Blockchain and AI: What Happens When the Technologies Merge?

Blockchain and AI: What Happens When the Technologies Merge?

By Sudeep Srivastav
March 9, 2019 5 min read
Last update on: July 17, 2019

Blockchain technology is one of the driving forces in the world of innovation. It has revolutionized various industries, including Healthcare, Supply chain, Mobile app, Retail, Real Estate, and Finance by adding a layer of security and transparency into their processes. And on the way, it has become one of the moved loved technology by Entrepreneurs and their users.

Artificial Intelligence has also made a similar impression on the business world. The technology, in the form of Chatbot, has revamped the traditional businesses and upgraded the customer experience. It has established itself as a core part of every business – be it finance, travel, retail, healthcare, real estate, or mobile apps.

Both Blockchain and AI have set the foundation of a new business era in one way or the other. But have you ever wondered what will happen when the two technologies will converge? Will their coexistence fit into the industry world? Will they improve the economy or make it worse?

Before we dig deeper into how the fusion of two technologies will appear and how it will change the face of businesses, let’s have a quick glance at what importance does Blockchain and AI holds in the present market.

AI and Blockchain – A Brief Introduction

Artificial Intelligence is the technology that makes machines smart enough to mimic human intelligence and perform tasks on their own. The technology, with its impressive features, has brought a paradigm shift in the business world – making everyone understand why investing in Artificial Intelligence is the need of the hour.

Key Features of Artificial Intelligence

The technology is expected to continue making a major impact on the business market as shown by the following statistics:-

  1. The global market for Artificial Intelligence will be of worth $190 billion by 2025.
  2. By 2019, 40% of digital transformations will be done via AI.
  3. AI-enabled voice assistants will hit more than 4 billion devices across the globe by this year.
  4. Companies relying on AI data will take $1.2 trillion a year from non-insight driven firms by the year 2020.

Blockchain, in layman language, is a distributed ledger that stores all the transactions in nodes in transparent and secure manner. The technology, with its exciting characteristics, has disrupted the business world in numerous ways and made everyone interested in going through this digestible guide to Blockchain app development.

Key Features of Blockchain Technology

Blockchain has also demonstrated a wider future scope as depicted from the statistics:-

  1. According to IDC, $11.7B will be spent on Blockchain by the year 2022, with a compounding annual growth of 73.2%.
  2. 69% of banks across the globe are experimenting, and around 90% of North American Banks and European banks are investing in Blockchain development to make their processes seamless, secure and transparents.
  3. Banks and Finance firms are predicted to save around $8-12 B annually by embracing Blockchain.

While we have covered the basics of AI and Blockchain, let us bring Big Data in the mix too, to gain a better understanding of the relationship of the two disruptive technologies.

So, here we go.

The Trifecta Factor: AI, Big Data and Blockchain

Big Data prepares the ground for the advancement of both AI and Blockchain. It empowers businesses and app developers to accumulate a heap of data into structured components.

This data is further employed by AI-powered machines and applications to understand the user behavior and deliver personalized customer experience. Whereas, Blockchain relies on Big Data to get the analyzed data that can be stored in its distributed ledger and made accessible to people, depending on if it is on a public or private network.

With this, we have taken a quick recap of the basics of the disruptive technologies, let’s jump directly to how they complement each other – beginning with impact of AI on Blockchain industry.

How AI Can Change Blockchain System?

Though Blockchain has proven to be the finest technology in the marketplace to invest in, it also has some limitations. Artificial Intelligence, in this scenario, will emerge out as the right solution to make Blockchain a perfect evolution in the following ways:-

Role of AI in the Blockchain System

1. Better Data Management

Currently, Blockchain relies on hashing algorithms for data mining. These algorithms work with a ‘brute force’ approach where the algorithm strives to find every possible combination of characters until the one that goes with the verification process is found. This complicates the whole process and demands higher efforts.

Artificial intelligence can give an escape from this approach by providing a more intelligent approach which makes the data management process seamless.

2. Improved Energy Consumption

By improving the data mining system, Artificial Intelligence for Blockchain can help with streamlining the whole process. This will eventually help in cutting down the number of efforts and time invested in mining the data in the Blockchain sphere.

3. More Scalability

As the Blockchain scaling problem explained by Cointelegraph, the size of Blockchain is growing at a substantial pace of 1MB for every 10 minutes – with existing data be somewhere around 85MB. But, there’s no effective method currently in practice to deal with data optimization and elimination process.

Artificial Intelligence, in this scenario, can help by introducing an advanced decentralized learning system or a new data sharding technique that makes the system more efficient and open new ways for Entrepreneurs to look into Blockchain for startups and Enterprises.

4. Enhanced Efficiency

The speed and effectiveness of performing a P2P transaction in a Blockchain system costs around $600 million a year. And one of the reasons behind is that each node executes the same task on its own copy of data so as to be the first one to come up with a solution.

AI can improve this situation by providing an intelligent system that looks into which node is going to deliver the solution at the earliest and informing other nodes to shut down their efforts. This will eventually cut down the cost involved as well as upgrade the efficiency of the whole system.

5. Higher Security

Though Blockchain is known for its unbeatable security characteristics, the applications designed using the technology are not so secure. This is another sphere where AI can prove to be a requisite addition.

Artificial Intelligence can integrate natural language processing, image recognition, and multi-dimensional real-time data transformation capabilities into Blockchain peer-to-peer linking. This avails data miners with an option to turn a large-scale system into several micro-economic environments and optimize data transactions in a secure and effective manner. Above all, it adds flexibility to the process with the help of Machine learning intelligence.

6. New Data Gates

In the coming years, all the data will be stored on a Blockchain and the organizations will tend to directly buy them from the data holders. In a scenario like this, AI will help with providing an intelligent method of tracking data usage, granting access, and other such tasks. They will act as data gates from where the whole Blockchain data flow will be maintained.

Now, while these are some of the ways Artificial Intelligence can improve the Blockchain system, let’s head towards how blockchain can change AI world.

How Blockchain can Transform the AI World?

The technology behind Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies will also bring major changes into the Artificial Intelligence ecosystem in the following ways:-

Benefits of Blockchain in AI Environment

1. Better Transactions

Blockchain, with the help of Smart contracts and Consensus models, ensure that all the app data, customer details and that of financial transactions are immutable, publicly accessible and recorded in real-time. This guarantees data authenticity and accuracy, and eradicate the need for involving intermediaries, which eventually results in faster, secure and fair transactions.

2. High-Quality Data

By providing real-time patient data access, AI is transforming healthcare and various other business verticals. But, one challenge the AI-enabled apps and software are facing is that they have limited access to data. They often could not access data that is governed by some other entity. Besides, they find hard to look into data authentication. An outcome of which is low-quality data is considered many times to predict the results.

Blockchain, in this situation, provides a heap of data which is not owned by a single entity, is immutable and accessible to all. It also empowers the implementation of certain rules, data and analytics into compliance in a sequential and secure manner with the help of Smart contracts. This, as a whole, helps to gain high-quality data in real-time without compromising on data privacy and security compliances.

3. Decentralized Intelligence

As we covered in the last point, the existing AI-powered business models faces various issues due to centralization of data. This makes it difficult for an AI system to render the most accurate decisions.

Blockchain, in this context, can enable frictionless access to information that is shared and authenticated by all the stakeholders involved in the network. Besides, the consensus algorithm can ensure that the data written in the blockchain are not limited to any particular scenario and do not lose their credibility. Once it is proved, the AI system can go for a comprehensive study of the data, its behavior, study pattern, and much more to unveil the information never noticed before. These insights can further be used by deep learning algorithms to derive factually accurate decisions and make better predictions for the end customers.

4. Lower Market Entry Barriers

Apps and software designed using Artificial Intelligence suffer from various market barriers due to lack of authentication, involvement of intermediaries, risk of inaccuracy, monopoly ownership on data, etc. AI with Blockchain technology can lower down the ownership of a single entity, eliminate intermediary, assure that the data is secure, accurate and authenticated by the stakeholders involved.

In this way, it paves a way to enter the market at the earliest and in a profitable manner.

5. Greater Transparency

Blockchain technology will add transparency to the Artificial Intelligence system. It posts all the detailed involved in making a decision by AI machine on a blockchain, which is accessible in real-time. Whenever a decision goes wrong, the businesses can look into the blockchain to inspect what is the root cause of the failure or issues encountered and plan for a better strategy.

6. Improved Artificial Trust

AI is bringing a major impact on businesses, but it is still facing major challenges in terms of trustability. Blockchain, in this scenario, will ensure that a publicly accessible yet immutable public registry is maintained that will contain your data and related models in the form of a cryptographic digital signature. Every user can access the information authenticated and verified by smart contracts and consensus models in real-time. This, altogether, will eliminate the need for introducing intermediaries and eventually, upgrade the trustability into the AI ecosystem.

With this, we have seen the impact of AI on Blockchain and vice-versa. So let’s look into the next main part of the article, i.e, what are the advantages of the convergence of the technologies.

Benefits of Co-evolution of the Two Technologies

Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain, when treated as a single entity, will resolve various challenges and come up with a myriad of new opportunities. Some of these possibilities are:-

Advantages of Co-Evolution of the Two Technologies

1. Better Decision Making

The co-evolution of AI and Blockchain technology will also improve the decision-making process. On one side, AI algorithms will help to detect the frauds and risks associated with any transaction or app, on the other side Blockchain will assist in improving the accuracy of the data used for fraud prediction by AI algorithms with its simple and secure data auditing process.

2. Secured Personalized Experiences

The AI and Blockchain convergence will also enhance the personalized experience delivered to the customers. While AI will continue to work with highly sensitive personal data, Blockchain will ensure that the data remains immutable and secure using the best cryptography encryption technique. This will prevent the circumstances when AI fails to serve customers with the right personalized experience due to data violation done by data intruders or others.

In other words, Blockchain will offer security with encryption, while AI will provide more privacy to the end users in terms of their experience on platforms like Netflix and Amazon using the Blockchain-secured data.

3. Higher Trustability

Merging the two technologies will empower users to look into what and how their sensitive data is stored, managed, and employed without compromising on the privacy and security front. It will help them to audit every single step into the decision-making process, which will boost public trust.

4. Increased Accessibility

Blockchain and AI together will cut down the hassle associated with payment methods. While Blockchain-based cryptocurrencies will put the currency barrier to end and foster international trading, AI will improve the operational efficiency of the process, ensure higher security, and reduce the cost associated.

5. New Business Models

Another benefit of dual technologies is the introduction of newer business models. The Blockchain will provide frictionless access to the information of the complete business ecosystem, with all the stakeholders contributing immutable data without worrying about the ownership of the network. This will provide an AI system with the opportunity to get deeper insights from the patterns, behaviors and other factors related to the working of a business. And thus, deliver with more factually accurate decisions, or better say, newer business models.

6. Improved Smart Contracts

Smart contracts, as explained in our Smart Contract guide, are offering various perks like higher speed, minimum to zero disputes, improved data storage, etc. to the business world. But, their use is confined due to the sophistication of the program. AI, by integrating with Blockchain, will make it possible for smart contracts to encode and validate complex commercial relationships on a blockchain. Thus, improved smart contracts will come into existence. Besides, the self-executing contracts will provide different levels of quality based on the price changes managed by AI-based system.

With this now attended to, it’s time to dive deeper into the concept and determine what will be the impact of technology on your business.

Impact of AI-Blockchain Convergence on Industries

The applications of Blockchain and AI combination are almost similar in all the businesses. But, to ease the process, let’s check the impact of AI-Blockchain collaboration on all the industries individually.

1. Healthcare

Both Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain technology in Healthcare industry are offering new opportunities for both patients and healthcare service providers at their independent level. But when it comes to work altogether, the healthcare organizations and patients will experience the next level of services.

AI and Blockchain in Healthcare will offer the opportunity to safeguard the medical records against cyber attacks as well as access the data in a decentralized layer and give people ownership of their data, eliminate the monopolistics power of the top tech giants like Google and Apple, and empower patients to share their data with anyone on their own terms and receive personalized responses.

2. Retail

Integrating AI and Blockchain technologies will double the impact of AI in Retail business. It will empower the retailers to save the insights of their customers in immutable blocks and record the whole process so as to determine what factors were involved, if their marketing plan fails. Besides, it will enhance the payment process and eradicate the risk of frauds.

3. Supply Chain

Combining Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence will result into an all new world. The technologies, as a single unit, will help to optimize supply chain in a far secure and effective manner as well as offer better insights into what should go in the first place. This, in turn, will enhance the experience of everyone involved and result in higher business profits.

4. Finance

Integrating Blockchain with AI will also streamline the processes in Finance sector. While Blockchain will build trust into the industry in the form of Smart Contracts, AI will cut down the dependency on humans to understand human emotions and predicting the next step to be taken, which will eventually enhance the automation and performance level.

5. Government

Blockchain and AI together will revamp the definition of democracy. The technologies will transfer the control over data from big group of people to the whole public, while maintaining the security and quality of data.

Besides, the AI and Blockchain technologies will aid in tracing e-voting procedures and making them accessible to all the citizens in real-time.

While the world of coexistence of the two technologies is not yet explored completely, various companies have experimented upon using the AI + Blockchain into their processes.  So, let’s watch out which companies have implemented the AI-Blockchain convergence and how.

Use Cases of the AI-Blockchain Convergence

Some of the companies that have invested in the combination of AI and Blockchain to enhance their existing processes are:-

Companies Using AI-Blockchain Convergence

1. Engima

Enigma is serving with a data marketplace that empowers secure off-chain computation. This marketplace is designed with an aim to let companies share data that users can subscribe to and obtain via smart contracts.

2. Numerai

Numerai supplies crowdsource machine learning issues to data scientists and empower them to record their results into an AI-meta model for a short/long period of time and bet on the effectiveness of their proposed output/model. Once the turn period is over, they can check whose result is nearly correct and share the earning based on the terms and conditions pre-decided.

3. SingularityNET

SingularityNET collaborates AI and Blockchain to develop a decentralized open market for Artificial Intelligence where anyone can monetize AI. That implies anyone can buy and sell AI algorithms at a larger scale, and thus improve its capabilities. One of the popular use cases of SingularityNET is Sophia.

4. Computable Labs

Computable Labs is creating new Internet infrastructure for AI to get democratize access to data and algorithms and is striving to supply a Token Curated Registry (TCR) that act as a hub for buying/selling of data.

5. Ocean Protocol

Another use case of AI-Blockchain coevolution is Ocean Protocol. It is an ecosystem for data sharing and monetization that offers a tokenized service layer with an aim to provide safe, transparent and secure access to data, especially to AI-enabled entities.

6. Synapse AI

Synapse is employing the AI-Blockchain convergence to build a decentralized data and intelligence marketplace for trainers, researchers, processors, and contracts that can be approached in real-time programmatically.

As seen in the above Blockchain and AI use cases, the idea of integrating these technologies is attracting a vast number of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. However, the process of combining the two technologies is not as easy as it seems. There are various challenges associated with the convergence of Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain, about which we will cover in the next section.

Challenges Associated with the Integration of Blockchain and AI

When talking about integrating Blockchain and AI technologies, various challenges come into play, such as:-

  1. Blockchain technology is decentralized and its nodes are heterogeneous in nature. Because of this, if Blockchain is public and open-sourced, it will be difficult for AI outputs to come at a single point.
  2. The two technologies are poles apart and the concept of combining the two is still new. Because of this, a huge amount of time and money is required for exploring AI and Blockchain and look into similar grounds.
  3. Another challenge related to Blockchain integration with AI is Security. Blockchain is a publicly distributed, decentralized and securely encrypted database that serves AI with unlimited and reliable information. The technology is based on cryptography algorithms which make stealing of data a daunting task. But, in order to make AI make changes into the secured data and drive better predictions, it is crucial to decrypt the files first, which results in data hacking.
  4. The ecosystem implementing the convergence of the two technologies demand a higher computing power. For example, a single search on Google search engine will take around a trillion times more time to ensure security and progressiveness. This makes it tough to maintain the speed into the process.

So, here were some of the challenges that prevent companies to leverage the benefits of blending AI and Blockchain together. While you can discuss them with our Blockchain consultants via this simple contact form, let’s head towards what are the future holds for the collaboration of the two technologies.

If you consider Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain individually, both are proving to have a brighter future. On one side, the AI software market is expected to reach %59.8 billion by 2025, while on the other side, the global market for Blockchain is predicted to be of worth $3 trillion by 2024.

But when talking about the convergence of Blockchain and AI, the concept of combining the technologies is still in its nascent phase. The collaboration of these technologies has gained a fair share, but in the experimental phase only, which implies we still have to wait for a while to understand what opportunities the integration offers and how to embrace them

Sudeep Srivastav
Sudeep Srivastav
CEO, Appinventiv
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