The following is a guest blog from Kevin Abosch. Kevin is a world-renowned visual artist.
It was a truth that would reveal itself to me through the practice of my work as an artist -- specifically through photographic portraiture -- that there is a breathtaking beauty to honesty.
We are faced with dishonesty on a daily basis, from friends, family, the media, corporations, and institutions which we would like to think are truthful with us. In fact, we are so bombarded with lies that when we, even for an instant, are confronted by something -- anything at all --which resonates with honesty, it can be downright overwhelming.
We live in a society which is increasingly skeptical of the trustworthiness of those we engage with. We’re taught that trust is something earned, not granted by right. With the ubiquity of the internet and mobile communications came an awareness of a substantial amount of fraudulent activity taking place. Our identities, from behind the computer, were for the most part cloaked from the scrutiny of others (The NSA notwithstanding). We even used aliases and created new personae through which we would interact with the cyber-realm. This layer between two communicating parties was well-placed for those with fraudulent intent.
In time, as the internet became the de facto space for socializing with friends and family, and with the facility to quickly purchase products for delivery to our homes, our actual identities, not the aliases of our past, came increasingly into play. Some of us wanted to make it easy for people to find us, get to “know” us and interact with us, while others preferred to stay hidden behind the layer of technology.
As e-commerce grew into the behemoth it is today, with advances in security and in the spirit of the new ways-of-the-world, our apprehension to make purchases online was mitigated by a generally favourable rate of successful transactions on sites like eBay and Amazon. Vendors rushed to meet the voracious appetite of consumers and streamline the process. Retailers relied on the fraud-protection mechanisms of banks and card-processors, affording a certain level of protection against the fraudsters. While trying to minimize losses, vendors quickly learned that the friction between themselves and their customers caused by measures to protect against fraud was causing an alarming dissatisfaction and subsequent loss of sales.
Identity, ontologically speaking, is rather abstract. Who am I? Who am I really? What is my nature? What is my true nature? My own work as an artist revolves around such matters, but in the context of an e-commerce transaction, the question of identity is more than a philosophical mind-bender. There are great financial implications to a vendor in the quest to quickly assess the “true” identity and nature of a customer.
Trustev, a company I have taken a keen interest in, understands that both the identity and trustworthiness of a customer, taken at face-value, leaves uncertainty. As if trying to pin down the exact location of an electron in orbit around a nucleus, Trustev predictively analyses a broad-spectrum of data which speaks to the nature of the customer, who they purport to be, and where they purport to be.
By reducing friction in the transaction, Trustev does something remarkable. Like an artist who endeavors to harness the abstract into something relatable and viscerally satisfying, Trustev manages to improve the experience of all parties involved. To know that the customer is being honest and trustworthy without bilateral angst, is something truly... Like I said, honesty is breathtaking.