What is ScyNet

And why the need for a transparent decentralized AI network

Credits: https://imgur.com/gallery/ixobZ

Surely you’ve heard of the notorious rogue AI from the Terminator franchise? If not, here’s a quick catch-up — the US military senselessly granted control of their complete arsenal to the omnipotent AI they hoped would protect them, Skynet. Shortly after, the AI turned against its human creators and all hell broke loose.

Skynet’s overtake is a story about one fatal mistake. A mistake of a single human being incentivized by profit. And with the way our world is going about AI development, the chances of a supercomputer being controlled by a single entity are rapidly increasing.

Today the most robust AI instances are being developed by a few private companies, with endless resources and a common goal — maximize profits [even if they deny it]. Even if the story of Skynet seems like a far-fetched fantasy, the threat of single individuals doing harm is real.

To oppose, we are building ScyNet, as we believe a decentralized, transparent, open-source approach is the way to go. ScyNet is a decentralized infrastructure for creating and training autonomous AI agents, built to serve and empower humanity.

In this article, we will explore why it is needed today, how the parties in its ecosystem benefit from it and what new we bring to the table when it comes to decentralized AI.

Starting with the Why

ScyNet combines two of the most exciting technologies that are changing our world — Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence.

If we are to understand why are we mixing these two, we should first understand what’s the current status of AI development.

  1. AI is no longer a futuristic sci-fi concept. This technology is changing the world on a macro scale, disrupting industries like finance, law, healthcare, media, etc. According to a research by the McKinsey Global Institute, AI will generate an amount sizeable to the GDP of Japan and Germany, the world’s 3rd and 4th top economies respectively.
  2. The modern approach to Artificial Intelligence is called Deep Learning. It’s part of the machine learning family and, as such, it requires a continuous supply of data. This way, today a computer can identify patterns without being explicitly programmed for all possible scenarios.
  3. As of last year, thanks to Google’s AutoML a machine beat the best human researchers at training another AI. AI is effectively better at improving itself than we can be. All it needs to become even better is- more processing power.
  4. Training AI requires a lot of processing power. It’s then hardly a surprise that the leaders in the AI field are megacorporations like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, which own tens of thousands of servers (millions in Alphabet’s case).

To summarize — AI is already heavily ingrained in our world. But the best instances are owned by public corporations with the pyramidal structure of a typical centralized organization. On top of which is the public pressure from the retail shareholders and major investors, who just want to see the value of their assets grow.

The question is: Do we want the most powerful AI being developed and privately owned organizations? Could a decentralized network provide an alternative?

You might ask, even if we could open the development of AI to a network of people, owned by everyone, how would we keep single individuals from starting the same cutthroat game a new?

You would be right to. There is a problem we’ve had for centuries, called the Byzantine fault tolerance. It effectively disabled a fair game when there is a dissymmetry of information. It required trust.

However, ten years ago a smart individual (or a group of people) came up with a very practical solution to this problem. Moreover, in their famous paper, Satoshi Nakamoto outlined the principles of a peer-to-peer network of incentivized nodes that was later called blockchain and allowed the creation of a decentralized autonomous ledger.

Finally, technology has caught up and, thanks to Blockchain, the decentralized development of AI is now absolutely possible.

With ScyNet, we aim to build a 100% transparent open-source platform for decentralized AI development.

How does it work?

First of all, ScyNet is a network of AI agents. Each of them specializes in a certain task. Agents can also collaborate and compose complex structures to resolve more complicated problems.

The agents are produced by Controller Machine Learning algorithms, also known as AutoML metaheuristics. The network autonomously self-improves, as it learns how to learn to produce better AI agents.

The much-needed processing power is provided by miner nodes. These can be the same nodes that are currently mining Ethereum, for example.

A quick detour from ScyNet… As you might have heard, the Ethereum blockchain is set for a major fork, that will change the consensus algorithm from Proof of Work (PoW) to Proof of Stake (PoS).

What would happen to all those miners, once the upgrade goes through and their expensive equipment is no longer needed?

Obviously, they will look for alternatives. And ScyNet with its useful Proof of Work (uPoW) algorithm is one. Similarly to the way other blockchains reward their miners with newly minted tokens, ScyNet would provide an incentive, albeit for meaningful work — helping AI agents improve.

This brings us to ScyNet’s inherent circular Utility Token economy. It encourages AutoML computing nodes to provide data and train agents.

Furthermore, the whole infrastructure is open-source, i.e. it is publicly available. Any developer could build and upload AutoML metaheuristics. Since people and organizations would pay to use the best-performing agents, built on ScyNet, programmers would always have the incentive to submit better designs.

A marketplace like this also means that self-employed programmers would be able to profit from their own AI code.

First target market and what’s possible

Building an AI infrastructure on the Blockchain might sound cool, but it’s worthless without a real-life application, in response to an existing demand.

That is why ScyNet will initially focus on providing solutions for the particular domain of trading. We lay the foundations for trading applications by building a data provider API and a computing cluster.

This is only the beginning of what is possible to achieve with ScyNet. The Deep Learning technology has already been successfully involved in speech and image recognition, language processing, recommendation engines, biodata processing and diagnosis, self-driving cars, and a lot more.

With the ecosystem of builders and trainers in place, ScyNet could become the ultimate decentralized infrastructure for AI.

DAOception

ScyNet itself is a designed as a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) and is an initiative of another working DAO — the Comrade Cooperative.

Comrade is an autonomous digital cooperative, managed through members’ democratic consensus. Utilizing blockchain, we collaborate remotely, manage agreements, fund each other ideas and share the profits of our labour. All of which as we see fair. To achieve all this, we use an open-source framework called Wetonomy to manage our DAO.

Here you can meet the current Comrade contributors.

AI to serve and empower humanity

Nowadays, entrepreneurs and scientists are warning of the dangers of conscious superintelligence. There is no certainty we can simulate conscience, but automation is already replacing the human workforce. The smarter the software systems we are building, the more industries are becoming ripe for massive disruption.

The race to a supercomputer is on. We can’t really abandon the research now and stop advancing the field. The stakes are high and, if we do this right, machines can supplement humans in dealing with issues, that currently seem unsolvable.

No more hunger in the world. Interstellar space colonization. Eternal youth.

AI could bring unimaginable abundance to humanity.

Sounds bonkers? Technology advances exponentially. Try explaining the modern world with its Internet, communication devices, electric cars, space sats, etc. to a 17th -century human being.

So how do we do AI right? Truth be told, no one has the answer. There might be more than one way, too. But you could think of what doesn’t feel right.

AI developed behind the closed doors of a huge corporation, driven by profits and constantly rushed by shareholders whose major concern is to increase valuation of their assets.

OR

An open-source, completely transparent decentralized platform made by a DAO. Where everyone is properly incentivized and AI is funded for the main reason it should exist — solving complex problems.

If we do this right, machines can supplement humans in dealing with issues, that currently seem unsolvable. No more hunger in the world. AI could bring unimaginable abundance to humanity.

Pick your future.

Join the community

Want to learn more, get in touch, ask questions, ‘break’ the system, or get involved in any other way?

We are building our own cozy place on Discord and you are always welcome to join.