Expert View: Applying Blockchain Tech to Artificial Intelligence

Distributed ledger technology may be successfully applied to develop artificial intelligence projects, thinks Dr. Maxim Orlovsky, Ukrainian complex systems and neuroscience expert.

Speaking at Blockchain Conference Kyiv on may 20, Maxim Orlovsky described the new trends in AI development that became possible after the emergence of new decentralized options for data exchange and storage.

“These days, two IT areas experience a revolution. It’s the blockchain technology that bitcoin had started, and artificial intelligence technology,” he said in his speech.

According to the expert, even though there’s seemingly nothing in common between the two technologies, major companies find an option for synergy. Thus, IBM recently announced it would merge its Cognitive Computing (Watson) subdivisions engaged in AI development and Internet of Things subdivisions that develop blockchain solutions for the IoT.

“The artificial intelligence found in Siri and personal assistants is a singular artificial intelligence. It’s an artificial intelligence based on technologies from 1950’s and 60’s that can now be commercialized due to the computational technology’s progress. However, that AI is far from human’s. Blockchain might become the technology enabling us to reinforce and transfer AI development on a completely different level.”

orlovsky

Dr. Maxim Orlovsky

ForkLog talked with Maxim about his vision of artificial intelligence’s evolution and applicability of blockchain technology in this area.

FL: Your speech intrigued us, so we’d like to ask you a few questions about the future of such technologies. Assuming from your presentation, we may think that existing incarnations of AI have reached their ceiling as they’re relatively isolated from each other. However, blockchain technology can surpass such limitations. How?

Maxim Orlovsky: In fact, it’s about two primary things: multiagent systems and blockchain. Multiagent systems create a competitive environment that may test different implementations of artificial intelligence in terms of their efficiency. However, such environment requires data exchanging, and such data have to be equally understood and interpreted by all members of the system, regardless of their individual differences and possible ‘conflict of interests’. In fact, it’s about the need for a consensus algorithm for interpreting some facts in a trustless multiagent system. Blockchain technology provides such algorithms. I believe, they may function like a language for data exchange between competing artificial intelligences.

FL: Does anyone apart from IBM work on such projects? What are current achievements in this area?

Maxim Orlovsky: Currently we’re at very different phases of this new industry combining AI and blockchain: there’s some interest for the problem, but there’s also an evident deficiency of development even in the form of prototypes. Thus, there are some scientific conferences discussing such technologies, some blockchain startup rebrand and change their field of activity (for instance, Skry Inc., formerly known as Coinalytics), there’s a discussion within the blockchain technologist community.

FL: How such breakthrough could be commercialized? What would the world be like after artificial intelligence is implemented with blockchain?

Maxim Orlovsky: I think it’s not about what the world would be like after AI is implemented with some technology, but about what it would be like after the very emergence of an artificial intelligence similar or higher than human’s. The technology is not that important, it’s just some technological approaches could bring us there earlier than some others. That’s the advantage of using blockchain, I think.

FL: When do you think regular people will become able to use the synergy of those developments?

Maxim Orlovsky: In modern times, it takes a few years to commercially release new technological developments, so the first products somehow combining AI and blockchain will emerge this decade. However, when it comes to more disruptive changes those two technologies can provide, we should take into account the need for a sufficient progress in other areas related to AI. I believe we need a combination of several factors: progress in computational power (possibly, using quantum processing units capable of higher parallelism), new coding paradigms, development of mathematical apparatus for multiagent systems with complex behavior, increase of internet channels’ throughput, better understanding of how our brain works and how consciousness functions, and many other things. Considering the fact that neural networks used in some of today’s products like Google RankBrain, Apple Siri, driverless cars, IBM Watson etc., have been developed in the 1950’s, and it took us sixty years to make their technologically and commercially possible, it will take us around 30 more years, considering Moore’s law, before the products we’re theorizing about now, will have entered mass markets.

FL: What other unusual applications of blockchains are worth consideration?

Maxim Orlovsky: I think many people have heard the fintech revolution that bitcoin had started will be followed by power industry revolution, where blockchain will play a crucial role. Ukraine has its own micro-revolution, and in some sense, we’re even ahead of the West: IDF Reforms Labs and Distributed Labs have launched eAuction.io which removes corruption factor from selling public property.

Apart from those things important today, there are decentralized organizations and smart contracts that would become of importance tomorrow. At Event Horizons, we believe that new forms of economic organization will soon emerge. They will be Decentralized Autonomous Economies built on smart contracts around markets, and will include both regular people and DAO’s and DAC’s, including those controlled by artificial intelligence.

About the expert: Maxim Orlovsky, Ph.D., MD, is neuroscience, neural networks, and computer science expert. He serves as Executive head at non-profit private research organization creating specialized forms of AI and cognitive architectures, BICA Labs being part of Event Horizons. He also co-founded IT company Qoderoom and fintech solutions provider BanQ Systems.

by Eugene Muratov