How Blockchain And AI Synergy Can Help Businesses Gain A Competitive Edge
There is no denying that two of the biggest drivers behind technical innovation today are blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI). In fact, it's predicted that by 2030, AI will be responsible for adding over US$15 trillion to the global economy. Within the same amount of time, blockchain will contribute $3.1 trillion to business valuations.
It's inevitable that their paths will cross as entrepreneurs seek innovative solutions to gain a competitive edge. The question is, what exactly can result from the synergy of these two powerhouse technologies?
Blockchain and AI can be blended to protect datasets
Without data, AI is useless. Algorithms rely on data to learn, make decisions, draw conclusions and deliver actionable insights. The more data AI has, the better its algorithms can function. This is why the collection, storage, and analysis of data is in high demand right now.
Blockchain technology also operationalizes data. However, instead of being dependent on it, blockchain serves as a distributed ledger on which data can be stored and encrypted. The result is a decentralized and secured database that is impervious to change.
In this age where many companies depend on their data centers in different geographical locations to offer the base for a large part of their business, the AI and blockchain combo can create secure, decentralized databases for the highly sensitive information that AI driven systems must collect and store. This can result in significant improvements in protection of:
- Medical and healthcare data
- Financial information
- Trade secrets
- Legal data
Once data is recorded on a blockchain network, AI algorithm can be granted permission to access it, but certain restrictions can be set for modifying existing data and adding new records.
The healthcare industry is finally coming to terms with big data analytics. The upside of this is the potential to deliver healthcare, more efficiently, and at a better price. Many companies are using AI to analyze data and better understand patient needs. For instance, a "smart" NLP (natural language processing) tool recently developed by Intermountain Healthcare can identify patients with high heart failure risk with a higher accuracy compared to human clinicians. The tool can operationalize and analyze data from 25+ different types of documents stored in the EHR and notify medical teams about patients that need additional attention.
The downside is that more people and entities are "touching' patient healthcare records than ever before, meaning that accidental disclosure or leaks become more common. If patient data is stored on blockchain ledgers, access is recorded and controlled. This increases customer confidence as they can see who is accessing their data and why.
Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) can stop AI monopolies before they start
AI is truly one of the most revolutionary technologies that has ever existed. The potential benefits of it can truly change the world for the better. Unfortunately, in the wrong hands, it is extraordinarily dangerous. Even Elon Musk agrees.
Now imagine if, as time goes by, the majority control of AI technologies comes under the hold of one or two corporations. Everyone else would be at the mercy of how those companies opted to use that technology, and integrating environmental, economic, and social factors in the evaluation of designs and operations might not be a priority for them, according to a Kettering University article. Innovators would have to ask for permission to use the technology with a single entity making all of the determinations.
But according to Ziqi Chen, CEO of Cortexlabs.ai, this is a concern that blockchain can easily solve. "With blockchain, AI can be decentralized. Each AI algorithm could become part of a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) ecosystem," Chen said. "Then, the users of that DAO, essentially members of the organization, will decide how that algorithm should be used. This stops single, larger businesses in using algorithms in ways that eliminate competition or manipulate the markets. This will allow startups and other small businesses to innovate using AI without being driven out of business or running into constant roadblocks."
Unbanked entrepreneurs will find it easier to do business
Opening a bank account, getting a loan, starting a business, receiving fiat payment, and earning a predictable amount of money are things many of us take for granted. Yes, they may be challenging, but they are certainly doable.
This isn't true for people in many parts of the world. As a result, they are effectively blocked from participating in the economy. Those that can must make it over significant hurdles. For many, it is an easier task to set up a cryptocurrency wallet. This allows workers to accept crowdsourced jobs and accept payment without worrying about exchange rates and difficulty creating a relationship with a traditional financial institution. As financial transactions are already recorded on blockchain, there is less chance of worker exploitation.
Blockchain and AI partner together for several purposes, each allowing businesses to gain a competitive edge. The combination allows those developing nations to participate in the modern economy that is largely created by these technologies, and protects them from potential exploitation. It levels the playing field and prevents any entity from gaining a monopoly over AI technology. Finally, it builds customer confidence when used to protect data.