Blockchain and AI are probably two of today’s hottest technologies. The potential use cases of Artificial Intelligence are both intriguing and exciting, and the same certainly goes for blockchain. Combining the two may seem like a buzzword marketing dream, but the two technologies actually go impressively well together, as explored in this previous article.
Blockchains can provide an excellent backbone for the development of AI algorithms. It can secure the data input for AI, make it possible to observe every step taking by an AI for its learning and decision making process and create data marketplaces, vastly reducing the cost of AI.
On the other hand, AI technology can be used to continuously improve blockchains. The combination of AI and blockchain is slowly taking off, however, only a few projects in both spaces are devoted to combining the two emerging technologies.
In this article, we present the most promising projects that do just that.
This is the leading project when it comes to combining AI and blockchain, both in terms of market cap and project awareness. Founded by Dr. Ben Goertzel, its ICO raised $36 million within 60 seconds. Goertzel has become an established name in the field of AI due to his numerous advisory roles in AI-related research organs. He is also a chief scientist of Aidyia Holdings and Hanson Robotics. The latter really put Goertzel’s name on the map, due to his involvement in the creation of the robot Sophia, the world’s first robot to be granted citizenship.
If Hanson Robotic’s vision “we make robots come alive” isn’t sci-fi enough for you already, SingularityNET will be. With his blockchain startup, Dr. Goertzel wants to create an AI-focused blockchain to power Sophia’s brain. Through SingularityNET, the whole world can improve the brain of robot Sophia and other robots to come.
As Goertzel said:
We can’t hire all these [AI] enthusiasts, but we can give them an easy way to contribute to Sophia’s mind.
In this video you can check out the introduction of SingularityNET, presented by Dr. Goertzel and Sophia the robot. Scary? Yup. Mind-blowing? Totally.
In order to reach this goal, SingularityNET wants to create a decentralized AI marketplace. In this marketplace, companies and individuals alike will be able to buy and sell data and AI algorithms at scale. There won’t be a central party that decides what algorithms will be available for trade, and anyone can sell AI algorithms they’ve created.
Moreover, this marketplace will open up the AI marketplace for smaller players. Right now, the barrier of entry to the AI industry is very high because of the exorbitant high costs of creating and developing AI. With SingularityNET’s opportunity to sell algorithms and data, that will change. There will also be a reputation mechanism integrated into the platform, making quality assurance possible.
DeepBrain Chain (DBC) was one of the first ICOs on the NEO blockchain. Essentially, this blockchain application is a computing platform created to support the creation of AI algorithms. The barriers of entry to the AI industry are high due to the high cost of making AI computations, and the team behind the DeepBrain Chain platform aspire to lower the cost of these computations by as much as 70%.
The DBC platform presents itself as a decentralized neural network. A neural network is a commonly used term in both human physiology and AI describing the complex system of simple processing elements that can obtain, store, and employ data. When talking about AI and DBC, this comes down to the nodes of the DBC network that supply the computational power for AI. In return for this computational power, nodes are rewarded DBC tokens.
Besides supplying the computational power needed to power and develop AI, the DBC platform will also offer a secure data trading platform. Anyone is allowed to buy and sell data on the marketplace which offers strong security. The use of blockchain technology prevents data leakage, reselling, data ownership and data usage rights.
On March 16, the DBC Foundation announced a 40 million DBC token buyback. The given reasons for this are the Foundation’s belief that DBC is undervalued at the moment and as a signal of their confidence in the potential and quality of their project. This news followed an earlier announcement of extending the lock-up period, which means that no new DBC tokens will be released to the market.
Numerai is a blockchain-powered, AI-coordinated hedge fund. Even though most hedge funds are already managed by AI, none of them use blockchain technology. This is not the only way in which Numerai is unique, though. Through the use of blockchain, Numerai allows data scientists from all over the world to submit predictions based on machine learning models to improve the AI that manages the hedge fund. Thus, the hedge fund is managed by AI, which is steered by the contributions of Numerai’s network participants.
To promote a frequent and consistent influx of predictions, the Numerai platform hosts a weekly competition for data scientists. Through this competition, Numerai users submit their prediction models. In order to express confidence in their models, participants can stake Numeraire (NMR) tokens on their own prediction models. When the model is approved, the staked tokens and a number of NMR based on the accuracy of the submitted model are sent to the contributor. If a model proves to be inaccurate, the staked tokens are not returned. Through this model, high quality of prediction models is incentivized.
Moreover, the Numerai dynamics are designed in such a way that human biases and overfitting issues are overcome. Because Numerai abstracts its financial data, the participants in the competitions don’t know what the data actually represents, which tackles the above mentioned issues that occur frequently in traditional hedge funds.
Another key feature of Numerai is that through its platform dynamics, data scientists from all over the world have access to data that is otherwise inaccessible. With Numerai’s platform model, the prediction models are based on a collective and decentralized input, something which hasn’t been done before. This can create unmatched, accurate predictions models which are used by the AI to run the hedge fund, giving the fund the potential to be incredibly accurate.
Matrix AI Network
Matrix is an open-source, intelligent blockchain platform. The Matrix platform will support smart contracts and machine learning services. The infrastructure of the platform has been designed and built with the help of AI techniques, and AI will be continuously used to improve the platform using autonomous self-optimization of its blockchain networks.
The Matrix platform revolutionizes the user experience when it comes to smart contract execution by making this process faster, easier, more secure, and highly flexible. Additionally, the platform will employ functionalities that will allow the mining power of the Matrix network to be used for AI computations. Through this, complex and costly AI algorithms can be solved by the network.
Even more impressive is the natural language smart contract creator that Matrix has been building. This highly innovative feature makes it possible for anyone to create and deploy smart contracts in their natural language (i.e. English, Spanish, Chinese, etc.). This will provide the opportunity of using smart contracts to anyone, making it possible to use them for anything from making a traveling budget to drawing up a simple transfer of ownership agreements. And this function isn’t just hypothetical, as the team has already demonstrated that the Chinese natural language implementation is operational.
Additionally, the Matrix platform is involved in one of China’s biggest infrastructure projects ever, the Belt and Road initiative. The project is creating infrastructure to increase the efficiency of transportation between China, Russia, Europe, and Africa by building a new land and sea route between these regions. The cost of the project is estimated to be around $900 billion and is an incredible push towards the globalization of the Chinese economy.
The Matrix AI network will have its own blockchain, the Matrix mainnet. The team behind the platform is planning to launch this mainnet in Q3 2018. In the meantime, demos and beta versions of their services are expected to run on the Ethereum blockchain. So for now, the Matrix token MAN is an ERC-20 token. But as soon as the mainnet is launched, Matrix will have it own native cryptocurrency. MAN will be distributed to node owners and miners, for running applications and for using AI services.
The above companies all combine blockchain and Artificial Intelligence, but do so in very different ways. However, there are some overlaps that indicate the incredible opportunities that lie in mixing the two technologies, such as a decentralized AI marketplace, decentralized intelligence, building AI algorithms through decentralization and blockchains operated by AI.
Even though these projects seem to come from sci-fi stories, the serious services and developments of these projects stand as proof that the future is here. If you’re looking for an exciting investment opportunity with the potential for a ton of growth, these futuristic projects are definitely worth a closer look.