MANAS—Empower AI with Blockchain (Part 1)

The Great Potential of AI

Artificial Intelligence is a broad field of study that involves computer science, biology, philosophy, etc. Its definition is often vague and up to debate, but essentially, AI is about teaching machines to think, analyze and make judgments just like humans do by imitating how the human brain works.

Today, AI has become the driving force for the next round of technological and industrial revolution, changing society and people’s lives in permanent ways. In recent years, the AI industry has gotten hotter and hotter, and its market is constantly expanding. But although the number of new companies is still growing, its rate has slowed down quite a bit. Funding for the AI industry is constantly increasing, and capital is favouring grown companies as opposed to start-ups. With machine learning, especially deep learning, as the focus, the AI industry is making significant achievements in computer vision, speech recognition, natural language and other areas.

The Scale of the AI Industry on the Rise Around the Globe

Next-generation AI is gaining traction around the globe. It is both a growth engine and a strategic industry for future society. As AI-related research and development pick up speed and AI technologies find commercial uses, the market is getting larger, attracting more capital. In 2019, the global AI industry was worth 520 billion USD, up 30% compared to the previous year. Its fast development has caught the attention of many countries, and most developed countries have made strategic arrangements surrounding the core technologies, capital support, talents and industry standards of AI in an attempt to take primacy in the competition of the future.

Picture: Market Share of AI Across Sectors

Increasing Number of AI Companies

With the AI industry on the rise, the number of AI companies is also increasing. Although tech giants dominate the market with their incomparable access to technology, talents and capital, there is also gold among start-ups, whose flexibility and innovation offer constant surprises. By the end of 2019, the number of AI start-ups totaled nearly 20,000, with the United States being home to most of them, followed by China and the UK. While American and European companies have a lead in natural language processing, machine vision and AI robotics, Japanese and Korean companies are ahead in semiconductors.

Increasing Global Funding for AI

With such a promising outlook, the AI industry is seeing increasing rounds of funding attracting more and more investment. In 2019, AI start-ups around the globe raised 26.6 billion USD in total in over 2,200 transactions, setting a record. At the same time, the percentage of seed-round and angel-round investments is declining, suggesting that it’s increasingly difficult for start-ups to attract funding as investments flow into medium and large AI companies.

AI Service Is the Breakthrough Point

The prerequisite of AI is machine learning, which is essentially fueled by computing power. Machine learning needs data for material and generates algorithm models as results, while these algorithm models can be used to build AI services and applications which will have tremendous value for society.

Currently, the mainstream way to provide AI services is through an API, which helps developers to easily integrate technologies or services into programs or products they are building. For example, developers may add individual person recognition features to album apps through a facial recognition API. Thanks to the API, they no longer have to program facial recognition codes from the start, nor even thoroughly understand its mechanism. New features can be accessed on cloud when they are enabled on applications through API. API can be used for different purposes, including computer vision, computer speech recognition, natural language processing, search, knowledge mapping, translation, and emotion detection.

In the next few years, the growth of the AI industry will be primarily driven by the growth of AI services.

Picture: Projected Growth of the AI Service Market in Coming Years

Blockchain-Empowered AI—Better AI

Without doubt AI will drive human society forward for the next 40 years. It is gathering momentum in transportation, finance, industry, energy, media and other sectors. The application of AI is digitalizing these industries, inspiring change or even total transformation.

To create a better environment for AI and make AI serve humans more smoothly, Matrix is coming up with a brand new structure. In Matrix 1.0, AI was used to empower blockchain, drastically improving its performance, security and public benefit. On to Matrix 2.0, this will be an AI ecosystem managed through a highly efficient blockchain.

Under this framework, AI is no longer centralized but will be managed and utilized through a decentralized blockchain. Every node on this blockchain will participate in decision-making and execution through the consensus mechanism of the network. This will eliminate the possibility of centralized AI awakening someday. At the same time, AI nodes in the decentralized network can better work together to serve humans.