It was not that long ago that Artificial Intelligence (AI) was a distant dream. But automated vehicles are around the corner. Uber cars send to the company's research labs, to teach robots to drive. And what is middle-class home is complete without an Alexa, organizing lives and shopping lists?
So how does blockchain fit into all of this? Until recently, not very well. The two technologies developed in parallel, but rarely overlapped. But that may be about to change. During the Malta Blockchain Summit last week, Hong Kong-based engineering company Hanson Robotics, showcased Sophia: a social robot humanoid.
She (if that's the correct pronoun) still has limitations. Journalists have to ask their questions in a near-silent room. Her knowledge base is also limited; a Hanson engineer managed her interactions from a laptop. The wifi is irregular, I know a long cable connection.
Some of her responses are pre-programmed with a basic understanding of cryptocurrency, reflecting the background of the journalists in the room. Engineers explain that at the end of the conference, most of their responsibilities and knowledge will be removed.
But these are mild quibbles. Although the display is impressive, Hanson wants to do better. The end-goal is an autonomous robot, that can speak lucidly on subjects without assistance and prodding from a host of engineers.
Blockchain AI: Can they mix?
Hanson Robotics has started collaborating with SingularityNET (AGI), a decentralized AI marketplace on which Crypto Briefing has reported before. The end goal is to be a platform where different AI can communicate and even trade with one another, using the exchange's native AGI token.
AIs around, and also because they are not enough. Sophia is a case in point: currently, Hanson Robotics has been able to manage what she knows and ultimately determine her responsibilities and interactions with the outside world. SingularityNET believes their blockchain can be used as a data repository
"AIs have to operate from scripts because crucial data sets exist in siloes," Arif Khan, SingularityNET's VP for marketing, told Crypto Briefing after the press conference with Sophia. "This hinders AI development. Large tech companies still hold the keys to further development, but most work for profit. What we can do with blockchain is effectively open-source.
Khan says that Sophia learns from her experiences, even during press briefings. This problem can be shared with other AIs. SingularityNET's blockchain can be used as a databank for all of these experiences. When one AI learns something, other automatons can learn about it, too.
"I may be dramatic, but AI is sort of like the language of the gods", Khan explains. "Currently loads of independent robotics companies are in an arms race with big tech. Facebook is ultimately the share dividend. "
"Is this how we should enter this new era?" Khan asked, rhetorically.
Sophia robot is just the beginning
But they are penetrating all aspects of our lives. Like the internet, wake up and struggle to world without artificial intelligence.
Tech is hierarchical, and still governed by the bottom line. But the Blockchain 's contribution to AI could be to change this dynamic. If humans start manufacturing sentient life, blockchains can prevent it from being at the end of a corporate balance sheet.
Disclaimer: The author is not invested in any cryptocurrency or token mentioned in this article, but holds investments in other digital assets.