The Fourth Industrial Revolution Built On Blockchain And Advanced With AI

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Originally on Forbes.

Blockchain technology is so synonymous with cryptocurrencies, and especially Bitcoin that it is almost like the financial sector has usurped its potential. In times like these, where an investing bear market has befallen the cryptocurrency space, it is easy to get down on the revolutionary possibilities of blockchain technology.

Since the original Blockchain, that is Bitcoin, emerged, there has been a considerable focus on transactional blockchains which have been at the forefront of the mainstream understanding of the technology. Bitcoin is often the layman’s first point of call with the stories of investing success stories obscuring the view of other possibilities.

However, blockchain technology is moving along in an undercurrent separate from the comings and goings of the cryptocurrency market and the financial interest it has garnered in just a few short years.

Ethereum and smart contracts have taken blockchain technology to a second generation where many different sectors are in the sights of its potential disruption. Even a third generation is being bandied about, with regards to Directed Acylic Graphs, but the fourth generation - which will be an essential part of the fourth industrial revolution - will need the help of some similar revolutionary technology.  Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been cutting a distinct but similar path through the nascent stage of technology development. Its uses and adoption have been growing, and its implementation has reached a critical point.

Both AI and blockchain are in situations where they can benefit from each other, and help one another, regarding reaching their next step on the road to this fourth industrial revolution. There is already evidence of this embryonic partnership beginning to blossom with many sectors feeling their twin disruptive powers.

What the Fourth Revolution will look like

It is clear that the blockchain can tackle many inefficiencies in our technology as it stands, and AI similarly so because of the importance that is put on data currently. However, if it is to drive the fourth revolution, there needs to be an integration of the two technologies which will then have the potential to change some very steady and familiar technologies we take for granted today.

Paul Lee, CEO of Mind AI, understands the importance of blockchain technology merging with AI and how it can shape our upcoming future.

“One big, immediate way that blockchain can help AI is through its ability to decentralise the ownership and sharing of data,” he explains. “Currently, large corporations with massive amounts of data - like Google, Facebook, Baidu, Tencent - can own their stockpile of user data to create and continuously improve AI.

“Blockchain has the potential to break down today's data oligopoly through individual ownership and control of data. This will open access to vast numbers of data sources that can be used by AI developers that previously didn't have access to such data.

“This means that there will also be a data marketplace, which can be a free market for developers looking for specific types of data for their projects. In the same sense, AI can boost blockchain, as some of the most compelling use-cases and early-stage applications of blockchain technology is for AI. This will help pave the way for more progress in blockchain technology to better mesh with AI, and this progress and applications will inevitably have a spillover effect into other domains, helping boost the rate of blockchain adoption.”

Yoav Vilner, the former CEO of startup marketing company Ranky, adds on to Lee’s thoughts about how data will be redistributed in the fourth industrial revolution.

“Making private data secure again will invariably lead to it being sold, resulting in data markets, model markets, and with the introduction of intelligence systems, maybe even AI markets. The markets will have easy, secure data sharing that will help smaller players enter the fray,” Vilner explains.