Irrational Exuberance or

Why you need Blockchain

Mark ULRIKSEN

Alan Greenspan — the much-loved and equally hated Federal reserve chairman of the late 1990’s — coined the term ‘irrational exuberance’. Though it had a negative connotation to it, the investor Fred Wilson took it and said ‘Nothing important has ever been built without irrational exuberance’. I believe that.

Blockchain is something that goes through that exuberant stage now. Whether it is irrational or not is something that will be determined in the days to come. I believe that the exuberance it brings out will endure it as a technology solution in the days to come. It is more of a conviction than a belief.

Every new technology by nature, brings out an exuberant following and a lot of naysayers. Which side to take anyway? A lot of people for reasons which can be crazy, chose to take either side for reasons which have nothing to do with the said-technology.

Blockchain — for example — elicits a lot of excitement and a lot of head-scratching at the same time. A lot of nay-saying and head-scratching happens while trying to figure out what to do with Blockchain. The proto-typing route gives the middle path wherein you are committedly non-committal.

So why does anyone need Blockchain? The answer is that because it is the future. I will try to explain why you need it just based on one scenario.

The next ten years is going to be the age of interconnected technology and artificial intelligence getting built into every object of significance. In fact, we are already seeing the starting of that now.

One of the challenges that is already felt is the sheer data volume and the processing power that is needed for the AI databases. Today most of what is called AI programming is actually the scaled up Expert systems of the old ages. As this evolves into more ML model training and NLP based programming, the heavy processing load and the advanced analytics of such a platform calls for a new set of infrastructure and a re-look at the way the data is stored and accessed.

While these systems are built as accessories to the existing legacy world, soon the business adoption is going to force a spurt of newer infrastructure needs which is going to involve combining existing technologies with newer technology adoptions.

What we are going to see more and more is a convergence of these technologies — the decentralized storage and processing potential of the Blockchain combining with the AI requirements for quicker ML model training and for processing deep learning algorithms.

My favorite reference for this theory is the HBR article by Iansiti and Lakhani — which brilliantly uses the adoption of TCP/IP protocol as an example to show how Blockchain is a foundation technology — the novelty of which makes it difficult for people to understand the solution domains and adoption actually disrupts the existing technology setup.

It is an important article which while talking about the road-map for adoption of a ‘Novel’ and ‘complex’ technology like Blockchain talk a little about the trans-formative quadrant of change Blockchain will bring about. This quadrant is the convergence of the AI and Blockchain technologies which will revolutionize the future.

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