What happens when two of the most innovative and popular emerging technologies meet? If you expect sparks, you’re right.
Think of two celebrities that you find incredibly attractive. Now imagine them get together for a possible casting opportunity. How do you picture that encounter in your mind? The same level of heat is produced when AI and Blockchain share the same space. For emerging tech lovers, it can’t get more exciting than this. This is not simply because of the hype, fanbase and momentum each carries; it’s thanks to the real, tangible and profound impact one can have through the other. Far down the line? Not so, really. We may not have to imagine this convergence for much longer. Actually, it is already happening in the physical reality. Some notable examples of companies trailblazing this futuristic integration include: Vytalyx, a healthtech company using AI to give healthcare professionals blockchain-based access to medical intelligence and insights; Gainfy, a healthcare platform that employs blockchain, AI and IoT devices to improve the industry experience; Figure, founded by Mike Cagney (founder of SoFi) which uses blockchain and AI to streamline the home loan process; and, Home Lending Pal, an AI-based platform that allows users to select their lender and that stores all user information on the blockchain to ensure data security. If interested, many more companies are listed on Built In.
Clearly, as the world becomes increasingly and exponentially digitized, AI and blockchain are meeting at the forefront of change in various industries. To better frame depth and breadth of the topic, the global blockchain technology market size was valued at $10.02 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 87.7% from 2023 to 2030 (source: Grand View Research), while the global artificial intelligence market size was valued at $136.55 billion in 2022 and is projected to expand at a CAGR of 37.3% in the same period (source: Grand View Research). Although these technologies are often addressed in separate conversations, we shall not be oblivious to the fact that when their capabilities entangle, they can create a powerful synergy that could transform industries such as healthcare, financial services, and more. In this article, we will explore how AI and blockchain are working together to pave a new future, highlighting possible meeting points and practical use case scenarios.
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of how these two technologies can work together, let’s take a brief look at what AI and blockchain are. AI is a branch of computer science that focuses on creating intelligent machines. Their virtue is the ability to perform tasks quickly and correctly. The same endeavors would take human intelligence infinitely much longer, for instance. To be precise, the newest commercialized artificial neurons can fire up to one billion times per second, “several orders of magnitude faster than human neurons” (source: The Healthy Journal). Some of the capabilities include speech recognition, language de-codification, visual senses, and in some cases independent decision-making skills. Although not the same as machine learning, AI falls into the same broader category. They both thrive off large amounts of data transformed into algorithms that enable machines to learn and gradually improve their performance.
Blockchain, on the other hand, plays a totally different game. This technology is most notably known and referred to in relation to cryptocurrencies but its applications go well beyond this border. It is a decentralized and distributed digital ledger that records transactions securely and transparently. It also provides solid protection against data tempering or deletion, by using cryptographic techniques to ensure the authenticity of the records. At first glance, it may seem like AI and blockchain are distant entities proceeding on separate tracks. That’s quite factual, overall. They are distinct and serve a different mission. But who says they can’t unite their purpose, by leveraging each other’s strengths and solving possible weaknesses?
Privacy and accuracy are the main aspects that can be strengthened by this newly formed team. As mentioned above, AI relies heavily on data to train its algorithms, but if the data is not vetted, authenticated and trustworthy, we face a big issue — possibly as big as the size of our entire society, since collectively we are more and more relying on these tools. Blockchain can provide the necessary infrastructure to ensure the data used by AI is validated and truthful. The immutability aspect, primarily based on the consensus mechanism, is key as it makes the data more trustworthy, which in turn improves the quality of the outputs generated by AI.
Last but not least, there is a profitability upside when it comes to using AI in connection with blockchain. New business models and revenue channels can indeed emerge from this mingling. For example, blockchain provides a reliable transaction record, while AI is best suited to analyze vast data-sets. Through this technological joint venture, businesses can gain insights into customer behavior and preferences, and tailor more fitting and personalized experiences that stimulate customer retention, all in a more cyber secure manner.
One industry that could benefit greatly from a synergistic approach is healthcare. The healthcare sector generates more than 19 terabytes of clinical data alone each year. This number doesn’t even begin to account for other forms of healthcare data (source: Statista), such as data generated from patient records, medical research, drug development, etc., which are prime for AI analysis. For instance, AI-powered diagnostic tools can analyze patient data to detect diseases earlier and improve treatment outcomes. AI can also be used to optimize healthcare decision making and streamline operations, such as scheduling appointments and managing resources, which can improve efficiency and reduce costs.
Despite all the goodness, however, there are some less attractive aspects when using AI alone. There are indeed significant data privacy and security concerns at play. Blockchain can fill those gaps by ensuring patient data is kept whole, immutable and shielded from data breaches or indiscrete eyes. Another great advantage of blockchain is the control patients would assume of their data, as well as the ability to consent access to healthcare providers, on an as-needed basis. Another use cases of AI and Blockchain in healthcare is drug development. AI can analyze vast amounts of data and provide insights that can help pharmaceutical companies develop new drugs. Blockchain can ensure the data used in drug development is secure, confidential, and reliable.
The financial services industry is another big data hyper producer and as such, one that can greatly benefit from the combination of AI and Blockchain. To get a sense, US banks alone have 1 exabyte of stored data, which is equal to 275 billion mp3s (source: Innovecs). Think of the additional customer, transaction and market data floating in the ether. There is a staggering amount of entries waiting to be discerned. Thanks to AI, these records can be thoroughly analyzed and turned into insights which can help financial institutions pursue more precise targets. With blockchain, financial institutions can operate within a secure and transparent ecosystem where transactions can be processed quickly and safely. Fraud detection is a good showcase scenario of how AI and Blockchain can come to the rescue. As AI works as a potentially fraudulent data detector, Blockchain can ensure cleared transactions are stored appropriately.
The assemblage of AI and Blockchain can also benefit other industries. Among them, we can count supply chain management, energy, and retail. AI can provide insights that can help companies optimize their supply chain management, reduce energy consumption, as well as waste. Blockchain makes sure the data used in these industries can be trusted and saved appropriately. Product tracking can be considered one of the glaring use cases. AI can provide insights on the location and condition of products, while blockchain can work as a transactional framework and untouchable repository. Optimizing these processes lead to greater customer satisfaction and loyalty.
We may agree that solutions to big challenges are rarely delivered in isolation. They require collaboration and complementation. AI and Blockchain are two of the most popular technologies in our digital age. Together, they form a unique coalition capable to improve many industries. Both have their own powerful features and disruptive potential. These traits can only become more impactful when united. They can open up new dimensions for existing lines of business or create new ones ex novo. AI’s capacity to process vast amounts of data, learning from patterns, and making decisions is one of the ingredients. Blockchain, on the other hand, providing a secure and transparent way of storing and sharing data is the complementary one. The creation of an ecosystem that is safe, secure, and efficient is the final benefit, logically resulting in better services to customers and various parties in the ecosystem. Dear tech friends, who are you joining forces with these days? I hope you are choosing someone as powerful as you. I’ll tech to you soon and thanks a lot for reading!
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