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Convergence of blockchain with AI and IOT


IoT and AI are growing exponentially

Internet of Things – IoT

A future of transacting intelligent machines


• Individually, each of these technologies deserves all the attention they’re getting as enablers and disruptors

• But, taken together?

• Their transformative effect becomes multiplicative

A future driven by machine connectivity, data exchange and commercial services:

  • IoT connects billions of machines and sensors generate unprecedented quantities of real-time data
  • AI enables the machines to act on data and trigger services
  • Blockchain functions are the transaction layer where data and service contracts are securely stored and payments for services are settled

How does blockchain support intelligent connected machines?


Smart Contracts enable self-executing and self-enforcing contractual states

  • Custom financial instruments (tokens), records of ownership of an underlying physical asset (smart property), any
  • complex business logic that can be programmable
  • Can such applications be ideal for intelligent (AI) and connected (IoT) machines?
  • These machines are intelligent enough to negotiate contracts, but need a technology allowing them to securely sign and enforce them

Digital currencies create new forms of money

  • Programmable and active
  • Will such money be ideal for intelligent (AI) and connected (IoT) machines?
  • These machines will need digital currency to pay for services assigned through the smart contracts

How will the three technologies work together?


IoT – Internet of Things

  • Sensors allow us to cost-effectively gather tremendous amounts of data.
  • Connectivity allows us to transmit/broadcast these data.
  • But, there is a missing element: intelligence to process these data.

AI – Artificial Intelligence

  • Intelligence at the very edges of the network (mini-brains).
  • Combine with IoT and you have the ability to recognize meaningful patterns buried in mountains of data in ways that would be impossible for most humans, or even non-AI algorithms, to do.
  • But, there is a missing element: a secure storage layer for data and a transaction layer for services

DLT (blockchain) – Distributed Ledger Technology

  • Decentralized governance, coupled with no single point of failure, disintermediation, unalterable and searchable records of events.
  • Digital currencies and tokenized custom financial instruments.
  • Combine with AI and IoT and you have a new world of autonomous systems interacting with each other, procuring services from each other and settling transactions.

The technology stack of the future


Technology Stack of the Future

Toward a world of machine commerce


A world of Machine Commerce

M2M will need SSI (self-sovereign identities) – for objects!


Human Identities types

Object identities can be SSI by default

  • Multi-source, multi-verifier
  • Digitally signed, verifiable credentials that can prove issuer, holder and status
  • Secure peer-to-peer connections (permanent or session-based)
  • Exchange full credentials, partial credentials or ZKPs derived from credentials

Next milestone: Decentralized Organizations (DOs)


DOs are good at:

  • Coordinating resources that do not know/trust each other (including hybrid
  • H/M)
  • Governing in a geography-agnostic, censorship-resistant manner
  • Enabling short-term or informal organizational structures  (networks/communities)
  • Tracking and rewarding contribution

Challenges

  • Jurisdictional issues
  • Legislating new types of work for humans and work rules for machines
  • Governance modalities, including external supervision


Challenges


New/upgraded system architectures

• From legacy to blockchain/AI/IoT-native systems
• Integration, interoperability, backward compatibility
• ROI obvious ex post, difficult ex ante – Bootstrapping

Advanced analytics capabilities

• As devices at the edge become smarter, the smart contracts enabled by blockchain platforms will require more advanced data analytics capabilities and gateways to the physical world.

New Business Models

  • Disruptive innovation will dominate – but not without boom-and-bust cycles and big failures along the way.
  • Winners will NOT be the ones focusing on efficiency gains, but on disruptive models.

Key takeaways

• IoT, AI and DLT (blockchain) are foundational and exponentially growing technologies

  • When combined, they will create a new internet of connected, intelligent and commercially transacting machines
  • An era machine-to-machine (M2M) and human-to-machine (H2M) commerce is likely to emerge, with profound consequences on social and economic dynamics
  • New forms of corporations or organizational formats (code-only, autonomous) will emerge

• There are numerous challenges that must be overcome

  • IoT has outpaced the human internet, but is still a largely passive, insecure and privacy-vulnerable network
  • AI has made huge leaps, but still requires immense computational resources and is largely incompatible with edge computing
  • DLT is a new technology, largely untested at scale; both smart contracts and digital assets lack the regulatory clarity required for mass adoption

This work is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivatives license
© University of Nicosia,
Institute for the Future, unic.ac.cy/blockchain





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