Shefali Deshwali

@shefalideshwali

Blockchain and AI: How Does the Future of These Trending Technologies Look?

Photo by Joshua Wilking on Unsplash

I believe I’m one of the luckiest people who have had the chance to witness this generation of technological advancements. Ideas that seemed impossible at one point of time are being brought to reality, routine tasks are getting automated and our day-to-day lives are getting better with technology seeping in from all the corners of our lives. Groundbreaking technologies including Internet of Things, Blockchain and AI are constantly on the look-out for making advancements with the development of new applications.

It’s been around an year and a half since I started learning about blockchain. Being one amongst the top revolutionary technologies in the world today, Blockchain has proved itself successful in multiple areas of applications other than cryptocurrencies such as supply chain, healthcare, fintech, education, law enforcement etc. Simply stated, blockchain is a distributed database or ledger which is updated in real-time and is shared across any public or private network of nodes. All the nodes, at any time, have consistent information stored on them which eliminates any kind of fraud.

For people who find it confusing due to the media buzz and hype, here’s an amazing infographic by McKinsey that clears up some basics about blockchain:

That’s a lot about blockchain now let’s dig a little bit into AI. Artificial intelligence is no new name in the technology world rather it has been popular in the industry much before than blockchain came into the spotlight. Simply said, Artificial intelligence is a technology that works towards making machines like computers function or think like human and take decisions on the basis of their analysis. Since AI involves methodologies of deep learning and machine intelligence, it has huge potential prominently in education.

Unlike humans, computers don’t have a brain of their own and they work on commands. The basic idea behind Artificial intelligence is to provide the power of thinking to these machines by feeding them with huge data sets so that they can perform tasks like humans and make our lives easier. If you’ve ever come across any of these- Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa; you’ve already had an encounter with an AI.

Blockchain and AI are both technologies that show a high potential and scope of growth but the actual applications are still in infancy. Despite this, many use-cases and possible implementations of combining and using these two technologies together are rising up. Some of the most interesting ones are as follows:

4 Ways How Blockchain and AI Can They Work Together

Improved Decision Making

AI serves to make the lives of humans easier by allowing machines to work intelligently on their behalf. However, since the technology is still in its infancy, sometimes the decisions made by artificially intelligent machines aren’t fully clear and understandable as they are calculated based on a large number of variables. These variables work independently in order to achieve the best result as per their learning from the information obtained through huge data sets.

One of the potential applications of AI is transaction monitoring and therefore, AI algorithms that can be used in detecting frauds in financial transactions are constantly being developed. Since this is a complex task that requires high accuracy, it is important that it’s monitored audited for accuracy check by humans. However, when the process of auditing comes back to humans, there’s a high risk of data tampering.

This can be resolved through blockchain. When blockchain is implemented in such a system, the overall auditing process becomes much simpler. The information stored on each block of the chain is absolutely secure and anyone who tries to modify it will need to make changes throughout the blockchain tracing it back to the first block. In reality, this is too complex to achieve and requires high amount of computing power. Thus, the data will be highly secure throughout the process.

The advantage of a combined system of blockchain and AI such as this is that it brings more confidence in the general public as AI systems alone are not very trustworthy. The transparency offered by blockchain by recording the decision-making process can help in achieving the much-needed public trust.

Secure Personal Experiences

Many businesses today deal with highly sensitive personal data in order to provide their customers with the best services and products. The blockchain technology has proved itself secure as it uses tested techniques of cryptography encryption to store all the data. Since blockchain is ideal for storing sensitive data which can be smartly utilized with the aid of AI.

Imagine a smart shopping system that provides you with products that resonate with your personalised choices. Moreover, a healthcare system integrated with Blockchain and AI could provide accurate analysis based on medical records and patient’s history. Keeping the privacy of users in mind, new AI algorithms are being built that can work on encrypted data itself as unencrypted data can be exposed to threats easily.

In a nutshell, as blockchain provides security with encryption; AI has the ability to work on this encrypted data and provide more privacy to the users in terms of companies using their personal data to improve their experiences on sites like Amazon and Netflix.

Strengthening Economies

Blockchain can help increase the AI adoption in the world as it provides payments in cryptocurrencies with which even the unbanked people can earn their livelihood. Many countries today have economic barriers and thus, their citizens struggle to take advantage of the growing economy. People who are working towards development in different streams including technology and creativity deserve to be paid for their talent.

Such people who are working in providing services or research for different sectors can earn money in the form of cryptocurrency that can pay the true value of their worth regardless of the region they live in. Blockchain holds a potential to break down current barriers of AI development that could lead to more efficiency and greater openness with lower costs.

Making Technology Efficient

Blockchain technology surely provides higher level of security and transparency but in order to achieve this for each transaction or block, it uses mathematical calculations that use a lot of computational power. An example for this is the mining (a hashing algorithm), which is used to mine blocks on the popular blockchain Bitcoin. In order to mine blocks on the bitcoin blockchain, brute force approach is followed which requires trying all the combination of characters till the time one finds the one that is correct or verifiable.

Trying so many combinations takes up a lot of computing power. Blockchain powered by AI can solve this problem by using machine learning to solve problems in a better manner. Fed with the right training data, a machine learning algorithm would become better with problem solving as it solves more and more problems similar to a human being.

While blockchain and AI are both individually established technologies, they have the potential to exceed our expectations and enhance technological capabilities when combined together. Working as a team, these groundbreaking technologies could make revolutionary changes.

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