By Andrew Arnold / Entrepreneur ME
There is no denying that two of the biggest drivers behind technical innovation today are blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI). In fact, it’s predicted that by 2030, AI will be responsible for adding over US$15 trillion to the global economy. Within the same amount of time, blockchain will contribute $3.1 trillion to business valuations.
It’s inevitable that their paths will cross as entrepreneurs seek innovative solutions to gain a competitive edge. The question is, what exactly can result from the synergy of these two powerhouse technologies?
Blockchain and AI can be blended to protect datasets
Without data, AI is useless. Algorithms rely on data to learn, make decisions, draw conclusions and deliver actionable insights. The more data AI has, the better its algorithms can function. This is why the collection, storage, and analysis of data is in high demand right now.
Blockchain technology also operationalizes data. However, instead of being dependent on it, blockchain serves as a distributed ledger on which data can be stored and encrypted. The result is a decentralized and secured database that is impervious to change.
In this age where many companies depend on their data centers in different geographical locations to offer the base for a large part of their business, the AI and blockchain combo can create secure, decentralized databases for the highly sensitive information that AI driven systems must collect and store. This can result in significant improvements in protection of:
- Medical and healthcare data
- Financial information
- Trade secrets
- Legal data
Once data is recorded on a blockchain network, AI algorithm can be granted permission to access it, but certain restrictions can be set for modifying existing data and adding new records.
The healthcare industry is finally coming to terms with big data analytics. The upside of this is the potential to deliver healthcare, more efficiently, and at a better price. Many companies are using AI to analyze data and better understand patient needs. For instance, a “smart” NLP (natural language processing) tool recently developed by Intermountain Healthcare can identify patients with high heart failure risk with a higher accuracy compared to human clinicians. The tool can operationalize and analyze data from 25+ different types of documents stored in the EHR and notify medical teams about patients that need additional attention.
The downside is that more people and entities are ‘touching’ patient healthcare records than ever before, meaning that accidental disclosure or leaks become more common. If patient data is stored on blockchain ledgers, access is recorded and controlled. This increases customer confidence as they can see who is accessing their data and why.