‘Powered by AI’ Is Superfluous Marketing, Pure Hogwash: Zerodha


There has been a noticeable increase in interest on artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), but not everyone appears convinced about their application in making life (or business) easier. The latest to raise doubts on their efficiency is Zerodha founder Nithin Kamath. While he himself did not make any comment on the usage of AI and ML in the brokerage industry, he shared what his firm’s “man behind the scene” — Kailash Nadh, the chief technology officer at Zerodha — had to say on this. Nadh said most of the claims of being “powered by AI” is “superfluous marketing and pure hogwash.”

Kamath tweeted he is repeatedly asked how or whether Zerodha uses AI or ML and he keeps saying he has “not found” any use-case yet. So Kamath decided to put this question to Nadh and shared Nadh’s response on Twitter. 

Nadh said Zerodha uses no AI or ML systems other than a commodity image recognition tool for processing images during onboarding and the company has not faced any problems yet. He also said that many brokers have openly advertised “AI powered” but none of them have reported any usage. This conclusion, he added, was based on Zerodha’s interaction with the market regulator SEBI, which conducts a quarterly survey of AI or ML usage by all brokers in India.

“From my interactions with the industry, I am strongly inclined to say that most of the claims of being ‘powered by AI’ is superfluous marketing, pure hogwash. Bulk of the AI or ML usage, if any at all, are commodity tools that can be plugged in trivially that do not even warrant mention let alone strong ‘powered by AI’ marketing,” Nadh said.

The CTO added in his note that largely all “AI-first mindset” in the industry have been strong cases of “misguided assumptions, outright delusions, and often, intellectual dishonesty.” Nadh also said he is “highly sceptical” of anything labelled “powered by AI.”

Zerodha is a large brokerage firm based out of Bengaluru. It started operations in August 2010. The name of the company is a combination of the words zero and “rodha,” the Sanskrit word for barrier.

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