The Trust Paradigm - Bridging AI with Blockchain for Onchain Economies

Robin A. Nordnes
January 18, 2024
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As we witness AI surpass human judgment and intelligence, the challenge we face is not just technological but philosophical: How do we align these agents of intelligence with our human values and ethics, and establish trust?
The future belongs to those who are proactive—thinkers and builders who not only identify challenges but also forge solutions. It's a call to action, urging us not to be bystanders but active participants in shaping a future where technology and humanity converge harmoniously. With the future rapidly evolving at an unprecedented pace, understanding and adapting to these changes is not just important—it's imperative for staying relevant in this fast-evolving landscape.

It is crucial to prioritize the development of systems that ensure the preservation of human intent within AI models. Over the past year, the field of Artificial Intelligence has witnessed a notable surge in the emergence of new models and applications, coinciding with a substantial rise in the demand for GPU computing resources. This trend, reminiscent of a Cambrian explosion in technology, has been noticeable since the release of the seminal 2017 paper 'Attention is All You Need' by Ashish Vaswani and fellow Google researchers. This paper introduced the Transformer Architecture, sparking a wave of innovation in model architectures, including breakthroughs such as ChatGPT.

With the immense power of AI comes a substantial responsibility. In this context, we must consider various perspectives on the advancement of intelligent models.

One such viewpoint is existentialist, as exemplified by the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI). MIRI's recent unveiling of their 'Death With Dignity' strategy reflects a certain acknowledgment of the challenges in aligning AI with human values: "It's evident at this point that humanity isn't going to solve the alignment problem, or even try very hard, or even go out with much of a fight. Since survival is unattainable, we should shift the focus of our efforts to helping humanity die with slightly more dignity." The alignment problem revolves around the philosophical and ethical congruence between intelligent machines and humans.

Considering Peter Thiel's insights from his 'Anti-Anti-Anti-Anti Classical Liberalism' talk at the Oxford Union, we recognize that existentialists risk falling behind. The future necessitates proactive engagement and optimistic adaptation. In this swiftly evolving landscape, our objective should be to ensure that AI development aligns with ethical principles and human values, fostering a future where technology augments human potential rather than diminishing it.

Just as Satoshi Nakamoto's 2008 Bitcoin white paper emerged in response to the trust deficiencies in the financial system highlighted by The Great Financial Crisis, we see a similar opportunity to leverage cryptographic verification and game-theoretic equilibrium in AI. These technologies, pivotal in building secure blockchain systems, have the potential to instill comparable trust in AI. By adopting these principles, we can develop distributed AI systems that are inherently secure and trustworthy.

To make the convergence of AI and Crypto more tangible, it's helpful to envision the general direction in which we are heading, using it as a visionary compass. Mason Nystrom from Variant Fund, in his recent essay, emphasized how 'Bots are becoming the first-class citizens of crypto.' This essay shed light on the burgeoning role of autonomous agents in the crypto landscape. Currently seen as novelties, these AI agents are on the brink of a major evolution. In the near future, they are expected to enrich consumer experiences, play pivotal roles in various protocols, and drive self-sustaining economies.

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