The Convergence of AI and Blockchain

The Convergence of AI and Blockchain

What can we create with AI and blockchain?

“Artificial intelligence would be the ultimate version of Google. The ultimate search engine that would understand everything on the web. It would understand exactly what you wanted, and it would give you the right thing. We’re nowhere near doing that now. However, we can get incrementally closer to that, and that is basically what we work on.” —Larry Page

The objective of most modern organizations is to remain customer-centric. To do so, they need to create products and services that make their customers’ lives easier through offerings that are easy to use and match their exact requirements as far as possible. The information required to create these bespoke products and services to enhance customer experience is now available through many more sources than a decade ago – social media, point of sale, word-of-mouth and others.

With the advent of powerful new artificial intelligence algorithms and blockchain we can now work steadily towards incrementally improving an organization’s product offerings and image among customers and prospects. Once the information related to customer’s interactions and transactions are recorded on an immutable blockchain, artificially intelligent algorithms can be used to mine these huge volumes of data to pinpoint useful insights and predict outcomes based on current trends.

With AI and Blockchain working together we can make more accurate predictions using large volumes of customer and prospect data. Real time analytics and predictive analysis based on data captured from the different stages in the product life cycle can be captured to better understand churn and service related issues. AI can flag particular interactions or transactions that need attention to improve customer experience based on data captured on the blockchain.

The Decentralized AI Autonomous System

“Some people call this artificial intelligence, but the reality is this technology will enhance us. So instead of artificial intelligence, I think we’ll augment our intelligence.” —Ginni Rometty

A decentralized AI autonomous system relies on the blockchain for clean, unaltered data that can be used for its learning and analysis. Since blockchain is a peer-to-peer network with immutable data because of its secure encryption, it is the best source for large volumes of accurate information. In general, for accurate analytics and well founded conclusions, AI needs a large amount of data and computing power, thereby, enabling it to study all the possible outcomes before reaching a well calculated decision based on correlation.

How does AI help blockchain applications?

AI and Blockchain go hand-in-hand to create a competitive advantage for users, they work effectively together providing far reaching benefits.

Blockchain brings large volumes of time stamped and encrypted data in chronological order with private keys for access to it and AI brings the flexibility to study correlations and the speed to read the data when implemented. It can ensure zero-error smart contracts and help marketing gurus create specific target audiences for multiple product offerings or services. This is just the tip of the iceberg, there are many ways AI can be used with blockchain to unlock solutions to problems in working with the latter’s cryptography and encryption, ensuring quicker and energy efficient results to queries.

For machine learning and deep learning, AI and Blockchain are the ideal partnership – large volumes of unalterable data can be used to accurately make correlations by AI and thereby present the best solutions to buying/ selling trends, pinpointing flaws and suggesting changes in design or services. A good example of this AI and Blockchain partnership is the way we will be able to replace Miners on the blockchain with the former to create and edit blocks on the blockchain at higher speeds and energy efficiently.

How can Blockchain help AI Systems?

AI requires large volumes of authentic and accurate data to reach the best possible solution to a problem. Blockchains are continuously growing adding several MBs of data every hour, thereby providing AI with enough information to learn and leverage this data for consumption as analytics or a specific answer to a problem statement. What’s more, we can track how the AI reached a particular decision from the blockchain allowing us to make changes to the algorithms. A typical example of Blockchain and AI working effectively together are Netflix and Amazon’s recommendation engines which make suggestions to customers based on their browsing history to enhance customer experience.

Which industries will benefit with the convergence of AI and blockchain?

Healthcare: Blockchain can be used to protect patient anonymity and enable profit sharing between all participants in R&D projects. Smart contracts can circulate research results without the bias of human data collection and analytics. Information from clinical trials can be shared amongst researchers with a patient’s consent thereby creating a large enough repository for AI to reach realistic decisions on new procedures, drugs and surgery. Another important use for the convergence of AI and Blockchain is in simulation which can only be possible when there are exhaustive records to run artificial intelligence algorithms, thereby reaching a conclusive decision on the best possible option for a required outcome.

Retail: Customers today are using multiple channels for purchases, making it difficult to collate the required information to create a customer’s 360 degree view. With Blockchain in the picture this is easy by capturing every transaction in chronological order and ensuring it is immutable. In addition, it makes employees more accountable for any flaws in their transactions with a customer related to sales, service or marketing. Many companies are integrating AI at the point of sale to allow humans to focus on their core tasks. The customer information captured is secure and can be analysed using artificially intelligent algorithms to provide better recommendations and display online advertising as per a person’s browsing history or prior purchases. To optimize marketing campaigns, running artificially intelligent algorithms to captured data from across customers will ensure better targeting and more relevant recommendations to prospects and existing customers.

Supply chain: Blockchain enables users to track their goods at every point in the product life cycle from manufacture to delivery, ensuring better accountability and enhanced customer experience. AI is used to pinpoint exact points in the process where closer attention is needed to improve services. An important aspect of AI and Blockchain in the supply chain is smart contracts which run on predefined rules and agreements between different parties in the supply chain thereby ensuring everything is in order before making payments or placing orders when inventory runs low.

Finance: Blockchain is the outcome of the need to create a currency which is decentralized and can be tracked by multiple parties in a peer-to-peer network, decreasing the chances of fraud and theft. Another major use for AI and Blockchain in finance is predictive analysis and upselling based on a person’s trading/ transaction history and propensity to buy a particular product or service.

Government: AI & Blockchain can be used effectively to create smart cities where there is a proper consensus between citizens and the government on all developments leading to better planned and greener environments in today’s world. Smart contracts can also be used to ensure payments are made on time and fairly with full accountability for any loopholes that might slow down progress.

Let’s look at a few companies using the convergence of AI and blockchain:

Bext360: the company’s AI tracks growing patterns for crops and the blockchain records the supply chain from seed to crop ready for harvesting. Bext360 enhances supply chain efficiency and transparency for timber, coffee, cotton, palm oil, seafood and mineral industries. In the coffee industry, AI measures the quality of coffee beans and predicts weather and growing patterns, while the blockchain records the location where the beans grew and the specifications of a coffee consignment. The technology also acts as a payment ledger to ensure that all parties are paid on time and appropriately.

Mobs: a growing marketplace based on blockchain for selling and buying smartphone videos. After a purchase, Mob’s blockchain creates a smart contract to directly pay the video creator as per engagement rates and views.

Verisart: this London based company enables artists to create unalterable certificates of their new work in real time using AI and blockchain. These certificates feature time-stamping and encryption to ensure forgeries are not mistaken for the original piece of art.

Vytalyx: a healthtech company providing medical intelligence and insights to healthcare professionals using AI and blockchain to access information, analytics and insights. The patients’ medical data is stored on the blockchain and uses AI to personalize services like treatments and nutrition plans and point out clinically relevant medical studies in a very short time.

Stowk: their blockchain platform and AI tools will be used to track vehicle shipping for the automotive industry by ensuring transparency in the logistics process.

Above are just a few good examples from amongst many of data driven companies using machine learning with blockchain to foster ground breaking results.

What are the top challenges with this convergence?

AI and Blockchain are a relatively new combination about which a lot more has been said than done. This is partly due to the reasons that public blockchain data is accessible to everyone and available for anyone to read, creating privacy issues. For cryptocurrency, blockchain platforms like Bitcoin and Ethereum can perform between 4-12 transactions per second whereas Facebook handles millions per second, meaning scalability is a concern. Smart contracts need to be programmed with all the security related concerns in mind, also, blockchain cannot be probabilistic only deterministic and will only work if the inputs are error free.

As the decade takes a turn we can hope to see many new projects where the convergence of AI and Blockchain have far reaching benefits especially in sectors involving large volumes of historical data where AI algorithms can be used to derive value and meaning. The key to success will be to help develop more energy efficient solutions that help humankind and at the same time enhance deep learning to avoid miscalculations in the future.

Further reading

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