Written by: RWFM
Last updated on: 6 Feb 2020
Artificial intelligence is used every day by businesses and consumers across the globe. Users remain enthusiastic about its capabilities and how it can improve revenue. While it hasn’t hit the mainstream yet, blockchain is being increasingly adopted by industries. These technologies have taken the industry by storm and are continuing to provide value in all areas across the business. It’s interesting to consider whether combining the two technologies would be double the value, or become counterproductive?
What is blockchain?
Blockchain is a distributed ledger that stores highly-encrypted digital information. Blockchain keeps records of digital transactions including the date, time cost and owner of each activity. Taking the form of data blocks along a chain, data is confidential and protected by witnesses with access permission. Over the last few years, businesses have begun to adopt blockchain within their everyday operations. Real-life use cases have outlined the capabilities and benefits of blockchain within technology, art and finance industries. This includes improved GDPR and security, proof of ownership and efficient transactions.
What is artificial intelligence?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the creation of machines that perform tasks intelligently as humans do. Machines using artificial intelligence have the power to react and mimic human actions intuitively. Everyday applications of AI are already in the mainstream, with inbuilt AI computer devices being the norm. Artificial intelligence is also assisting the productivity and efficiency of entire industries. The healthcare sector uses AI to dose patients and conduct treatments. The finance industry uses AI to detect fraudulent activity. AI is defined as weak or strong; its uses can be single-minded or solve complex problems.
How do they impact each other?
Blockchain and artificial intelligence might not come in contact day-to-day, but researchers predict the two technologies will unite soon. If combined, AI and blockchain can control immense amounts of data more efficiently and securely than humans. Its main use would be gathering data utilised by artificial intelligence and storing it securely on the blockchain. As blockchain is distributed across ledgers, it can host data used by other AI machines.
Some organisations already combine the two technologies. A company in America uses AI and blockchain to improve the transparency and efficiency of its supply chain. The company’s AI machines analyse crop growth patterns and blockchain records the supply chain from start to finish. A London-based organisation uses artificial intelligence and blockchain to verify artwork in real-time. Artists create a fraud-resistant certificate of authenticity that’s stored on the blockchain and prevent counterfeit copies being sold.
What are the benefits of combining AI and blockchain?
The benefits of blockchain and artificial intelligence as separate entities are obvious. So do these benefits increase when the two innovative technologies are combined? Here are three benefits of combining artificial intelligence and blockchain:
1. Highly-advanced data protection
Artificial intelligence relies on the input of data to run its operations. While humans don’t have to manually make AI function, we do have to give it the information needed to interpret and react. Much of this data is highly-sensitive, personal or business data that must be stored securely. As blockchain stores encrypted databases without one single access point, information can never be tampered with. Only AIs with permission to access the data and have undergone thorough procedures can use it for their own algorithms. This creates a network of highly-advanced data protection software that keeps our sensitive information secure.
2. Understand AI decision making
Artificial intelligence is becoming smarter every day through machine learning. This makes it difficult for us to understand how AI makes specific decisions and the process it takes to get there. The ability to store and process large amounts of data with many variables is way out of human capacity and difficult for us to comprehend. It remains important to audit these systems to ensure they’re performing for the right purpose using the correct data. Blockchain can record AI decisions action by action allowing us to analyse the breakdown of its processing. You have the confidence that data cannot be tampered with and has been recorded from start to finish. This degree of transparency builds trust between machines and humans.
3. Maximise the efficiency of operations
Human and standard computing is minimal compared to the speed at which AI operates. A large amount of processing power is needed to run a blockchain that has encrypted data stored inside. Artificial intelligence gives machines and devices the power to operate efficiently and intuitively. Rather than waiting for a data scientist to learn how to analyse and interpret data, a machine learning algorithm can refine its skills instantaneously. This way of working will increase the efficiency of machine learning and improve the accuracy of business operations.
The combination of artificial intelligence and blockchain is still an untapped area of exploration. Some businesses are leading the way in adopting the technologies in their everyday operations. The benefits of these disparate systems are clear, but when integrated, AI and blockchain have even more advantages. Data protection is enhanced, decision making becomes clear and efficiency is maximised. As the technologies continue to develop, it’s important to stay up to date with the challenges, not just the benefits, of these systems.
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