Recently I’ve been thinking about the intersection of blockchain and AI. Although several exciting directions are rising from the convergence of these technologies, I want to explore a specific one: accountability.
One of the hottest discussions on AI is whether to constraint AI with regulation and ethics to prevent an apocalyptic future. Without going into whether it is right or wrong to do so, I think that blockchain can play a crucial role if such future direction materialize. There is a particular group of AI applications, mostly including automated decision making, which can impact life and death. For example, an autonomous driving algorithm can decide that will eventually end with an accident and loss of life. In a world where AI is under scrutiny for ethical compliance, accountability will be the most crucial aspect. To create the technological platform for accountability, we need to record decisions taken by algorithms. Documenting those decisions can take place inside the vendor database or a trusted distributed ledger. Recording decisions in the vendor database is somewhat the natural path for implementing such capability though it suffers from a lack of neutrality, lack of authenticity, and lack of integrity. A decision is a piece of knowledge that should reside in the public domain while maintaining the privacy of the intellectual property of the vendor. Blockchain as a trusted distributed ledger can be the perfect paradigm for saving such evidence of truth about decisions taken by machines, evidence that can stand in court. Blockchain can be a neutral middleware shared by the auto vendors or a service rendered by the government.