Artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain are emerging digital technologies that have captured the public imagination but also raised serious concerns.
So it bears asking: Can AI and blockchain be integrated in a way that benefits humanity?
There are reasons to think so. As far back as 2016, Vitalik Buterin wrote that both the crypto economics and AI safety communities were “trying to tackle what is fundamentally the same problem” of how to regulate complex and smart systems with “unpredictable emergent properties.”
Both rely for control on essentially “dumb” systems “whose properties once created are inflexible,” after all. Once a smart contract is implemented, it can’t be changed, for instance. The two communities “should listen to each other more,” he concluded.
In the past year, with the emergence of ChatGPT and other generative AI tools, worries are growing that AI may be spinning out of control. Humans could lose control over autonomous weapons systems in one nightmarish scenario.
So, the notion that blockchains and smart contracts can somehow serve as guardrails to stop AI models from veering off course has been gaining currency.
“Everyone working in crypto has a really distinct role to play in making AGI go well,” said Allison Duettmann, president of the Foresight Institute, at the recent SmartCon 2023 conference. This is especially so given predictions that artificial general intelligence, or AGI, where machines achieve human-level intelligence, may be coming sooner rather than later.
This potential fusion of AI and blockchain tech was also on the minds of IT decision-makers who participated in a recently-released survey commissioned by Casper Labs. Almost half (48%) of the 608 IT leaders surveyed across the United States, Europe and China agreed that “the integration of AI and blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize our industry, enabling enhanced data security, transparency, and efficiency.”
Complementary technologies, growing momentum
The basic idea is that blockchains’ immutable, tamper-free ledgers, together with smart contracts, may provide the guardrails for AI implementations, ensuring responsible artificial intelligence. A blockchain could even serve as a sort of “kill switch” for out-of-control AI models, some believe.
In the Casper Labs-commissioned survey by Zogby Analytics, 71% of IT leaders said they “view blockchain and AI as complementary technologies.” Moreover, when asked…