It seems that every few years or so, new technologies enter the hype cycle and are touted as the next big game changer. Around 10 years ago it was 3D printing. Then, with the creation of Bitcoin, hype emerged regarding the underlying blockchain technology.
Now, artificial intelligence (AI) has taken some of that spotlight and has joined the hype train. Blockchain and artificial intelligence could connect the world of the future through the Internet of Things.
It is argued that we are currently in the midst of a fourth Industrial Revolution thanks to the advances in technology. Blockchain is just one part of this, and so is artificial intelligence. AI arguably has the potential to remove the necessity for many of the jobs in today’s society. Such arguments have been made by both left-wing and right-wing commentators such as David Graeber and his “bullsh*t jobs” argument.
Dr Ben Goertzel, CEO of SingularityNET, recently spoke to my colleague Jordan Heal, and much of what they discussed regarding AI has many crossovers with blockchain technology, namely decentralisation.
Goertzel stated SingularityNET “should be a decentralised protocol owned by everyone and no-one”. This follows a similar ideology to blockchains. If a blockchain is centralised, then the use case is null and void.
Blockchain is sometimes referred to as a slow, inefficient database. While this has an element of truth, there are many projects that are attempting to harness blockchain for economic means such as Bitcoin, and others that store data on the blockchain. Two projects with such aims include Siacoin and Storj.
With centralised entities storing their data on a database, there is always the risk of being hacked no matter how high quality your security is. Run a search on Google for data breaches and you’ll see many large companies have been affected with personal data being leaked.
By storing this data on a blockchain, it should be theoretically possible to discourage attackers as blockchains prove much harder to hack provided they have enough hashing power. Under a decentralised storage system, AI could then analyse the data, thereby improving its own knowledge for the benefit of us.
Currently, having so much data stored on a database benefits companies such as Facebook who can then use that data to build a picture of its users to target them with advertising.
Both blockchain and artificial intelligence can have anarchist underpinnings of decentralisation, returning power to the community instead of a centralised corporation.
Blockchain and artificial intelligence – A new paradigm?
Should AI truly take hold as Dr Ben Goertzel argues, then with many jobs becoming obsolete, it may necessitate a new economic paradigm and a change of mentality from both the state and its citizens. Whether Bitcoin or blockchain technology can be helpful in this regard is still being debated today.
Commentator and podcaster Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano has recently argued that Bitcoin could help solve the inequality that is currently prevalent in the United States. Were Graeber’s and Goertzel’s ideas to come to fruition, with the job market losing so many jobs, this income equality could be heightened. Pomp argues that Bitcoin can solve this issue.
New technologies bring with them a lot of hype and promise, but it is possible for them to change the way human society functions. The computer changed the way we work and led to the creation of the internet, which allowed us all to become more connected, for good and for bad. Mobile phones have only added to this sense of connectedness. It is clear that new technologies can be revolutionary.
Despite both blockchain and AI being talked about as possible game changers, it is too early to guarantee this. Until we can verify their use case through real-world applications, we cannot trust those that are promising us the world.
With that being said, both blockchain and AI seem to be entering an almost symbiotic partnership of decentralisation, attempting to revolutionise the way that we as citizens will interact with our governments, each other, and the world.