This complex summer 2020 is allowing us to get out of our comfort zone. It allows us to accelerate our personal and professional development in multiple aspects. Our resilience, enthusiasm, self-knowledge, the relationship with our environment, our ability to telework, to educate and educate ourselves, to disconnect and reconnect without the possibility in many cases to change scenery and explore other countries, regions, nature. In this complex summer of 2020, although we are far from the world of software development, we are going to reflect on the transversal axis of AI and blockchain and its social and industrial purposes.
AI and Blockchain constitute a transversal axis, from their massive impact into all processes and in multiple areas of knowledge of a company, in its entire value chain, it is not possible to imagine medicine, industry, economy, and art without the presence of Information and Communication Technologies, “these tools play a substantive role in the generation, exchange, diffusion, management and access to knowledge” (1). In this cross-cutting axis of AI and Blockchain, which we know converge or integrate, exactly, how does one contribute to the other?
Blockchain can help AI by scaling data aggregation, that is, allowing multiple data sets and improving data quality, thanks to the registration and traceability of its origin, managing the exchange of computing resources. In short, creating a more transparent and reliable data economy.
And how does Artificial Intelligence contribute to the development of Blockchain? we are going to explore how AI could increase the efficiency of blockchain processes far beyond what any person or conventional computer would be capable of. And, we also will link the concept of another important trend in the next-generation computing and electronic development, in which is to consider that a certain degree of data processing takes place on the device, not in the cloud data center. A device that will be an evolution of what we now call a smartphone.
Thus, in this very near future, AI would offer the opportunity to accelerate the need solution to accelerate the development of decentralized networks. That is to guarantee decentralized governance, an improvement in scalability or neutrality in the execution of consensus and avoid decentralized hybrid developments with centralized software pieces whose are difficult to maintain and that certainly add complexity to the future network interoperability. And it can also offer some important element in the development of digital identity from the field of network access, but also in the definition of the attributes that must be kept in these smarter and more personalized new generation devices.
Exercising systems thinking, AI could be key for outstanding issues in the large-scale use of blockchain or decentralized technologies, in issues of resilience, governance and neutrality, and above all scalability. The development of AI can give us an acceleration to overcome some current barriers to blockchain development while maintaining the benefits of decentralization, of a network that scales, and in which a large groups of actors participate, to reach a more efficient and intelligent automation. Programming interfaces between applications in blockchain could get different AI algorithms to communicate with each other.
The development of smart cities
But what about the empathic development between AI and Blockchain? An application scenario that is constantly evolving, that has required and requires a lot of investment, and that is showing results step by step, is that of smart cities. In this scenario, governments can address blockchain by grappling with issues such as understanding how disruptive technologies impact government, citizens, and private companies, and whether emerging technologies represent a threat or opportunity for economic growth. The main issues facing the implementation of blockchain and other emerging technologies in the context of smart cities more specifically include the need to incentivize data sharing, governance, financing, and training. And also, at the technological level, the expansion of systems, and the guarantee of data security and privacy, maintaining that complex balance between regulation and innovation, so as not to risk stifling the latter, must also be addressed.
To move forward quickly, we need to give importance to all the angles and themes and address each other, separately and not sequentially. We need to know how to advance in each aspect of the network, in parallel and with the multiple intelligence of respecting what each one contributes from their field, using this transversal axis of technology and among them and among all, above all, we need empathy.
Technological and generational empathy
The Royal Spanish Academy defines empathy as the feeling of identification with something or someone, or the ability to identify with someone and share their feelings.
We can speak of technological empathy from the point of view of solving the complexity of the development of smart cities, in which, all the actors need to develop their work being aware that in parallel, and needing to fix intersections, they need to address technological development, governance, management of services and always personalizing from the point of view of the citizen, who is the main actor in these smart cities, which require years of planning, investment, development and adaptation.
From our reflection, if we start from the base of this empathy in the development of AI towards the development of Blockchain, and we consider convergence with the devices that constantly evolve, and that we connect to the network, we can translate this technological empathy into this ability of technology specialists, system architects, AI expert developers, and Blockchain and electronics expert developers to demonstrate identification one with the other of this cross-technology development. And it is necessary to raise the bridges between generations and the exponential evolution of professions around technology.
The development of AI or Blockchain is no longer possible with only software, electronics, or telecommunications engineers, we need linguists, mathematicians, lawyers, designers, good communicators…. The key is the diversity of the teams and their cohesion to be able to face the complexity of the design of our cities and in general of our industry. And in this diversity, we need to develop technological and generational empathy.
In 2008, Gerri Sinclair and Bruno Cerboni classified five generations regarding the evolution of access to technologies. We go from those born between the years 1925-1945, generation of the appearance of cinema, to those born between 1946-1964 with the appearance of television, to the generation of the years 1965-1979, with a television in each home, and the development of the video game and the appearance of the first computers at home, adding to those born between 1980-2000 for whom the use of the computer is essential, as well as the adoption of the concept of computing, the interconnectivity of the network and the Internet. This is a generation in which it is natural to live in two parallel worlds: the physical, tangible, and the digital, virtual world, and with a connection between them that becomes non-perceptible. Finally, there is the generation born after 2000, the so-called Digital Avatars, who to a large extent live connected to the network and maintain a large number of relationships and virtual communications, and who increasingly resort to a virtual representation to access the Cyberspace.
This generation and all of us who live in this complex 2020, developing the technological and generational empathy we will be able to finalize an innovative development of our digital identity, a transcendental step for a new way of living, better in quality of services and time in common, in a smart city.