Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain Technologies: Enemies, Friends or Something Else
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain Technologies are the two most prominent examples of emerging exponential technologies of the last decade. Although frequently overhyped, they hold the potential to transform our world dramatically.
Note: Exponential technology is any technology that doubles in power of processing speed every year while its cost halves.
Some say they are mortal enemies with only one able to survive. Others see a match made in heaven, with the synergy between AI and Blockchain Technologies able to transform our digital universe by enhancing its security, transparency, and efficiency.
Perhaps the truth is somewhere in between.
In this series of short articles, we investigate the synergy between AI and Blockchain Technologies with Dandelion CTO Irene Katzela, discussing:
- Potential synergies.
- How they impact different business verticals.
- Limitations and conflicts amongst them.
- How both could work harmoniously.
Our First article focuses on the basics and “The As” of why AI and Blockchain need each other.
What is AI?
Al is the ability of a digital computer to perform intellectual processes which reflects characteristics of humans, such as the ability to reason, discover meaning, generalize, or learn from past experiences. Contrary to common belief, AI is not as new as some think. The field of AI research was founded in 1956 and went through at least two cycles of overpromising and underdelivering, resulting in two “AI winters” in the 1970s and 1980s. Finally, in the last decade, the tremendously increased computational capacity provided AI with the ability to deliver its promises.
Note: “AI winter” is a period of reduced funding and interest in AI research.
What is Blockchain Technologies?
Blockchain Technologies provide distributed ledgers offering secure, transparent and tamper-proof data and applications. Data is maintained in blocks, cryptographically linked to one another. Blockchain’s peer-to-peer architecture supports the concept of decentralization both in the management and governance of the overall system. In many ways, blockchain marks the next network technology evolution necessary to support our evolving digital universe.
Why do AI and Blockchain need each other — Part One?
Explainable AI describes an AI model, its expected impact and potential biases. In addition, it is one of the most significant areas associated with AI ethics.
AI models can not produce valuable results without quality data as input to process. Blockchain’s tamper-proof and immutable data digital records provide provenance of data, addressing the challenges of provable authenticity of input data.
Therefore, Blockchain improves trust in data integrity and, by extension, in AI models’ recommendations or decisions. It helps characterize model accuracy, fairness and transparency.
AI can comprehensively read, understand and correlate data at incredible speeds. As such, AI brings an additional benefit to blockchain-based networks. By providing access to large volumes of data stored in the blockchain and from oracles outside the organization, AI could provide more actionable insights and create transparent and trustworthy data management.
Moreover, AI’s outstanding processing speed makes it feasible to use the massive amount of data stored in blockchain for a broader range of fields and applications.
Automation and Smart Contracts
AI embedded in smart contracts executed on a Blockchain could enhance the functionality of smart contracts. It could analyze and recommend thresholds when specific actions are triggered. For example, AI-driven smart contracts can automatically activate recalls of pharmaceuticals based on threshold events such as expired or defective for affected lots.
Note: A “lot” in pharmaceuticals refers to a batch of products that are made at the same time.