How Merging AI with Blockchain Can Create a More Secure Environment For Data-sharing

Photo by Alex Moiseev on Unsplash

I. Problem

Almost 30 years ago we saw the rise of the internet that changed our lives forever. We use it to share pictures, music, movies, our daily life with all around us. We do shopping, business, and banking online.

We started to exchange valuable data. Data became powerful. But all these data is now controlled and stored by a handful of powerful companies. They use, explore, and store our behavior on the web. What we search, what we read, what we buy, and with whom we network. How we make decisions and how we exchange value.

And when we do financial transactions, not only vendors but also banks and third parties like payment processors begin to collect our data. We have given
away our data for free. We don’t own and control it anymore, and they sell it.

People have no more privacy and full control over their assets and money. We see the asymmetrical use of power by behemoths. And with the loss of control over our data and privacy, we also see the rise of cybercrime, hacking,
phishing, stealing of intellectual property, data and passwords, and the spreading of fake news for political gain.

People have lost control over their data privacy.

It’s estimated that the economic cost of cybercrime exceeded $600 billion / year globally in 2017! And experts say that in 2021 cybercrime may cost $ 6 trillion.

II. Blockchain

A new technology named Blockchain promised more transparency, enhanced security, efficiency, speed, and reduced costs. The first Blockchain — Bitcoin — entered the public after the financial crisis of 2008.

More than 10 years later, we saw almost 1,500 new projects pretending to be more sophisticated, secure, or faster. I have to admit, many great projects have sprouted from this money-grabbing boom. With no doubt, value has been created and a whole new field has risen because of this enormous interest.

However, the current state of blockchain is still depressing. There are too many different protocols and exchanges that are not interchangeable making mass-adoption of cryptocurrency and blockchains very difficult.

For example, ERC-20 created coins can only be used and traded on Ethereum-based platforms and exchanges. And most protocols have their own exchanges and wallets that only accept their coins.

Banking, investing, trading or doing business on the Blockchains are still very complicated for a lot of users, even for the seasoned crypto-community and investors. It’s not user-friendly. For example, you have to create multiple accounts on different crypto-platforms, open Metamask, etc. to buy tokens. This is very inefficient and will never create mass adoption.

The current blockchain complexity will never create mass adoption.

Not to mention that the European Union enacted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), designed to protect the data of those living in the EU. The GDPR mandates individuals to have full access and control over the use and maintenance of their own data.

This means that the GDPR clashes directly with blockchain because of its immutable nature, while both have the same goals: the protection of data.

III. Artificial Intelligence Combined With Blockchain

The recent importance of data has fuelled blockchain’s advancement as distributed ledger technology offers an alternative way of storing data immutable and secure. In addition to this, the need for more advanced analytics has both grown the fields of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data.

Both blockchain and AI are able to effect and enact upon data in a different way, making it a golden combination. This combination can bring data insights to a whole new level, providing deeper and more accurate insights. Blockchain is especially useful to act as an access layer and offer the required performance needs for AI to be able to process data.

AI and Blockchain have the power to ignite a whole new way of doing business.

Trustful Data Sharing w/ Ocean Protocol

Ocean Protocol is a decentralized data exchange protocol that unlocks data for AI and other applications.

Currently, it is sometimes not easy for researches to acquire a large data set relevant for their research. Most common issues include:

  • Limited access to data.
  • Companies don’t want to share data publicly as they are afraid of losing their competitive advantage and losing control over their data.
  • Most companies/governments are subject to have regulations like GDPR etc.

Ocean has used the power of blockchain and AI in a clever combination. They see blockchain as the access layer controlling access to data and AI helps researchers run algorithms on the data without revealing any information.

Private data owners now have the power to gain the benefits of offering their data to researchers in a secure way. This allows researches to train their models in a decentralized fashion.

To get more in detail, Ocean is able to minimize the trust needed between the data owner and researcher by using data silos. The researcher is not able to extract any data from it but can run its algorithm inside of this silo. Blockchain keeps track of the usage of the data to come up with an according pricing based on the usage.

Ocean unlocks the value in private data, while addressing privacy and data escape concerns.

Democratize AI models w/ SingularityNET

From the Singularity website, this is how they summarize their product, “Rather than relying on big companies to get access to machine learning models, it’s important to have models under the user’s control. SingularityNET lets anyone create, share, and monetize AI services at scale via their marketplace.”

We can find a gap between researchers developing AI models and businesses that actually want to implement them. The developed AI models are often too theoretical or only fit a specific use case meaning that businesses are left out if they want a customized solution.

SingularityNET wants to simplify the process of developing AI tools and offering them to businesses via a marketplace. This way, they try to bridge the gap between AI and real business needs.

The blockchain part of this story is again used to protect the data that is used in these AI models but also to protect researchers who develop custom AI solutions and decide to sell them. Blockchain makes sure the researcher remains the owner of the model and businesses can pay him to use the model.

The cool thing here is that SingularityNET offers a full AI network on which these models can be run. In this way, there is no need for large and expensive setups, but normal people and small businesses can harvest the power of efficient AI models via this project.

What’s Next?

Not only blockchain and AI are in need of large computing power, but many other emerging technologies like big data will need this now or in the future. This trend can also be acknowledged by looking at the increasing amount of global computing power consumption (stats by datacenterdynamics.com).

Blockchain can facilitate this need for more computational power and therefore this opens up many collaborations with emerging technologies like AI or machine learning.

There is no way around that Decentralized Intelligence will play a big role in our future lives.


How Merging AI with Blockchain Can Create a More Secure Environment For Data-sharing was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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