these fake and deep fake technologies fool you to part with your money?

If you apply hi-tech to hi-finance, I can see a day where millions of people lose billions of money to fake firms and cyberhacking criminals on the network. In fact, that day is already here today. You get a call from your bank but is it really your bank? You are asked to authenticate a transaction, but is it really authenticating with those who need to authenticate? You talk to a bank agent who you rang, but are they really a bank agent?


We need to watermark the internet. Everything needs an NFT and proof of truth, and every individual needs to be educated to spot the watermarks and proofs of truth to easily see what is authentic versus fake.

How would that work? Well, I guess I am advocating that if so much on the network is fake, that there is a registration service which everyone can see on everything without having to search for it. Like a creative commons licence, if you don’t see the watermark then it is probably fake or unreliable.

What do you think? What would work for you?

Meantime, a whole raft of articles that fed into the thinking above:



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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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