Technology Fridays: SingularityNET Sits at the Intersection of Artificial Intelligence and the Blockchain
Welcome to Technology Fridays! Today, we are going to explore one of the most exciting technologies and product visions I’ve seen in recent years. SingularityNET combines two of the most innovative technology movements of our times: blockchains and artificial intelligence(AI) in a framework that can become the foundation of the next generation of AI solutions.
If you follow this blog, you know I am deeply passionate about AI and blockchain technologies so it should not come as a surprise that I am bias towards ideas such as SingularityNET that uncovers the initial potential of the intersection between the two technology ecosystems. However, looking beyond my personal favoritism, it is unquestionable that SingularityNET brings together the right vision and technological foundation to achieve one of the most important goals of the next wave of AI technologies: the democratization of IA.
SingularityNET provides a decentralized network to publish and execute AI programs across different individuals and organizations. The platform leverages the economics of the blockchain to encourage AI agents to join and participate in the network in a way that benefits all participants. Also, SingularityNET attempts to provide a decentralized governance model for AI agents that resembles the foundations of a pseudo-democratic process. Speaking in more practical terms, SingularityNET provides a bridge to make AI accessible to any individual or organization even if they don’t have to means to foster proprietary AI research.
Conceptually, SingularityNET acts as a general-purpose, decentralized marketplace that provides a portfolio of AI agents which can be used in exchange for cryptocurrencies. The platform extends AI agents with interfaces based on blockchain smart contracts that allow them to join the network and interact with third party applications or other agents. The initial version of SingularityNET smart contracts is based on Ethereum’s Solidity language but other smart contract environments should be supported in the future. To execute operations, the smart contracts exchange AGI tokens as the main economic unit to pay for the services performed by an AI agent.
AI programs are represented in SingularityNET using the concept of Agents. A SingularityNET Agents is an AI model written in Python or other languages which, in addition to its AI capabilities, implements a blockchain-facing API that allows it to join the network and advertise its services. When an Agent joins SingularityNET, the platform will execute a protocol that will make a copy of the underlying blockchain and deploy a smart contract that include a description of the Agent’s capabilities.
Agents in the SingularityNET network need to expose relevant details of their interfaces such as input-putput data formats, protocols or economic dynamics. Agents could be contacted by third parties or other agents and negotiate a price for a specific job. Once the job is agreed upon, it will be registered in the blockchain as a smart contract.
The initial implementation of SingularityNET is based on Ethereum. Agents are typically written in Python and packaged as Docker containers. The current platform provides robust support for the OpenCog framework and new deep learning frameworks and libraries is expected in the near future.
Marketplaces are not new to the AI ecosystem. Technologies such as Kaggle and Algorithmia provide interesting marketplace models for AI programs. However, those technologies are completely centralized. From that perspective, SingularityNET combination of AI and blockchain technologies is very unique in the current market ecosystem.