We are currently living in a technologically progressive era which will seems to incorporating new advancements with the passage of time. If we rewind back to almost two to three decades, records were drafted by hand and stored in physical containers. The data kept piling up, and then it came became impossible to maintain that kind of information on paper, not to mention the unreliability and inefficiency of that system, encouraging the migration to storing data on computers. Volume increased once again and then came databases, capable of managing records in an efficient manner, but not good enough to hold millions of datasets and it also had limited computational power available. Super Computers and data centers were created subsequently to help out by supporting large computational power in order to the growing needs of technological world. But even these super computers couldn’t contain the explosive growth of data and information.
Fast forward to today and we have cloud computing, decentralized systems and last but not the least IoT. Today, we have the necessary computing power to cater to so many of the emerging problems in the field of artificial intelligence that has been aiding greatly in modern medicine. The search and machine learning algorithms have been actively playing a great role in recognition systems, route planning systems and applications, and countless more artificially intelligent systems. IoT, using hardware and software can support a highly functional system but all these algorithms require training through classified data sets to learn from. These data sets are one, hard to come by, two, difficult to maintain due to excessive information hoarded in real time.
The AI technology at hand might be able to iterate through countless data sets for now and is no doubt very efficient in doing so, but to gas it, a ton of resources are required. The processing power required to make a ton of calculations carrying high level of complexity is too much. If only there were some way to distribute the computational load so complex problems could be solved in an efficient manner and less time. Fortunately for us, Bitcoin was created almost a decade ago, which has incited mixed emotions all over, but the applications of the underlying technology blockchain have been rendered multi purpose. The most imminent being able to support the decentralized system as opposed to a centralised system burdened with doing all the computation.
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. Even though computing power was used for something else, it created an ideal solution to combine hardware efforts to power among other things, AI and IoT. Now, almost a decade since it first started, it can be seen being used widely by many companies and I believe that this is just the beginning.
The idea is to utilize the power of the distributed network in order to ensure the transparency and security of the data being processed. Mining crypto is requires a lot of processing power, that has led to the invention of GPU processors that are capable of processing large amount of data. These processors might not be getting purchased by crypto miners anymore due to decline in prices of Cryptocurrencies, but the gaming industry still needs them and has been saving the day since. The reason they are still so popular is that they provide high processing power that can be utilized for any necessary computation. Not to mention the crypto mining farms that are in the stage of being established as well as renewable energy farms to power the decentralized systems. Professor Andrew J. Hacker from Harrisburg University, who is the founder of ThoughtAI stressed on how blockchain technology can really help out AI systems by saying,
Blockchain technologies hold the promise of adding structure and accountability to AI algorithms and the quality and usefulness of the intelligence they produce.
All these resources that are available for powering other systems can also be utilized in providing services that are needed to solve more pressing problems like curing cancer. Providentially, there exist more than a few blockchain based platforms that are providing computational power in exchange for cryptocurrency. Tatau.io is a decentralized platforms that connects a number of individuals on a network that have idle GPU power they can loan out to people in need in exchange for their native token. Golem Network also provides similar services to that of tautau with a few differences, one of them being that Golem draws the power from CPU instead of GPUs.
High processing power is in high demand. Every industry that relies on computers to solve some kind of problem or maintain data, realizes its value. Blockchain has effectively made processing power a commodity, that is much needed to power systems executing AI algorithms. This raises a few concerns, the foremost being, as the demand for highly efficient systems is satiated it will grow overtime. Platforms like Golem and Tatau at the time being bring an innovative solution to the table, but this can only be considered sustainable development if blockchain is adopted all over the globe and these platforms can actually prove the veracity of their claims and cater to the growing needs of the evolving ecosystem. That being said, for now blockchain can play an essential role in powering AI systems.