AI Requires the Computational Capacity that Blockchain Provides

Centralized data servers might not cope with the power AI needs. At best, they can be least slow and expensive. Could blockchain-based decentralized marketplaces for computational power be the answer?

Artificial intelligence (AI) — much like the internet of things (IoT) and blockchain — is set to become a foundational technology. These technologies will not only integrate but could also rely on each other to exist. According to Forbes and Gartner, by 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be managed by AI.

However, AI’s compiling, rendering, and predictive analysis is extremely resource-intensive. Just two years ago it took 26 hours to map a human genome when AI is used in science and medicine. Today it takes around an hour and the computational power do so is still substantial. Centralized data servers might not be able to cope with supporting wide, daily, application of AI.


Is this What Bitcoin Was Built For?

Blockchain, or distributed ledger technology (DLT), may provide the computational resource AI needs by utilizing the computing power of many machines. In some ways, this is what the Bitcoin protocol was designed to do. Siim Õunap, COO of Savii Digital told Forbes:

One of the little-known reasons behind the creation of the Bitcoin protocol was to get enough computing power to solve complex mathematical problems that no one computer could by itself. As the process went on, it evolved and virtual currency was born.

Õunap says the Bitcoin blockchain created an ideal solution to combine hardware efforts to power technologies like AI and IoT.

Professor Andrew J. Hacker of Harrisburg University, and founder of Thought AI, a public mineable blockchain for the “AI Superhighway,” says it’s not just computational, or “compute” power that’s important. So too is the data fed to AI and what happens to the results. Hacker says:

Blockchain technologies hold the promise of adding structure and accountability to AI algorithms and the quality and usefulness of the intelligence they produce.

Thought AI uses a 3-layer model of hybrid data, algorithm superstructures and blockchain to efficiently utilize “compute power.”

Decentralizing Computational Power

Currently, geneticists wanting to map genomes might need to outsource the task to centralized processing farms like Amazon’s data centers. Something that is slow and expensive.

Blockchain solutions in development include services like Tatau, a decentralized marketplace for GPU power. Tatau matches a computationally intensive project with connected platform members who will share their system resources. Tatau’s CEO and co-founder Andrew Fraser says:

Demand for AI computation is doubling every 3.5 months with costs increasing proportionately. Traditional suppliers, such as Amazon and Microsoft, use price as a lever to control usage – this restricts innovation.

Tatau has completed a $1.5 million round of seed funding and plans to launch in June 2019. Fraser adds:

We want to unleash AI innovation by dramatically reducing the cost of computing by harnessing the globally distributed GPUs used by crypto miners and making them available for compute by AI companies via our platform.

Another such solution, Golem, is also a decentralized power platform that calls itself the “Airbnb for Computers.” Golem raised $8.6 million in its ICO in 2016.

Blockchain could commoditize and tokenize raw computational processing power in order to deliver resources to other new technologies like AI. Wide-scale hardware development will also be needed to support the arriving age of AI, IoT, and blockchain.

Will blockchain power AI. What do you think?

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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