Machine learning AI has been around since the 1950’s, it’s not a new technology infact its pretty old technology. But basically the idea has always been the same, we have some data sets/ input datasets and we have some objective i.e something that we want the AI to do eg:-
in this case, classify a car, is it a car? or is it not a car? So what is done is this AI is fed a bunch of images of cars, think of it like an excel spreadsheet with two columns, in column 1 you just have pictures of cars and in column 2 you just have labels, so the Idia is the AI learns the mapping/relationship between the input data and the output label, there is some relationship between everything there is a function in life for everything. The idea is that the human would have to extract all the features of what it means to be a car( this is what a car looks like, its shape etc) and is a very tiring process when extracting features by hand, once we extracted those features we would feed it to some kind of machine learning model and there are a lot out there. Eventually, these models would learn the mapping and if given a new car picture and it would know “this is a car”.
But a few years ago there was a scientist who said let me one specific learning model called a ” Neuro-Network” and feed it lots of data and lots of computing power and add a lot of deep layers a.k.a “deep learning”. What happened was when we did this, it started outperforming every other machine learning model and now Deep- Learning is the hottest topic in machine learning, it is outperforming everything else (Self-driving cars, drug discovery etc) Everything that we are hearing about A.I these days is coming from Deep -Learning.
BlockChain:- Now some years ago there was a programmer who nobody knows and went by probably a pseudo name “Satoshi Nakamoto” released a paper on a cryptography mailing list detailing a system called BitCoin, that allows two people to transmit value online without needing a third-party namely a bank. So what happens is instead of a bank being a third-party there are a group of people caller miners and anybody can become a miner, all you need is a laptop. The idea is that when I transmit value to someone from me, these miners have to approve these transactions. So ever miner has a copy of every transaction that has occurred in the network and they have to approve, whether or not this transaction is valid or not.
Now couldn’t someone just create a bunch of accounts and pose as the majority of the miners, as the majority of miners have to approve the transaction for it to be added to the list transaction? NO! Because Satoshi said that every single miner has to prove that they have solved some random mathematical problem called ” proof of work algorithm” and that means that you have to more computing power than the 500 fastest supercomputers in the world combined to have the majority of the computing power in the bitcoin network and because no one has that much computing power no one has been able to hack BitCoin. That’s why it has an over 100billion market cap more than the GDP of some countries and no one has been able to hack it, its been around for a decade now!
Now the really interesting part about BitCoin is not the application but the underlying Data structure of BitCoin –
The idea is, we have some list of transactions that all of the miners are holding and we group these transactions together into little groups that we call blocks and each block points to the next block becoming a chain of blocks a.k.a “BlockChain”. Because of the proof od wark algorithm, no one can modify it, so its an unalterable or immutable data structure in computer science terms that no one owns, this is a very powerful idea.
Let’s look at the Yin and the Yan of AI and BlockChain, these two technologies go very well together but no one has really put them together yet so this is a very futuristic concept –
The YIN is AI, AI is probabilistic its all about computing the likelihood that something will happen kind of the prediction of the future using what its learnt. An AI is always changing its updating it weights and learning about the future, basically an AI is a set of algorithms that guess at reality.
Now the Yang part is the BlockChain, they are not probabilistic infact they are deterministic, you know exactly what’s going to happen, they are permanents and unchangeable, they are algorithms and cryptography to record reality.
The Yin and the Yang or Artificial Intelligence and BlockChain can go really good together if you break them down to what they really are!
Today we live in a world where almost all of us use the above services daily and these services monetize and collect our data, that’s their essential business model. Now, this is a problem because our data is the most valuable thing we have and will become more valuable as everything is slowly automated, basically our data will be the only agency we have and our most valuable asset. So we need to own our data but right now we are giving it away for free in return for a free service from most of the above. Ideally, these services would be paying us for our data but that’s just not the case, we need to redo these apps and services, everything from FaceBook to eBay from lyft to uber etc. Morally speaking its a terrible idea to have some bunch of humans to control our data, in the case of FaceBook they modify the news feeds to affect large portions of the populace. Look at the 2016 elections too.
Technically speaking too, centralized systems are just not good. Take the case of self-driving cars- let’s say we got 3 self-driving cars at an intersection and they are trying to decide whi has the right of way, but if there was one central server that they all had to talk to a thousand miles away, it would take forever and there would probably be an accident. Ideally, if these cars could talk to each other without needing a third-party or central server this could be much easier and safer.
So technically speaking and morally speaking, creating decentralized applications is a really good idea and is what is being called by developers WEB 3.0. So you take AI and take BlockChain and merge them together creating apps that have never previously been possible and that’s the most exciting thing these days.
Now this leads us to an idea a very abstract idea but its starting to happen of what are called DAO: Decentralized Autonomous Organization:-
Also know as Dapp’s i.e Decentralized apps, Apps that are run and maintained by the community that uses them. Eg:- UBER, if I’m a rider and need a driver I need a third-party namely Uber in the example to find that driver, so Uber takes a cut of this.
In a DAO/Dapp environment, there would be no third party making cost cheaper for me and higher income for the driver. It’s not just about earning money, we would also earn equity and we would able to decide on the features of the app so it would end up being like a more democratic process, something like a community-owned grocery store.
So BlockChain and AI combine them together, use this immutable ledger and have an AI live on the BlockChain or at least speak to the BlockChain, with data being pointed some decentralized source.
Now it’s not all good, there are also some bad things that could emerge from the above idea –
What you are seeing above is a picture of art completely generated by AI, there is no human in the loop. Imagine an AI that just lives on a BlockChain and its job is to just generate art, so it creates art and sells it on some marketplace and repeats this and keeps amassing wealth and computing power with it, now no one can shut this down because it lives on a blockchain! So now eventually it becomes the wealthiest entity on the planet and is an unkillable AI. That’s scary.