How Decentralized AI Can Change the Lives of Millions

The most powerful innovation in history is ready for the spotlight.

Hruy Tsegaye
5 min readNov 14, 2017


Through the Looking Glass

For thousands of years, social inequality has been arguably the most important question in need of immediate answer, yet has resisted every attempt to solve it. It is one of the major causes of humanity’s integral problems like war, crime, disease, racism, irrationality, etc. Name the problem and you will find inequality either at the root of it, or the fertilizer.

The inequality question is difficult not because of its ideological complexity, rather it becomes the headache of our time, just as it was for our predecessors, because of its impracticability.

Civilizations in the past have either suppressed it, ignored it, or anathematised it. Yet, many regimes in modern time learned, at one time or another, the bitter truth about it: empires begin to crack and then ultimately fail when the inequality among their subjects widens beyond the point of no return.

If inequality was not the major reason for the fall, then at least it was the weapon to instigate the mass to fight for a better life.

The earth has stood still through several forms of governments, economic theories, and even sheer stupidity. What has been constant through all these changes was, and still is, the biased arena; those who have a lot need little to win in life while those who have nothing need almost everything.

This works not only for nations and start-up companies, but also for each person alive today. Its impact is not limited to economic interactions and the business world; you can see and feel its iron shackle on education, environment, governance, agriculture, behavior, sport, and enlightenment.

Why inequality is so malevolent when combined with technology

Inequality is dangerous because the tech world tends to concentrate money in the hands of the fewest. From the beginning, wealth is concentrated in the hands of the few, but now technology will narrow the set of the few to the fewer.

Let’s take WhatsApp as an example. In 2014, Facebook closed the deal for a staggering $19 billion USD. At the time, WhatsApp only had around 50 employees. According to the deal, $3 billion of the purchase went to early employees and the remaining $16 billion was sliced between the two founders: Jan Koum and Brian Acton.

This type of wealth distribution is not an isolated story.

Instagram, when it was bought by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion, had 13 employees. Mojang, the creators of Minecraft, had 12 employees before Microsoft acquired it for $2.5 billion. At the time of Oculus VR’s acquisition, the company had 75 employees and Facebook closed the deal in 2014 for $2 billion. Nest Labs had only 280 employees before it was acquired by Google in January 2014 for $3.2 billion.

One can list hundreds of tech companies that were sold for more than $500 million whilst they had less than a thousand employees. There goes the archaic academic notion that a billion-dollar company feeds hundred thousand people.

Technology may exacerbate global inequality

The age of giant companies and millions of employees is fading fast. Technological unemployment is going to be the new plague.

My current office, in my position as AI advisor to SingularityNET, is in Ethiopia. Africa will surely suffer because of this technological unemployment.

The trend of replacement by machines (either software or hardware) clearly shows that the first line of work to be fully automated or robotised is that of low-level jobs. Under this category, you will find factory workers, clerks, chauffeurs, farmers, waiters, cleaners, and the like.

Unfortunately, Africa’s job market is characterised by low-level-jobs and the majority of Africans are engaged in such mundane tasks. It is not a big surprise why many of Africans are not well paid for what they do; most low-level-jobs are also those that pay the least.

There is hope in decentralized technologies

My belief is that decentralized technologies have the potential to level the playing field on a global level. When the community itself owns and governs the platform, there no longer is a single, centralized entity making the rules to benefit the few, while extracting a slice of value at every stage of the process.

The project that I’m currently working for, SingularityNET, is a newly born tech company with a new path forward that combines progressive technology with a reduction in wealth distribution. It provides a shield for the biased arena.

In the previous section, one can see that the biased arena demands a lot for those who have little. Because of this, many companies (especially in Africa) find it improbable, if not impossible, to compete in the international market when it comes to industrial products.

While Africa struggles with unprocessed agricultural products, the remaining continents exploit Africa as their beloved destination for their goods. On average, 68% of the goods and services sold in the continent is imported from abroad.

The unchallenged answer for Africa’s impotence toward creating a competing industry is lack of technology and skilled human resources.

SingularityNET can provide an answer. The organization provides AI-based cloud computing services in addition to a platform where developers can contribute AI tools and make a profit whenever someone utilizes it on SingularityNet.

With the addition of decentralized companies like SingularityNET, the biased arena seems a little bit weaker. Now, a little software company in Central African Republic can access a top-notch AI tool at a price they can afford.

The research centers, universities, and defense sector in sub-Saharan Africa used to spend billions of dollars to get the services that SingularityNET will provide. By the time SingularityNET’s platform integrates various AI tools and software from multiple developers around the world, it will become a place where small African businesses can access gigantic tools.