Research Summary - Convergence of Blockchain, IoT, and AI

Hey Yen, thanks for the comment and welcome to SCRF! That’s another great convergence idea that you bring up: using AI to recommend different blockchains for different IoT devices.
In terms of theoretical vs. applied research, this paper is much more on the applied research end of the spectrum. It is true that this paper is highly concept-based and takes on more the form of an idea generator than of a finalized implementation. Nonetheless, even the most sophisticated of technologies start off as just an idea.

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Great and easy to read summary!

The convergence of Blockchain, AI and IoT technologies to create systems and applications may be inevitable and will, if/when it happens, turn out to be quite beneficial to most people. When combined, these technologies can boost new business models and disrupt the markets as we have them now.

Artificial Intelligence is able to analyse massive data to extract insightful trends and information from those data. Blockchain will also solve most of the security issues that arise from IoT and AI. Blockchain could also provide better privacy protection and promote ease of payment.

However, to be realistic, managing these technologies singly involves high costs and risks, nonetheless when they are combined. Also, there isn’t enough energy to power systems that will arise from the combination of these technologies. Currently, gas prices are rising exponentially and may continue to rise if there is no deterrent, which in turn, means Blockchain may prove to be far more expensive and difficult to afford. There is also the issue of Bandwidth, with the combination of these technologies, we will need faster and more efficient internet. 5G, I believe, is only the beginning of the sort of Telecoms tech that will be needed. Perhaps, as stated in the key takeaway, by the time these combined technologies are ready for use, these challenges would have been largely surmounted.

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I found one of the comments in this paper very insightful: AI is an automation tool for decision making and it can optimize the way we store data as well as decide on which data we want to store. This characteristic of AI can benefit IoT in controlling facilities in a system. The data that is produced by IoT needs a large and secure medium for storage. This is where blockchain comes in.

Recently I read an article on risks of applying blockchain in IoT (I linked it down below). I extracted and summarized some of the most interesting and important aspects of this source.

Challenges and risks of using blockchain in IoT:

  1. Scalability

Blockchain makes use of decentralized networks in its operation. However, as the size of the ledger increases, the network might become centralized instead. A record management system is required to keep the centralized network in check.

  1. Processing power and time

An IoT system consists of many devices with different levels of processing power. Not all devices can run the same encryption algorithms. In addition, some parts of the IoT system might experience lag.

  1. Storage

Due to the decentralized network in blockchain, the ledger record should be stored on the nodes. The amount of storage needed increases over time, and might even surpass the capabilities of the facilities in an IoT system.

  1. Vendor

As blockchain is a novel technology in this era, human resources with strong technical background and skills are still scarce. To overcome this issue, many organizations and enterprises should hire specialized vendors to set up blockchain solutions. However, it is often hard to find vendors with high credibility.

  1. Security

Despite blockchain’s high security, it is still prone to malicious activity from other parties. This can happen especially on a public blockchain, where many users have a private key to “sign” on transactions as most systems lack multi-factor authentication. In addition, losing the account’s private key means losing the account’s data as well.

  1. Legal issues

The laws governing blockchain and its usage differ among countries. Many businesses prefer to avoid blockchain altogether due to the risks of legal issues.

All in all, there are many elements to consider when applying blockchain in IoT, and I think that among the four convergence cases you give (AIoT, IoT Blockchain, Blockchain AI, and AIoT Blockchain), IoT Blockchain and AIoT are much more studied, yet there are still many unknowns ahead even for these convergence cases.

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