November 22, 2019
For several years, both artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies have created a loud buzz in the technology community. Both of these technologies have been incorporated into our daily lives, through applications such as cryptocurrency, chatbots, personal assistance, and robotics.
With the maturity of these technologies, their convergence seems to hold the next significant promise for the tech world. AI and blockchain together can add efficiency to autonomous cars, or they can help in bitcoin mining. The combination can also add more security, flexibility, autonomy, and profitability to robotic operations. When it comes to accomplishing challenging tasks by combining multiple robotic systems, blockchain technology comes as the ultimate aid.
A quick blockchain primer
Blockchain is the distributed database technology that made a massive impact on several industries, including the banking and financial sector, health care, retail, property and real estate, among others.
Some of the critical advantages of blockchain include the following:
- A blockchain database is fully tamper-proof and immutable;
- It offers a highly decentralized database;
- It allows data access through a distributed ledger system;
- Blockchain ensures optimum data transparency;
- It provides optimum security and privacy of data.
Despite the promises and advantages of blockchain, several challenges remain for utilizing in a modern business model:
- Blockchain with a decentralized database can cause challenges to existing systems, which can lead to performance issues;
- Interoperability with existing systems and databases are a concern;
- Deployment can be very expensive and cost inductive;
- Legal concerns and complications around compliance and regulations.
About artificial intelligence
AI technology aims to mimic human intelligence or provide a rational way of approaching things to make various decisions and perform tasks on their own. The intelligence of machines that offer cognitive ability to perform tasks has brought a paradigm-shifting approach in the business world.
Key features of AI include the following:
- Enhanced data management capabilities;
- Personalization of data;
- Data-centric predictive analysis;
- Minimizing of development errors;
- Real-time or instant assistance;
- Data mining.
Despite the hype around AI, some key challenges prevent businesses from widespread AI deployment. These challenges include:
- Absence of computing or data processing power required for an AI implementation;
- Lack of talent to work on AI projects;
- Lack of trustworthiness on AI results.
Swarm robotics, blockchain, and AI
Swarm robotics is seen as an area where the combination of blockchain and AI can benefit the technology. The field consists of several physical robots working together in a “swarm” to perform tasks or operations. In this field, each robot is AI-powered to interact with the surrounding environment by following preset rules. When these robots are connected, their collective behavior and interactive capability becomes robust and highly scalable.
This technology is increasingly being used for medical transport, precision farming, and entertainment industry applications. Despite the growing popularity, security for these large applications is a constant matter of concern. But the complex maze of information and complicated characteristics of swarm robotics make security a crucial challenge. This can be an area where blockchain technology offers a credible solution.
By using advanced encryption techniques such as cryptographic digital signatures and cryptographically secure public-key cryptography, blockchain provides optimum security for data across shared channels. Accessibility of the information is controlled by the specific private key available to a robot. While AI-powered robotics emerged as a forefront technology, blockchain empowers robotics with an optimum security solution.
How AI creates value for blockchain
To understand the role of the intersecting role of AI and blockchain in the field of robotics, we must also understand the value offered by these technologies. Many of the challenges for blockchain can be addressed by AI in various ways, including:
- Saving energy: Data mining requires immense computing energy, and AI can be highly effective in keeping a check on energy consumption.
- Scalability: The scalability of blockchain can be utilized by AI to make way for decentralized learning and other processes.
- Optimizing security: Although blockchain is highly secure and tamper-proof, machine learning and deep learning technologies can make apps even more secure by running alongside blockchain.
- Efficiency: AI can provide an efficient utilization of resources to minimize the costs associated with blockchain.
- Hardware: Data miners using blockchain technology continues to make the continuous investment on the hardware front. This is especially aggravated through the use of specialized hardware components. AI can play a tremendous role in procuring more efficient systems and capabilities.
- Meeting talent needs: There are still very few experts and professionals working in the space of blockchain technology. As the talent gap grows and the demand for blockchain implementation steadily increases, AI-powered virtual agents can play an instrumental role in tasks, such as creating new ledgers on their own.
- Data screening: While the increasing volume of data put into blockchain use always makes personal data and privacy vulnerable, AI-powered data screening and data gates can help monitor access to private data.
How blockchain adds value to AI
Blockchain can also add value to AI implementations. With a decentralized ledger system, blockchain can play an important role in augmenting an AI system, including:
- Explaining AI decisions: AI-based solutions often cannot explain the rationale behind reaching a decision or taking a course of action. A blockchain database that holds the data records can help explain the build-up of the rationale.
- Enhancing AI efficiency: By securing the shared data streaming, blockchain can help shape more efficient data models, data-centric actions, and data-driven insights.
- A data marketplace for all: The decentralized database system that holds together multifaceted data from all sources in a transparent, easily accessible, and secure manner can make way for a data marketplace that can be accessed by everyone, including smaller businesses. The increasing volume of data from AI-powered systems with this democratization of the database will give more data power to organizations and individuals.
- Minimizing catastrophic risks: From weather reports to military data, to the mission-critical data about certain activities, many are looking to blockchain for secure access. AI coupled with blockchain can further secure mission-critical data to provide alerts about any impending catastrophes.
The promise of the united power of blockchain and AI in the field of robotics is impressive, but many experiments will need to occur in the years to come before we see its full effect on swarm robotics and other advanced technologies.