Blockchain, AI and robots – how do they fit together?

Adriana Glazer | 1. June 2021

The combination of artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies can make swarm robotics, i.e. autonomous vehicle fleets but also drone technology, more efficient and safer. The biggest game changers of our time could be the technologies of artificial intelligence, innovations in robotics and public databases such as the blockchain.
In this article, we take a closer look at these modern technologies and present interesting synergies.

Artificial intelligence

All AI technologies have a common goal: to provide an imitation of human intelligence and/or a rational approach to make decisions or perform tasks in a human-like manner. This involves, for example, neuronal networks or cognitive abilities.

Blockchain

The blockchain is, in short, a distributed database technology (decentralised). All participants in this database or network have absolute data transparency, as processes are viewed and simultaneously monitored by all participants.
The decentralised structure coupled with the resulting large computing power offers protection against manipulation. Here, too, there are still many challenges, such as problems with computing power (proof of work vs. proof of stake) or, for example, compliance and many other issues.

How does it all fit together now, what can be catalysts for faster growth or new synergy effects?

Clearly, cryptocurrencies can be incorporated into robotics as a payment method, or artificial intelligence can be used as a game changer in image processing and robot programming. Nevertheless, there are other approaches, for example in swarm robotics.
This sector works with several physical robots in a swarm formation.

What can be the advantages?

  • The task remains in the foreground; there is a task and the swarm solves it on its own and in a humanly comprehensible way (AI)
  • Protection against manipulation always plays an important role in all processes (blockchain).
  • The possibility that new open source platforms or communities can emerge (blockchain).

More concretely, dronescan perform tasks in formations that they would not be able to do alone, comparable to ants that reach their strength as a colony. (Medical transport, automated agriculture or even the entertainment industry).

In the near future, multi-axis robots could also operate in a swarm, reducing downtime and increasing production capacities.

Robot station X has less to do and then reports independently to fill its unused capacity. This station/cell could then be integrated into other production areas, or even physically moved to other production sites via transport systems (matrix production).

Collaborative robots
Collaborative robots, which increasingly play a role. They are able to carry out supporting or monotonous work steps, ideal especially in the context of unfavourable general conditions (narrow installation space, under water, in heat or cold, etc.). 

What are the synergies between blockchain and AI?

Improve AI efficiency
Through secure data use and storage, AI can make data-optimised decisions faster. Through an open source approach, much more data and much more computing power could also be requested.

AI decisions
The blockchain or its database can help explain the decision of the AI.

Blockchain marketplace
The decentralised database system, which obtains a lot of data from a wide variety of sources, can create a data market that everyone can access.

Conclusion

It will be very exciting. There is still a lot to be tested and many topics to be accelerated, many new technologies such as quantum computers or robots as a swarm, but also models such as distributed ledger or smart contracts must prove themselves on a broad and lasting basis.

I would like to highlight two interesting points again:

  • With AI, robots can be programmed or parametrised even more easily for everyone. Perhaps in future no software will be needed at all.
  • With the blockchain, a new broad database could emerge that is not dominated and thus controlled and steered by a few companies. The past has shown that technologies grow strongly when they can be used and freely edited by as many people as possible. For example, 3D printing technology only caught on after the patents were disclosed and DIY was used by the masses.

About the author

Alexander Mühlens
Head of Low Cost Automation robolink® and drylin®
Phone: +49 2203 9649-8255

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