Future of the Internet: AI vs Blockchain

This article is an open write-up from me, CEO of DoxyChain, on the future of the Internet, AI and blockchain roles in it.
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Future of the Internet: AI vs Blockchain

In my role as the CEO of DoxyChain, a company deeply involved in blockchain technology (and making the Internet a more secure and reliable place on a daily basis), I find myself obliged to shed some light on the relationship between blockchain and AI. In this article, I will share my subjective perspective on how AI will impact the future of the Internet; and explore the (crucial) role blockchain will play in securing and maintaining digital trust in the coming years.

‘AI’ Named Word of the Year by Collins Dictionary

No-brainer, AI presents significant opportunities, we’ve all been convinced of that. But it also poses many challenges, mainly in the areas of security and digital trust. Let's dive into the specifics. “AI” was the word of the year in 2023. Everyone is talking about it and wondering: how to adapt to the new Internet, how to harness its potential, how to profit from it but also, how to protect themselves against it - smart!

Why Do I Even Compare the Two Technologies?

Now, what I want to highlight in this article is that: (1) in the short term, the Internet will need blockchain-based solutions to mitigate the very first “damaging” impact of AI, (2) however, in the long term, the two will just work together - AI will commonly rely on blockchain (e.g. as a source of credible information to educate AI engines further).

“Blockchain can be the “bouncer” that generative AI needs, guarding IP, mitigating cyber and regulatory risks, and opening new revenue streams.” - Artificial Intelligence and blockchain: The new power couple, by KPMG.

Ultimately, it will be a network of interconnected vessels, not just two powerful technologies competing against each other or operating separately. Actually, a whole range of applications will emerge that leverage both AI and DLT aspects.

Let me emphasize once again, personally, I believe that the DLT (blockchain) market needed a Black Swan such as AI adoption for an average Internet user. Why so? In my humble opinion, there were no more viable ideas on how to use blockchain. We finally stepped away from the crypto narrative and simultaneously various validated ideas didn't gain traction, even though they looked beautiful on paper/deck.

AI vs Trust (Blockchain)

Let's look at the following diagram.

Figure 1 illustrates the relationship between the growing adoption of AI and overall trust in the Internet.

Why do I believe that blockchain projects will gain traction in the coming years, if not in the next quarters? Let's look at this chart, which shows the relationship between the potential of AI technology and the declining trust in the Internet. How can I trust the Internet when regulations are lagging behind? Also, how can I feel comfortable and safe on the Internet in 2024 when technologies exist that can easily impersonate my best friend during a video call or make my bank scam me or a president spreading misinformation? Truly, I tell you, you won't be able to distinguish between the real person and the fake one, and these cyberattacks are getting better and better - fast.

Now, let's remember the fundamental values that blockchain advocates -  transparency, decentralization, security... All of these imply one thing → leveraging TRUST and taking it back from one single point of failure. That means that if blockchain equals trust, it can fight the threats imposed by AI - cyber-attacks, deep fakes, identity thefts and others.

Blockchain is starting to be recognized particularly as a vital tool for solving AI's black box problem and driving more responsible AI innovation. Nearly 50% of the (survey) executives say they would be more likely to adopt blockchain if it ensured increased trustworthiness and reliability of their AI systems. "Ensuring trustworthiness and reliability of their AI tools is a top priority for businesses, and blockchain is the turnkey solution for addressing the risks that come with AI implementation," the Casper researchers state.
Blockchain’s inherent security and transparency can even help combat deep fakes and other fake AI-generated content through its immutable and traceable nature that secures ownership. - Coindesk.
Scenarios for the Future of the Internet

Ok, now we know that the cooperation of the two technologies is inevitable. I see two main scenarios for the development of the situation for Q1 2024.

  1. Appropriate rapid response and prevention of total loss of trust. 🙏🏻

Start mitigating the threats with more secure solutions (including DLT-based solutions). I’d wish for such a scenario, but it requires a wake-up call and the intensive effort of many stakeholders. Unfortunately, this will be challenging because today everyone is focused on how to 'don't be left behind', hence there is a ton of training on how to utilize AI in as many places as possible. But they are not conducting training on how to defend or hedge against it!

Figure 2 Illustrates the faster recovery of Trust in the Internet in case the use of  DLT-based solutions is used sooner.
  1. Allowing AI to spread its wings to the fullest. 😰

This would make trust in the Internet plummet to the bottom. The process of rebuilding trust will be much more challenging and slower if we do not act now.

Figure 3 illustrates the slow recovery of Trust in the Internet in case the use of  DLT-based solutions is delayed in time.

To sum up, I strongly believe in a beautiful, smart, and more secure Internet. I see that such a state of things is only possible when technologies are used wisely and intentionally and parties are held accountable.

The blockchain environment needed such a Black Swan, for better or worse, to demonstrate and develop its true potential and purpose.

A Few Other Takeaways From My Side

Naturally, I also have many adjacent thoughts and ideas to the subject. So, I let myself share these below.

Regulator Duty

Personally, I believe that before blockchain comes as an approved remedy, corporations and governments should take decisive action to protect the least educated people on the Internet and ensure their safety. Like any powerful technology, it can be used for good or bad (it applies to nuclear energy or bomb, blockchain revolution or ICO scams, AI improving every aspect of our lives, or creating scammers).

Let’s all agree that inadequate legal regulations will allow AI projects to do whatever they want for the next few quarters. I guarantee that fraud during Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) would seem like nothing compared to these ones. Paradoxically, we might end up feeling safer meeting in person, shaking hands, rather than making agreements online. This is one of the darkest scenarios. I hope it doesn't happen. But honestly now, are we really that far from it?

The good thing is that we observe some attempts from the regulatory side to respond to the dynamic AI advancements.

Easy Does It

I like this saying, the slower you go, the further you are. Less pressure from VC, the market, newspapers, and show business on blockchain-related projects is good. We can now calmly build, and when the time comes, we will show truly strong projects with solid foundations. Notice that it was the same with AI. When did the work on ChatGPT begin? Well, the research on neural networks started in the 70s. After that, some phases of big tech hype and then suddenly everyone lived in the world of blockchain. Sam was preparing, just rolling up his sleeves to choose which shirt to wear for Forbes covers because he knew his moment was coming, and it happened, and that's perfectly fine! What I want to say is that the less pressure on blockchain space will also benefit the Internet as a whole.

Crisis Equals Opportunity

Subtle remember that in every crisis, you can find benefits. I hope that you will survive and you will use it to grow.

Finally, What Do You Know About AI, Gabriel?

I want to clarify that I am writing this article as the CEO of the technology company DoxyChain. DoxyChain, based on its proprietary blockchain protocol, secures processes related to document creation and management. We started with securing electronic signatures (eSignatures) and currently focus mainly on developing the platform for certificate management (mainly, Proof of Authenticity, Proof of Origin, and Proof of Ownership). More on the certificates you can learn here.

My first encounter with blockchain was through cryptocurrencies. Believe it or not, after investing in cryptocurrencies a few years ago, I read many books on AI/ML and neural networks borrowed from the Warsaw University of Technology library. That was when my first project, RecoFace, combining biometric facial recognition in ATMs with a decentralized infrastructure maintained by banks, was born. Thanks to RecoFace, I met Rafael, Marcin and Piotr (today co-founders @ DoxyChain), who tried to discourage me from the idea due to some unfeasible assumptions.

I deprioritized my AI education when I started working on DoxyChain. Every second of my time was directed towards building value for DoxyChain. But then it reminded me (and the whole world) of its existence through ChatGPT. I don't hide that this tool has been my best assistant for several quarters now. I deeply believe that it will never replace my best people at DoxyChain though. But today, it allows me to receive real-time answers to simple questions that I used to direct to my team. I just wanted to signal that I wasn’t writing this text as a detached "enthusiast." A few years earlier, I studied AI capabilities while still being a student at Warsaw University of Technology. If it weren't for blockchain technology, in which I believed so firmly, I would have built "something" related to AI, in which I also continuously believe.


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