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Blockchain Is Reversing the Balance of Power – Consumers Regaining Control

Blockchain technology could make AI smarter

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Shift in Power 

Blockchain technology is definitely shifting financial power from banks and central regulatory organizations back to the end consumer. Artificial intelligence or AI is yet another technology that’s currently gripping the world. From finance to healthcare to transportation to marketing, AI is increasingly being applied in every field of work these days. Likewise, blockchain technology can be seen to enable work efficiency with successful applications and use cases across industries. What if the two were applied together?

AI Is Affecting Our Lives

Artificial intelligence is more prevalent in our lives now than it ever has been.  Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa are just two good examples of daily consumer interaction with machines that exhibit artificial intelligence. E-commerce companies such as Amazon (AMZN) and Netflix (NFLX) are using AI to understand customer behavior patterns, which enables them to quite accurately predict what the consumer may be interested in next.

The Concentration of Power in Retail

Now, while AI is definitely enabling behavioral analysis, it is also leading to a concentration of power (the power to predict consumer behavior in this case) in the hands of a few in some cases. Websites which have access to your behavioral (browsing and Internet) data are making money by selling it to e-commerce portals which use it to predict behavior, and make money from an idea that they seemingly planted in your mind; much like inception. Quite a sweet deal for both the buyer and the seller of your information! However, it leaves nothing for the originator of the information; no control, no money.

Blockchain Could Change This

Blockchain technology could change this. Taking our marketing example forward, what if every consumer could authorize the addition of their purchase data to a blockchain? This way, retailers would never be able to directly access the data. And the consumer alone would have control over and the choice to express his/her willingness to trade access to his/her data for more personalized recommendations. Otherwise, the data would remain private.

Blockchain Could Make AI Smarter

Key advantages of the applying blockchain technology to artificial intelligence could be:

  1. Accuracy– The shift from fragmented databases collected by individual retailers to comprehensive (blockchain-based) databases maintained by consumers should increase the amount of data available to recommendation engines and other predictive marketing systems by at least an order of magnitude.
  2. Privacy – since the blockchain is decentralized, it would help preserve the privacy of each individual’s data.
  3. Control – owners of the data would have the sole right to provide access to and/or trade their behavioral data, thereby regaining control over something that’s theirs.

Eventually, blockchain technology could be used to make AI applications smarter, safer and more convenient. Their marriage is a match made in heaven.

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