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When Robots & Blockchain Collide

Stephen Hawking once warned that the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) would either be the best or worst thing to happen to humanity.

Reflecting on 2017, there’s no doubt it will go down as a breakthrough year in the field of AI.

It burst into the public consciousness and became a topic frequently debated in the media. And as mainstream interest increased, so too did innovation. Major tech companies increased their spending by 59.3% in 2017, reaching a whopping $12.5 billion.

But 2018 could be even bigger.

The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is currently underway in Las Vegas. And it’s already buzzing with the latest innovations in technology and artificial intelligence.

Panasonic’s newest invention is a $16,000 robot called Laundroid, which uses AI to fold laundry. The robot has a neural network of 256,000 images of different clothing items, which it uses to work out how best to fold.

Meanwhile, Samsung made the pledge to have AI built into all of their products within the next two years. That includes fridges, washing machines and ovens. Come 2020, your kitchen appliances will be able to respond to your behaviour.

This surge in AI development comes after the Chinese government vowed to become an AI superpower by 2030. China is spending millions in an attempt to overtake the US in the development of new AI tech.

You may not have noticed but the rippling effects of the AI revolution have already started to manifest themselves in various ways in your daily and working life.

As Markets & Money contributor Terence Duffy wrote on Tuesday, when a piece of AI achieves commercial success, it is, for some reason, no longer seen as artificial intelligence. Instead, as Terence says, it’s considered to be ‘a really clever piece of code or smart device.’

We have already seen this cycle of acceptance occur multiple times over the last decade. For example, you wouldn’t necessarily consider your smartphone to be artificially intelligent, even when it comes to personal assistants like Siri.

Or that an article you read online is written by artificially-intelligent writing programs.

AI reaches true success when it infiltrates your daily life unnoticed. And 2018 is set to be the year this technology truly permeates our daily lives. As president of Microsoft Asia Ralph Haupter confirmed:

I believe 2018 is the year that this will start to become mainstream, to begin to impact many aspects of our lives in a truly ubiquitous and meaningful way’.

No doubt we are eclipsing a period of rapid growth in this sector. As a result, many are starting to wake up to the dilemmas that AI may pose. There are key questions that need to be addressed. Including the changing nature of work and the protection of privacy.

With the rise of AI-embedded devices, data is proliferating and becoming more complex and personal.

How we store and transfer this mountain of data securely is already a pressing dilemma. And even the dominance of big names like Apple and IBM isn’t enough to keep the floodgates closed.

That’s why the intersection of blockchain and technology, particularly AI, will be the biggest investment theme of 2018. The revolution of the internet has long passed. The next revolution will be related to how we securely store our ever-accumulating mountain of data.

Exponential Stock Investor editor Ryan Dinse revealed the companies that he believes to be the frontrunners in this revolution in a new report. These companies are devising solutions that use blockchain technology to make our ever-connected lives safer and more efficient.

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