The flow of technological progress never ends, it always finds new problems to be solved. This is the process that the famous philosopher Joseph Schumpeter described as “creative destruction”: innovation continuously makes older solutions obsolete and creates more situations to innovate upon. What does this mean for the tech industry?
As innovation branches out to solve a wider range of complex problems, unlikely synergies and opportunities arise. Unexpected crossovers happen as we address the new business challenges that innovation uncovers.
One of the most pressing examples of this dynamic is the crossover between Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and blockchain technology. At first glance, the latter has little to do with the former two. Blockchain is seen as reactive to user needs, a passive way to store and transmit data and value according to preconceived user requirements.
On the other hand, AI, in particular, is seen as proactive, and as an open-ended means of uncovering new meanings and use cases from data stores. Upon closer inspection, however, it’s easy to see that the synergies between these two domains have revolutionary potential. In fact, neither blockchain nor AI can realize their respective disruptive potential without the other.
This is particularly true for the sphere of education, where both advances stand to turn existing educational models upside-down. Studyum is a prime example of how this dynamic unfolds at the heart of the company.
Data, data, everywhere
It’s undeniable that the vast amounts of information generated by every person will define business and social dynamics from now on. While this presents an incredible opportunity to enrich lives, it also poses risks to human freedom and development.
AI and blockchain can help us explore and manage the information around us but can also, contrastingly, increase centralized power, surveillance, and discrimination.
Studyum’s vision is of the former, where AI and blockchain are used in tandem with a shared purpose – to increase access to quality education for billions of people worldwide.
Blockchain and AI overlap in several ways to complement each other, as in:
Political commentators have long been wary of the powerful potential of AI. Machine learning programs are complex and often lack transparency in terms of their inner workings. Without oversight, AI can increase discrimination or simply create incorrect conclusions about certain user groups.
The beauty of blockchain technology is the generation of auditable, immutable data records that can safely be shared and trusted. Its transparency will help with trust issues prescribed to AI and machine learning. Studyum’s mission is to broaden humanity’s access to a world-class education through a blockchain-based platform that will prove to be invaluable in providing transparency to stakeholders in the future.
The “silo effect” is a constant headache for large organizations. Knowledge assets and data are not shared throughout the workplace which results in many business opportunities being missed. This problem is made worse in organizations that worry about giving away sensitive information.
A way to bridge the silo gap is to leverage the vast amount of data processed through AI, with the rule-based and encrypted nature of blockchain technology. Data access can be managed in detail with blockchain, putting data owners at ease and creating symbiotic environments for AI to work its magic on larger pools of data. This also occurs on the user’s scale. Studyum, for example, uses strict blockchain encryption to assure students and educational creators that the control of their data and intellectual property is managed transparently.
It’s not just blockchain that can add to the value of AI – the synergy flows in both directions. The largely static and reactive nature of ledger-based solutions, where the use case and information flow are decided upfront, can be improved with the emergent value creation of AI, which spots patterns that the blockchain engineer would have otherwise missed. AI is already being used extensively to spot weaknesses and fraud in blockchain ledgers.
At Studyum, AI and ML underpin the project’s value proposition of making e-learning tailored to the needs of the individual. While the data Studyum runs on is blockchain-based, users’ needs are fulfilled by harnessing this data with the power of AI and ML.
Innovation in the interest of humanity
100 years ago, nobody would have believed that decentralized digital records would be passed through supercomputers to beam educational materials into students’ homes on every continent.
Miraculously, this is what the crossover of AI, ML, and blockchain has allowed Studyum to achieve. The process of creative innovation will continue to be harnessed for good in the future through Studyum.