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Hot or not: 2024 identity predictions edition

Persona's trust & safety architect shares his thoughts about other experts' identity predictions for 2024.

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⚡ Key takeaways

This blog post is an excerpt from our newsletter, Verified with Persona. In each email, subscribers get a short topical deep-dive from one of our experts, along with links to other stories we find interesting. You can submit your email address in the sidebar (on the left side of the page) to get the newsletter in your inbox every other month.

Fun fact: at the end of every year, the Persona team records “time capsule” videos where we talk about what we’re working on and make some predictions for the following year.

I thought about doing the same for this last edition of Verified with Persona (for the year), but let’s be real — you’re probably sick of predictions pieces by now. Instead, I’m mostly commenting on other people’s identity predictions for 2024 based on my 15+ years in the fraud, compliance, trust & safety, and identity space.

Let’s dig in!

My predictions about other experts’ 2024 identity predictions

Prediction #1: AI and machine learning stand to make cyber attacks more sophisticated (ITWeb)

To be honest, this is the type of prediction that makes me think hasn’t this already happened? 🤔 It’s a scary reality to accept, but fraudsters have been powered by AI for years and can use it to systematically probe and discover weaknesses in systems — much like the velociraptors testing the fences for weaknesses in Jurassic Park. As such, organizations will need to go deeper in their investigations to figure out what happened and how to avoid these attacks in the future.

Likelihood: Certain

Prediction #2: We’ll see the creation of a universal deepfake check tool (Securelist by Kaspersky)

Unfortunately, while this is a nice thought, it seems unrealistic. There are just too many new models being released for one tool to have universal coverage. At least for the next year, I’d expect the volume of content-creation technologies to far outpace tooling to detect deepfakes. As The Verge reported, OpenAI itself had to shut down a tool meant to detect AI-written text, so it seems unlikely that someone will be able to create a universal check, But if they do, I’ll gladly eat my words. (Or, as our CEO likes to say, I’ll eat a shoe.)

Likelihood: Low

Prediction #3: Chief Digital Trust Officers will emerge as key participants in business-leading executive teams (Digicert)

This one’s tricky. On one hand, I could see it happening, but on the other hand, I much rather organizations use the money to fund existing teams properly. While Chief Digital Trust Officers could help businesses signal they care about trust, from my experience, I think most trust and safety teams would prefer dedicated resources to help them do their jobs better, such as engineering and data science resources.

Likelihood: Medium 

Prediction #4: A global, portable, decentralized identity standard will begin to emerge. (Gartner)

I hope I’m proven wrong, as I think a decentralized identity standard could be valuable, but I’m guessing it won’t emerge anytime soon. Here’s why: it’d be too hard to get everyone to agree on what the standard should be. Given all the world governments that’d have to work together, finding consensus would be extremely difficult. Additionally, it’s unrealistic to force digital identities on everyone, as individuals in some parts of the world may not have the equipment they need to ensure their identity is accessible and usable.

Likelihood: Low 

Prediction #5: Widespread LLM usage will fade away, but deepfakes will skyrocket (Vectra AI)

This is an interesting prediction! While ChatGPT’s monthly visits have certainly fallen from its high of 1.8 billion in April 2023, saying it’ll fade away feels excessive — especially as Google, Apple, and Microsoft are all funding their own LLM models. As LLMs have already fundamentally changed the way the world works, my guess is they’re here to stay. That said, I do agree with the part about deepfakes skyrocketing.

Likelihood: Low

Prediction #6: AI will shift from defense to attack, and organizations will need to prepare (DigiCert)

In my experience, AI has always been primarily used for attacks, so there’s not much else to say here. It’s true, but it’s not really a prediction.

Likelihood: Certain

Prediction #7: Identity will remain the top attack vector (Forbes)

The bad news is this is pretty likely given how much identity theft we see each year. The good news is if organizations have thorough identity verification processes in place during onboarding and other key customer moments (e.g. when a customer wants to make a big purchase or change key account details), they can stop a lot of bad actors from wreaking havoc from the get-go.

Likelihood: High

Prediction #8: Worries about fraud will delay FedNow’s adoption (bonus prediction from yours truly!)

ICYMI, FedNow is an instant payment service designed by the Federal Reserve to enable real-time payments outside of normal banking hours. While there’s a lot of hype around FedNow, as it’s the first new payment rail in the US since ACH, I actually think many businesses will be hesitant to adopt it until it’s been proven out — especially since ACH is still growing.

Real-time payments enable individuals and organizations to transfer large sums of money with remarkable speed and ease… but they also make it harder to recover funds related to fraudulent transactions. As such, organizations may decide to wait to see if bad actors are able to use FedNow for fraud before deciding to offer it as a payment option.

Likelihood: Medium 

Bottom line

The world of identity is evolving quickly, so while this was a fun exercise, it’s almost impossible to predict what’s in store for the future. In my experience, to quote Denis Waitley, I find it most sensible to “Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.” Do you agree or disagree with my assessments? Should I revisit these predictions (and potentially eat some humble pie) in another newsletter? Reply and let me know!

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