AI and Blockchain-Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a market is full of hype, with vendors, customers, and press all speaking breathlessly about the capabilities for AI in general and their offerings specifically. Likewise, blockchain is also a widely hyped market, with technology providers and customers claiming all sorts of capabilities that may or may not be possible. Combining AI and blockchain then must be double the hype? On the other hand, AI is providing real, tangible value in many myriad ways we talk about every day. Likewise, blockchain is starting to show value across a range of applications and industry. So, perhaps combining AI and blockchain will also show twice the value combined together.
The role of blockchain in the context of AI
Blockchain is a decentralized, distributed ledger of transactions that has elements of transparency, trust, verifiability, and something called smart contracts. Decentralized and distributed means that information that is stored across the network in such a way that each end point has access to the data without requiring access to a central server. The network is also distributed because the transactions happen at each end point without requiring centralized coordination. A ledger is a record of transactions. Blockchain records a ledger of interactions between two separate parties whether it be a financial exchange or even a chain of custody showing when things have changed hands over time.
Since every block in the blockchain contains a different piece of information that is encrypted or encoded, the blockchain can help guarantee trust and verifiability of data. The concept of the chain and block in blockchain is that each block has its own information and that information contains a link to the block before it, which develop the chain and provides a verifiable chain of custody. No individual actor can change the information in a block without invalidating the entire chain of information in a particular block and thus messing up the chain. Since the chain is distributed in myriad of other places and between other parties, to make changes to the chain, a consensus of all the parties would need to agree to the changes being made.