Blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) are currently used in various industries. Combining them can lead to significant improvements in the economy, including reducing the energy consumption of Proof of Work blockchains, creating a new data economy using blockchains, and allowing users to rent out their idle computing power. AI and blockchain could also enhance verifiability and increase trust in the decisions made by AI algorithms.
What Is Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial intelligence is a field of study focused on developing intelligent computer programs capable of learning from external input data to solve problems. These programs use algorithms to analyze data and achieve specific goals without human intervention. AI can be divided into two main categories: narrow AI and strong AI. Narrow AI is designed to perform specific tasks such as facial recognition, spam filtering, or playing chess. Strong AI, on the other hand, is capable of completing a wide range of intellectual tasks, potentially at a human level.
Currently, narrow AI exists and is widely used in many fields, while strong AI is still theoretical and has yet to emerge. It remains a topic of debate among experts whether strong AI is even possible.
Although the potential effects of strong AI are unpredictable, some believe that it could have a significant impact on the future of technology. The future of blockchain and AI may be intertwined, making it important to consider how they may interact in the coming decades.
Combining AI and Blockchain
The combination of blockchain technology and AI has the potential to revolutionize various industries. While these technologies are currently used independently, there are many promising use cases where they can be combined. By merging these two innovative technologies, we may see significant improvements in various areas of the economy.
Blockchain mining is known for its high energy requirements and computational power. Distributed ledgers prioritize properties such as immutability and censorship resistance over efficiency, leading to the need for computational tasks that consume significant energy. To increase mainstream adoption and benefit the industry, reducing the energy consumption of Proof of Work blockchains is essential.
AI has the potential to address this issue by optimizing energy consumption. By improving mining algorithms, AI can significantly reduce energy consumption and optimize the storage needs of blockchains. Since the transaction history is stored in all nodes, the size of the distributed ledger can quickly become significant. This can lead to high storage requirements, which in turn can reduce network decentralization. AI can introduce innovative database sharding techniques that could make the size of the blockchain smaller and more efficient for data storage.
The Decentralized Data Economy
In today's world, data is a valuable asset that needs to be securely stored and exchanged. To enable effective AI systems, blockchains provide a high degree of reliability for data storage. Blockchains are secure, distributed databases, and their data is stored in blocks that are cryptographically linked to the previous ones. Therefore, modifying stored information is incredibly difficult, requiring network consensus.
Decentralized data exchanges are aiming to create a new data economy using blockchains. This would enable anyone to access data and storage securely and easily. AI algorithms could then use this larger set of external inputs, leading to faster learning. The marketplaces themselves could also exchange algorithms, making them more accessible to a broader audience and speeding up their development.
These decentralized data exchanges could revolutionize data storage by allowing anyone to rent out their local storage for a fee paid in tokens. Existing data storage providers would need to improve their services to stay competitive. Some of these marketplaces are already up and running, but they are still in the early stages of development. By incentivizing data and storage providers to maintain high data integrity, AI systems will benefit from these decentralized data exchanges.
AI algorithms require large amounts of quality data and computing power to learn and perform tasks. One type of computing system used by AI algorithms is the Artificial Neural Network (ANN). ANNs often require substantial computational power to handle millions of parameters to complete tasks.
Blockchain networks allow the sharing of data, so why not computing power? Some blockchain implementations allow users to lend their computer's processing power in a peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace, earning tokens as an incentive. These platforms are mainly used to render 3D computer graphics but may shift towards AI training.
Decentralized Applications (DApps) are developing, and computing power providers may face increased competition. By allowing users to rent out their idle computing power and earn revenue, computing power can be used more efficiently. Every CPU and GPU worldwide can work as a node in a decentralized supercomputer when not in use, according to theory.
Understanding the decision-making process of AI systems can be difficult for humans, as these algorithms work with vast amounts of data. It is practically impossible for humans to audit and replicate the process by which these decisions are made. However, if decisions are recorded based on each data point, a clear audit trail is created that humans can review. This can increase trust in the decisions made by AI algorithms.
Combining blockchain and AI technologies can have a profound impact on various industries. While many companies are currently using them independently, there are some promising use cases where they can be combined. As these technologies continue to evolve, more innovative ways of using them together may be discovered, leading to significant improvements in various areas of the economy. Although the exact outcomes are uncertain, the combination of blockchain and AI is likely to result in positive changes.