AI and Blockchain
The two cutting-edge technologies of today, artificial intelligence, and blockchain could unlock new frontiers if used in sync.
AI: The theory and practice of building machines capable of performing tasks that require intelligence, using technologies like machine learning, artificial neural networks, and deep learning.
Blockchain: A new filing system for digital information, which stores data in an encrypted, distributed ledger format. Encryption and distribution of data across many different computers enable the creation of tamper-proof, highly robust databases that can be read and updated only by those with permission.
The theoretical benefits of combining these two technologies haven’t translated as yet into real-world applications, but this could change soon. Three ways why this should happen are:
AI and encryption work well together
The cost of securing the vast amounts of sensitive, personal data (think healthcare systems, banks or even Netflix) handled by AI systems is immense. Blockchain databases hold information in an encrypted state, requiring only the safety of the private keys – a few kilobytes of data – lowering the costs of handling AI data tremendously.
Conversely, an emerging field of AI is concerned with building algorithms that can process data while still encrypted. This complements the safety of blockchains, by eliminating the risk of exposure of unencrypted data.
Blockchain can help us track, understand and explain AI decisions
AI systems make complex decisions by assessing a large number of variables. In areas like banking or the retail industry, these still need to be audited for accuracy by humans, which can be very difficult. If decisions are recorded, on a datapoint-by-datapoint basis, on a blockchain, it makes it far simpler for them to be audited, with the confidence that the record has not been tampered with between the recording of the information and the start of the audit process. This is a step towards achieving the level of transparency and insight into robot minds that will be needed to gain public trust.
AI can manage blockchains more efficiently than human or conventional computers
Conventional ‘stupid’ computers apply brute force when working with encrypted blockchain data, requiring large amounts of computer processing power. AI can perform such tasks – like verification of Bitcoin transactions – more intelligently by becoming adept at cracking codes almost instantaneously if fed the right training data.
Clearly, the two ground-breaking technologies have the potential to become even more revolutionary together. They can enhance each other’s capabilities while offering better oversight and accountability.
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