Technology is evolving rapidly. Presently, probably the two hottest trending technologies are Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain. In this article we will discuss AI and blockchain integration, their differences, how they are making an impact on businesses and individuals, and some of the AI and blockchain projects already in existence.
AI is a branch of Computer Science that aims at imitating human intellectual functions to make machines intelligent. This involves developing algorithms that learn from tons of information and use rules to reach desired conclusions with abilities for self-correction and self-improvements. AI systems find patterns in big data and deliver solutions to complex problems. AI applications include natural language processing, speech recognition, machine vision and expert systems among others. Several industries including security, finance, healthcare, retail, government and manufacturing currently rely on AI to help make informed decisions in their daily operations.
Blockchain is a time-stamped digital ledger with a series of unchangeable blocks of data. These blocks of data are bound using cryptographic principles and managed by clusters of computers on a network with no central point of administration. The clusters of computers on the network verify each transaction on the blockchain. Once verified, a new transaction is added to the blockchain and cannot be altered by a single individual unless all the computers on the network come into a consensus. Blockchain can be termed as a democratized system – everything built on a blockchain is transparent and verifiable. The impact of blockchain has been felt majorly in the financial sector with cryptocurrencies, such as the famous Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum. Blockchain applications include medical record keeping, digital voting, weapons tracking, immutable data backups, copyright and royalty protection, payment processing, among others.
AI requires lots of data to learn from. Thanks to advancements in Big Data analytics, AI systems have tons of data to train their algorithms. Big data refers to storing and processing large datasets. Currently, companies have an abundance of data on their customers, which makes it possible for AI systems to function. How the data is stored and managed is a topic generating a lot of buzz. For example, social media platforms – they allow us to use their products for free in exchange for our data. While we are giving out personal information, there’s no way of tracking how these companies store and use it.
Blockchain is built on cryptographic principles that ensure all data is secured, accurate, and verifiable. All and only users who have their data on the network can view how it’s managed. Blockchain can thus manage the data that an AI system needs to train its algorithms making AI and blockchain a perfect fit. A merger between the two will result in a transparent and less biased AI system.
Some advantages of a decentralized AI include:
Cybercrimes are on the rise and it’s becoming more costly for companies to implement cybersecurity programs. Given the abundance of high-value data for AI systems that companies harbor, it’s prudent putting in place high-security measures. Using blockchain ensures the data remains secure and immutable. Furthermore, it reduces the probability of an AI system resulting in a catastrophic scenario due to corrupted data.
In the financial sector, where blockchain is predominantly applied, AI can help determine if a transaction is deceitful, hence blocking it. AI can thus secure blockchain at the application level by preventing intrusion.
Users are willing to divulge more data to the system if it’s transparent and trustable. More blockchain and AI use cases in handling sensitive data are in the healthcare industry. A user’s personal health data can have dire consequences if leaked or tampered with. AI systems leverage this data to detect, diagnose, and prevent diseases. Blockchain ensures this data is encrypted and cannot be tampered. Once a user is authenticated on the network, blockchain’s transparency nature ensures the user can view and verify their data and see how the data is being used.
Another AI blockchain use case is how platforms like Netflix and Spotify use your data to recommend playlists. To ensure you have the best experience, this data must remain accurate, and as a user, you should see how those recommendations are coming about.
AI systems make decisions autonomously and it can be difficult for humans to track and comprehend. Since blockchain tracks every transaction on its blocks of data, it can help us track how the AI algorithms think and reach decisions.
Blockchains require heavy computing power when processing a transaction for each of the linked blocks. The hashing algorithms use a brute force approach – which is not efficient as it involves trying all the possible parameters for the solution before verifying a transaction. AI can figure out the best parameter to pass to the hashing function instead of trying out all possible parameters.
Some AI blockchain companies and projects include:
AI and Blockchain have existed separately for quite some time and are proven to deliver great results. As discussed in the article, several companies are already combining blockchain and AI to come up with incredible solutions. With more research, decentralized AI can bring amazing opportunities for every individual, company, or product – with an end goal of more transparent and efficient applications.