AI + IoT needs REAL Blockchains.

Why Smart Contract micro-transactions are key in the world of AI Enabled IoT.

Adrian Blackwood
6 min readJun 3, 2018

The second part in a six-part series exploring the future of the internet in combinations: the art & science of mixing AI, IoT, Blockchains, and Data. Follow the series on Medium:

Cool, your AI enabled toaster can talk, but can it arrange -and pay- for it’s own repair or service?

So we are quickly approaching the reality of the physical internet; you know that experience we’ve been talking about since the late 90's.

Basically it’s the idea that the pervasive connectivity you experience in your wifi enabled home and office, or in the bubble of connectivity around your phone — is extended to every, and any, connected object person or place.

The promise of the internet of Things is a layer of internet for those connections. In this article i will cover an intro to where these connections have the ability to take actions.

hipsters can transact by reaching over the counter. Your AI enabled objects lack arms to reach — how do THEY pay?

Actions = ability to transact payment for services.

Actions are the backbone of ecommerce; for example as an online retailer, i’m happy that you’re connected to the internet, but if your not able to reach or transact at my store — are you my customer?

IOT has been slow to uptake; and reach any level of ubiquity — why?

One of the compelling arguments around the lack, or at least the slow uptake, of growth in commercially viable IOT environments, is that they don’t make money. Mostly the commercial use cases are entirely built around the first two drivers of IOT: reducing costs; & increasing efficiency. What about making profit?

Let’s explore: How does an AI enabled backpack arrange a driver?

A near-future use case scenario: Imagine you’re tipsy after a celebratory evening; and as a result you’ve left your bag on the ground as you’ve stopped to take a touristy photo in the town square. Your AI enabled bag will quickly realize this; proximity to your device cluster of watch, phone and ewallet, plus lack of movement. What does it do? Well, first it should activate its sensor cluster, wake up its communication deck; and search: you, the owner, are not close — is there anyone know close, or a known-location near: nope.

Now what?

In an Action-enabled scenario your bag can make a choice: get itself home. A quick search for ride-share, delivery, driver, or general service workers reveals a close options; ID’s verified, service logged, service rendered, bag delivered, payment made — all without owner involvement.

The New Services Economy for IOT: Powered by Blockchain.

Designed for objects, not people, blockchain paid services will emerge — they must, there is PROFIT. My startup prediction — there is a ENTIRE hype cycle : moving from every new startup being ‘with AI’ to “with blockchain payments”.

In the near-future: AI-IOT Objects will initiate service requests and payments — like delivery or return.

How blockchain is scheduled to unlock the value of AI+IOT

So your awesome company has secured a fat Series A, you’ve build a world class IOT environment & populated it with smart objects; and built an intuitive AI Master Engine driving interaction and experience. Fantastic, now what?

You’re out selling on 2/3's of the available potential: reducing costs & increasing efficiency. What about Profit? You’ve read this article and realize Blockchain is the most viable method to scale profits: do you go down the road to the blockchain store?

The current market truth is Blockchain companies rarely build products to access AI-IOT value: Enter the need for access to the transaction value directly within stack chains — an AI-IOT Blockchain-of-chains Lean Data product.

Now that we know who everyone is; where they are, what they are — lets do things. When intelligent objects interact, they MUST come to agreements on a number of factors, usually instantly, and these agreements recorded in the [selected] blockchain enables interaction to take the form of contract actions.

Verified identity through AI-IOT networks is only the start for blockchains. For example; when we use profile driven interactions based on machine learning preference, blockchains can be the transaction layer for human verified, or human independent transactions (think drunk bag getting home). Imagine, the near-future where the objects and places within our physical-digital world are not only intelligent, aware, but able to harness this into actions. Actions make it cool. Actions make it possible. Actions are the blockchain: and the coolest companies will have the coolest blockchains.

Commercially Successful General IoT with AI needs a way to transact.

Trust: the key to a Commercially Successful AIIOT Blockchain

Correct Architecture and Rolling Features enable Trust for Companies

Blockchains can help IOT and AI solve these issues with a proficiency of trust unavailable without. While proof-of-work provided a way to thwart DDoS attacks, significant power over the network is required: enter progressed Blockchains. Even more important than that, proof-of-work tends to not be scalable enough, so specific, unique, architecture is required into the core of the blocks, chains and chains-of-chains themselves: enter an AIIOT-focused blockchain. AI Enabled IOT blockchain networks couldn’t engage in the kind of competitive “mining” that powers the bitcoin network, largely because a smart toaster or lightbulb can’t harness the power of a warehouse full of specialized computers.

Some Realities

Single layer blockchains are already old-school.

Mixing AI & IOT in intelligent environments requires a multi-layer blockchain in order to capture the requirements of operating near-future business models. Lets collectively stop taking about blockchain single layers products as near-future solutions to AIIOT transaction payments: they are not.

Blockchain Architecture will drive AI-IOT Adoption.

In already complex systems, blockchains have specific functions needed in order to capture the nuance required to support use-cases and business-cases enabling the human factor. What is already complex becomes human complex. Variation, personality, preference, desire, history of relationship, trusted persons, level of detail, privacy, human privacy, and much more.

Install-ability within OS Ecosystem.

Blockchains need to be consumable. Mostly; Blockchains are not understood, or easily enabled; it takes a special wallet and mining fees to use: this will limit uptake; and restrict profits in the AI-IOT use case. Blockchains need to be App-fied — selectable among competition with consistent core features, and unique features differentiating — while part of an ecosystem.

Profit goes beyond services: Objects will consume content.

Cool, now we know how to enable payments for object services; what about content? Your machines have social media envy; while you are chatting and engaging with others via social platforms, consuming interesting relevant content — they want in.

IOT enabled objects, especially AI enabled clusters of them; will consume MASSIVE amounts of content: much of it is licensable: how do monitize?

In the near future< consumption of geo-triggered, object combinations or broadcast content will be normal. Enter a store; be served video, voice or haptic message; buy a product — get content, go to a food-truck event & watch delicious videos or get directions to your favourite truck: AI-IOT objects will consume media with an insatiable appetite:

is your digital product kitchen ready to serve up tasty profits?

Story by:

Adrian Kyle Blackwood

Currently exploring: | Metaverse | Ambient Assisted Living | Spatial Commerce | Spatial Web |

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Adrian Blackwood

Adrian explores the future of reality through four exciting areas: Applied Ai, Spatial Reality, health-tech, and Ambient Intelligence.