Blockchain technology’s advantage as an immutable, encrypted, and secure distributed ledger is well known. The ability for multiple parties can write data to the blockchain or access the data, and know that the data on the blockchain is trustworthy since it cannot be modified or deleted, is one that is now getting the recognition it deserves.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is another powerful technology, with the ultimate dream to create a program that surpasses human intelligence, and once that happens, recursively self-improve itself until it has theoretically infinite intelligence and processing capabilities. This is called the AI singularity, and the late Stephen Hawking, one of the most renowned physicists in history, said:
“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded”.
More optimistically, such an AI could perhaps solve all the problems in the world by creating futuristic technologies. It can be speculated that current AIs, and a theoretical super-intelligent AI in the future, would be enhanced by synergizing with blockchain technology. This article explores how AI and blockchain can be combined to pave the way for the fourth industrial revolution.
Blockchain and AI synergy
There are several ways that blockchain technology and AI can be combined to produce a more efficient technological system. First, since the former provides a distributed ledger which cannot be modified or deleted, the information from the latter can be stored in a blockchain, and then the scientists trying to understand the AI would have a clear and trustworthy audit trail of its actions. This data can then be used to make the program more powerful and efficient.
Further, if AI data is stored in a blockchain, the scientists that are working on producing better programs can give each other access to the blockchain. This data sharing via blockchain accelerates the scientific process of producing the most optimal AIs.
Also, blockchain technology and cryptocurrency can be combined to create peer-to-peer marketplaces for data produced by AI programs and even the programs themselves. This will help AI technology to proliferate across the world in a decentralized manner.
Additionally, properly built blockchain technology ensures that data cannot be modified or deleted, so the data produced by the AI will not be hacked. Also, the program that comprises the AI could be stored on the blockchain, so it can never be compromised.
Another aspect of blockchain technology is smart contracts. In the theoretical scenario where an AI has reached super-intelligence, smart contracts can be used to ensure that itdoes not do anything it is not supposed to do. This will avoid catastrophic risks like those seen in “The Animatrix” and the “The Terminator“.
There are actually a gauntlet of nascent companies already combining AI and blockchain technology, and these are sometimes called decentralized intelligent companies.
Tech firm Neureal combines AI and blockchain technology by allowing idle computing power to be commoditized and utilized to analyze tremendous amounts of data, referred to as Big Data. This data is fed into an AI program which then uses the data to answer questions and make predictions, as explained in the white paper. Ultimately, if Neureal succeeds in their mission to build this project, the end result would be a distributed and decentralized AI supercomputer.
Golem is somewhat similar to Neureal, in that it uses blockchain technology to combine idle processing power to form a decentralized supercomputer. The decentralized supercomputer created by Golem could easily be plugged into an AI by any user, although that is not the stated goal of the project.
SingularityNET provides a decentralized protocol using blockchain technology where developers across the world can share the AI technology that they create, accelerating progress towards the AI singularity, which is SingularityNET’s goal according to their white paper. It is doing this because the industry is highly privatized and run by major corporations, which keep their technological advancements a secret. A platform like SingularityNET, which allows all the scientists in the world to collaborate and build the ultimate AI, could perhaps eventually outpace major corporations like Google. Effect.AI is another company trying to decentralize development.
AI Blockchain has a different spin then the projects described so far, by using an AI to govern the blockchain, which supposedly increases security. The so-called super peers on AI Blockchain are designed to protect data in the blockchain by preventing malicious activity.
OpenMined aims to create a platform where AI programs can be connected with big data sets, which is an important part of the process for training a program. This learning environment is secured with blockchain technology, allowing scientists to keep their programs and data safe from hacking. Essentially, OpenMined uses blockchain technology like a protective shield, fostering the more rapid development of AI.
SynapseAI also is trying to develop a unique platform which accelerates the advancement of AI by monetizing it with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. AIs are uploaded to the SynapseAI network, and other users pay for the data from the programs via SYN tokens. Super-intelligent AIs could become self-sufficient and earn their own money in a theoretical future via platforms like this.
Another interesting convergence of blockchain technology and AI is the internet of things (IoT). The IoT is a worldwide network of connected devices as explained in a previous BitcoinNews.com article. For example, in a smart home, the IoT is used to connect windows, the garage door, the fridge, the tv, security sensors, and any other electronic to your smartphone. Also, IoT can be used to connect sensors for industrial usages, such as for power companies and traffic control systems.
Since the IoT produces a tremendous amount of data, blockchain technology is already quite useful for ensuring this data is properly stored, secured, and shared. IOTA is the best example of a blockchain project that is designed to store and share data from the IoT, and this data can actually be monetized via the IOTA (MIOTA) cryptocurrency, which is one of the top cryptocurrencies with a market cap near $1 billion.
It would make sense to plug an AI into the IoT to analyze and process the data, and then monetize that data via IOTA.
Thus, blockchain technology and AI have fundamentally useful synergy, and the combination of these powerful technologies is paving the way for the fourth industrial revolution. This is not a pipedream of the future; it is already happening via decentralized intelligence companies like Neureal, Golem, SingularityNET, Effect.AI, OpenMined, and SynapseAI, among others not discussed in this article.
This is only the beginning. The combination of blockchain technology and AI could lead to programs so powerful that they solve all of the world’s relevant problems. Certainly, this is an exciting time to be alive.
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