What is artificial intelligence (AI)?
Artificial intelligence is the ability of computer programs to learn by themselves. It can also be called the science and engineering of intelligent computer programs. These algorithms can understand instructions without human instructions and use large amounts of data to solve problems. Artificial intelligence programs analyze external input data, learn from it, and use this knowledge to perform tasks to achieve specific goals.
Essentially, there are two types of AI: Weak AI and Strong AI.
Weak AI targets specific or limited tasks, such as facial recognition, spam filtering, or playing chess. Strong AI, on the other hand, is capable of handling a wide variety of tasks rather than specific activities. It may have human-level cognitive abilities and be able to perform any intelligent task that a human can perform. Today, weak artificial intelligence has appeared, but strong artificial intelligence has not yet appeared. In fact, many experts also question the possibility of strong artificial intelligence.
We are currently unable to predict the potential impact of strong artificial intelligence, and many people believe that blockchain and artificial intelligence may be used together in the future. One might argue that they will be among the most important technologies of the coming decades.
Therefore, it is important to take a closer look at how the two technologies might be combined in the future.
The Synergy of AI and Blockchain
Artificial Intelligence Can Boost Blockchain Capabilities
Mining requires a lot of computing power and resources. Distributed ledgers sacrifice operational efficiency in order to achieve features such as immutability and censorship resistance. Artificial intelligence can optimize energy consumption very effectively, which is very effective for improving mining algorithms.
One of the main arguments against using blockchain systems is the extremely high energy waste of blockchains. The cryptoeconomics and security inherent in blockchain technology introduce computational tasks that otherwise would be useless. Reducing the consumption of proof-of-work blockchains will benefit the industry as a whole and may facilitate the mainstream adoption of blockchains.
AI can also optimize the storage needs of the blockchain. Since the transaction history is stored in all nodes , the capacity of the distributed ledger can grow rapidly. If storage requirements are high, the barrier to entry will be higher, which may reduce the distribution of the network. AI can introduce new database sharding techniques that allow blockchains to be smaller in size and store data in them more efficiently.
Decentralized Data Economy
Data is an increasingly valuable asset that not only needs to be stored securely, but also exchanged. Effective AI systems rely heavily on data, and blockchain happens to store data with a high degree of reliability.
A blockchain is essentially a secure, distributed database shared by all participants in the network. Its data is stored in blocks , and each block is cryptographically linked to the previous block. This makes it difficult for an attacker to modify the information stored in the blockchain in some way (such as through a 51% attack ) without changing the consensus of the network .
Decentralized data exchange is a new digital economy built on the blockchain. These transactions will allow anyone (or anything) to easily and securely access data and storage. In connecting to this digital economy, AI algorithms can use a larger set of external inputs and learn faster. On top of that, the algorithms themselves can also trade in these markets. This will make them more accessible to a wider audience and can speed up their development.
Decentralized data exchanges could revolutionize the data storage space. Essentially, anyone can rent their local storage for a fee (paid in tokens). On the other hand, existing data storage service providers will have to improve their services to remain competitive.
Although some of these data marketplaces are in the early stages of maturity, they are up and running. AI systems would benefit greatly by incentivizing data and storage providers to maintain high data integrity.
Training AI requires not only algorithms that can learn from medium to high-quality data, but also massive computing resources. AI algorithms typically use a type of computing system called an artificial neural network (ANN). An artificial neural network learns to perform a task by considering many examples. These artificial neural networks typically require massive amounts of computing power to process millions of parameters and perform specified tasks.
If data can be shared on a blockchain network, why can’t computing power be shared? In some blockchain applications, users can effectively lease a computer’s computing power in a peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace to those seeking to perform complex calculations. Users are incentivized to increase computing power by acquiring tokens.
AI systems can be trained more efficiently and at lower cost on these computing platforms. Although the early examples were mainly for rendering 3D computer graphics, they will also slowly move to the field of artificial intelligence.
As these decentralized applications (DApps) grow, a large number of companies providing computing resources may form competition. By allowing users to rent out idle computing resources to earn income, large amounts of computing power can be used more efficiently. In theory, when not in use, every CPU or GPU in the world could work as a node in a decentralized supercomputer .
AI Enables Better Decision-Making and Auditability
Decisions made by AI systems can be difficult for humans to understand. These algorithms can process huge amounts of data, so that their decision-making process can be audited and replicated by almost no one.
If decisions are made based on each data point record, there will be a clear audit trail for human review, which can increase trust in the decisions made by AI algorithms.
If these two technologies are able to live up to their respective potentials, they will undoubtedly have a lasting impact. While many companies leverage both technologies independently, there are some interesting cases where they are combined.
Further innovations may be discovered as both technologies develop further, utilizing both blockchain technology and artificial intelligence. The potential outcomes are difficult to assess, but what is certain is that they lead to improvements in many aspects of our economic system.
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