Exclusive: Streamr and DATAcoin Co-Founder on Blockchain and AI

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Listen to the interview with the co-founder and COO of Streamr and DATAcoin on the 2 November 2018 BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast below.

Streamr and DATAcoin (DATA)

BitcoinNews.com spoke to Risto Karjalainen, the co-founder and chief operating officer (COO) of Streamr and its native cryptocurrency DATAcoin (DATA), on the topic of blockchain and AI, who says, “Streamr is a data protocol for the decentralized net. Effectively what we are doing is making real-time data tradeable using a blockchain.”

On Streamr, blockchain technology is used to access data and crypto is used to pay for data streams but the data itself is not stored on the blockchain. Karjalainen believes that the Ethereum network is still “too slow and expensive for that”, and has considered using a Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) and other blockchains scalable for data storage, but has chosen to perfect Streamr on the Ethereum network.

Launched in October 2017, DATAcoin is used to buy real-time data on Streamr, which is a cryptocurrency with a USD 30 million market cap and USD 6 million of daily trading volume as of 1 November 2018, placing it at #157 on CoinMarketCap out of 2,089 total cryptocurrencies.

Streamr focuses entirely on delivering real-time data in an automated fashion and this requires integration with the internet of things (IoT). Karjalainen says, “Data comes from the IoT, sensors, or smart cities, and different devices, but IoT is the typical source of the data.”

Some of the real-time data streams available include financial, transportation and weather data but really there is no limit to the data that can become available on Streamr, as long as it can be measured.

Blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI)

Streamr itself does not develop AI technology but Karjalainen says, “We are partnering with AI companies who want to use our technology to acquire training and learning data for machine learning and AI. Additionally, there are companies which offer data that has been created or refined with AI, and they sell it on Streamr.”

AI depends on massive amounts of data to increase its intelligence, so companies can utilize blockchain and Streamr to acquire that data.

The Zug-based entrepreneur sees a couple of areas where the merger of blockchain and AI is particularly useful. AI needs data to operate and that is what Streamr is focusing on. Also, AI needs a large amount of computing power and storage, blockchain can be used to build decentralized networks that aggregate computing power and storage, and crypto can be used to incentivize the process. Beyond this, AI can be used to improve a cryptocurrency or blockchain platform’s code but Karjailenen does not think AI is powerful enough yet to truly write code.

One very interesting possibility is an AI program could live within a blockchain. Karalainen says, “What might be fascinating is an AI living in a blockchain, and it would earn tokens, make a living that way, and improve itself, like a lifeform.”

The present and future of AI

In the current AI field, there are several types of intelligence being pursued including machine learning, deep learning, recurrent networks and pattern recognition. Karjalainen feels that the industry is still in the early days of “building true artificial intelligence”.

When it comes to everyday reasoning or building mental models of the world, he estimates AI to be on the level of a 4-5 year-old child. However, for pattern recognition and image processing AI is as good or better than humans, according to him.

Karjalainen asserts that AI does not have any self awareness or consciousness at this time, but says, “I think there is potential, and I think it is a very interesting idea… I do not think there is anything in the mechanics that would stop a machine from being conscious. You can replicate a brain cell by cell and that is what you would get.”

When asked if the AI singularity will happen, which is when AI becomes smarter than humans and then rapidly and recursively improves itself, Karjalainen responds that it could very well take place, especially if the AI has access to energy and manufacturing equipment.

In regards to popularly fiction scenarios in which machines turn against humans, Karjalainen says, “They might have their own objectives which are very different and inconsistent with having people around.”

 

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