Why Effect.AI Might Just Prevent The Apocalypse

in #cryptocurrency3 years ago (edited)

THE "FRANKENSTEIN" PARANOIA

I’d love to get through an article discussing the development of AI without dropping in any clichéd references to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, I really would – but, look, why put off the inevitable? There really is no clearer illustration of how, during periods of radical technological progress, we tend to use Science Fiction as a kind of therapeutic outlet for our collective hang-ups and paranoias. This year marks the 200th anniversary of Shelley’s classic gothic masterwork – a book she wrote as part of a horror-writing competition with her husband Percy-Bysshe and Romantic poet homeboy Lord Byron, during a time when the world was shifting dramatically. The Industrial Revolution was in full swing, disrupting almost every aspect of human life, changing where people lived and how they worked and even upsetting their fundamental beliefs about their place in the universe. Transition is frightening, and Shelley’s book tapped into that unvoiced concern we often have at the back of our minds when progress threatens to sweep away our old certainties: 

“Can we stay in control?” 

I mean, it’s no wonder she blew Byron’s novella about sexy vampires out of the water…

Exactly two centuries later and these preoccupations remain as prevalent as ever. Whilst we now know that we can’t give life to new beings through galvanism or blasting corpses with lightning (sorry, Shelley), a 21st century “monster” has emerged in the form of Artificial Intelligence (referred to by some as the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”). From Asimov and the Teminator franchise to Alex Garland’s brilliant Ex Machina, our worries about AI have been a compelling mainstay of the entertainment industry for many decades, but we’re now reaching the point where what was once the sole domain of fiction is becoming a fundamental part of our daily reality… and, naturally, it has some people worried. 

A long list of distinguished figures in science and technology have come forward at varying points to warn of the potential dangers posed by AI, including Professor Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Bill Gates. One particular scenario that causes much of the panic and hand-wringing is the idea of the "technological singularity”: the notion that we’ll end up building machines of sufficient intelligence that they’ll be able to re-design themselves to be even more intelligent, bringing about a feedback loop that leads to… well, the kind of sensationalist doomsday scenarios we’ve enjoyed scaring ourselves with in films and books for the last 70 years or so.

So what’s the solution: do we attempt to ban progress – do we campaign to have the genie put back in the bottle? History shows us that this is virtually impossible, and is probably about as sensible as Mary Shelley campaigning to have the steam engine made illegal... "You can't turn the omelette back into eggs", as Andreas Antonopoulos so perfectly puts it (in this case, talking about another disruptor: Bitcoin) Moreover, to think like this is to ignore the countless ways AI stands to enhance and improve our quality of life: from freeing us from the burden of repetitive tasks and creating better jobs, to improving medicine and even helping us explore space [1].  Over the last five years, there has been an explosion in the number of practical AI applications. From image translation and advanced voice recognition in smart phones to more dramatic developments like self-driving cars – AI is gradually working its way into our everyday lives. A 2017 report asserts that the AI industry is likely to reach a compound annual growth rate of 17.2 percent by 2023, with the market swelling to a staggering $14.2 billion over the next six years (up from just $525 million in 2015)[2] up to $15.7 trillion as early as 2030[3].  Anyone with any sense can see that AI is already here to stay, and rather than uselessly ignoring or resisting it, we need to embrace and work with it. Yes, there are potential risks involved, but I think it all comes down to that thorny issue of ensuring that we maintain a high degree of transparency and democratic control.

THE "SKYNET" PROBLEM and EFFECT.AI's THREE PHASE SOLUTION

Enter Effect.AI and The Effect Network; a disruptive blockchain solution to a disruptive technological problem.

If those good old Terminator films have taught us anything (apart from the fact that Christian Bale is obviously a nightmare to work with…), it’s that allowing AI development to be monopolised by a single corporate interest is probably not a Nobel Prize winning idea. I'm looking at you, Cyberdyne. However, the problem remains that, thanks to the colossal expenses involved, even though academic papers and achievements are available to the public, the vast majority of intelligent algorithms are currently developed behind the closed doors of large, relatively opaque companies. Whilst decentralisation and transparency are clearly more crucial than ever in this field, achieving them looks far from straightforward.  

It was as a response to precisely this problem that the Dutch company Effect.Ai was founded in 2015. Having worked together at Itsavirus, a company with nearly a decade’s worth of experience developing tech for large multinationals such as Heineken and Shell, the core team split away to pursue their vision of bringing greater democracy to the AI development industry. It is their firm belief that having an open, accessible and affordable platform for developing and operating intelligent algorithms is a necessity as we move forward in this hugely significant and disruptive field. And the exciting thing is, they look like they have all the tools to deliver it. 

Unlike OpenAI, the non-profit operated by Elon Musk – a project with which Effect.AI shares a number of goals (notably, a desire to create safe artificial intelligence and ensure that AI's benefits are as widely and evenly distributed as possible) – Effect.AI draws upon the transparency and decentralised power of the NEO blockchain. Moreover, unlike many companies that are currently piggy-backing on cryptocurrency’s share price-boosting power as a buzzword, the blockchain represents a fundamental (rather than ornamental) part of their vision. In fact, so ambitious is this vision, that they’ve had to break it down into three distinct parts:    

Phase 1: Effect Mechanical Turk 

Although machine learning is in a comparatively advanced state these days, AIs still perform inconsistently when it comes to tasks such as image classification, audio transcription and data labelling, and training AI algorithms is a long and painstaking process that still requires human assistance. Accordingly, the initial phase of The Effect Network will involve an interactive marketplace for tasks that still require human intelligence. This will grant AI developers and businesses direct access to an on-demand, scalable and globally distributed workforce of human assistants. You can think of this element as a decentralised version of Mechanical Turk (M-Turk) that will allow anyone in the world to choose from a variety of tasks and receive fair payment for performing them. 

Emphasis on fair: I cast my mind back with a shudder to my Uni days and making about 16p (around 0.8 USD) in an afternoon of repetitive drudge on Clickworker (times were hard). Thanks to Effect Mechanical Turk’s decentralised nature and lack of fees, Effect.AI’s human workforce will be considerably better remunerated than I was then – receiving their payment in the form of a liquid NEP-5 token called EFX. And the Effect team are so serious about guaranteeing a beneficial exchange rate, they are implementing something called the Effect.AI Galaxy Network (EGP) – a governed exchange system and pool filled with NEO and GAS, along with EFX and other NEP5 tokens, that will assure stable exchange rates and the ability to increase liquidity. It’s clearly win:win for both workers and requesters, and whilst it may not be on quite the same dramatic level as, say, sparing humanity from robot-inflicted laser death, offering a generation of students a non-exploitative way to make extra money whilst pushing forward the development of advanced AI is still doing society a pretty awesome service!   


Phase 2: Effect AI Marketplace 

The second phase of The Effect Network is a natural progression of the network from phase 1, expanding out from the exchange of human mediated services, into a decentralised platform where buyers and sellers will be able to exchange AI services. They call this the Effect AI Smart Market. This marketplace will allow those AI developers who have a functional algorithm to sell, rent or even donate its services for a simple and easy payment (again in the form of the EFX utility token). There is also a collaborative element here, as algorithms will have the ability to communicate and work with other algorithms and purchase services from each other – helping to accelerate development.   


Phase 3: Effect Decentralized AI 

If phases one and two worked to decentralise the data gathering process and the use of the algorithms, the final phase involves relocating computation itself to a globally distributed network with no single point of failure: i.e. the development of a fully decentralized computational platform with the ability to run popular deep learning frameworks. This “Effect Decentralized AI engine” will be based on popular deep-learning networks like Caffe, MXNet and Tensor flow and will supply the computational power needed to run AI algorithms globally. They plan on achieving this either through partnerships with other projects (for example, the decentralised blockchain “supercomputer,” Golem [4]) or through actually creating the framework themselves.  

And there you have it, the blockchain answer to Robo-geddon: an open, democratised and decentralised AI development platform that puts control back in the hands of the many, not the few – and, all facetiousness about the end of the world aside, a fantastically worthwhile project with a good ethos, poised on the brink of achieving some very exciting things in an industry set for exponential growth. So next time someone famous tweets about how we’re on a collision course with doomsday and calls for heavy regulation or an outright ban of AI development, maybe point them in the direction of Effect.AI?  

It might just help them chill out a bit.                

Main Site - https://www.Effect.AI  

Whitepaper - https://effect.ai/download/effect_whitepaper.pdf   

Social Media:

Youtube - https://youtu.be/gJ-5wYjUkFA
Twitter - https://twitter.com/effectaix
Reddit - https://www.reddit.com/r/effectai
Medium - https://medium.com/@effectai
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/effectai/
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/company/27091205/
Steemit - https://www.steemit.com/@effectai
GitHub - https://github.com/effectai
Effect AI ANN  -  https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=2737469.0;all 

Footnotes:

[1] https://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/research/exploringtheuniverse/spiffy.html   

[2] https://www.wiseguyreports.com/reports/2111655-global-artificial-intelligence-ai-market-outlook-2024-global-opportunity-and-demand   

[3] https://medium.com/effect-ai/announcing-effect-ais-288dc5e4733a  

[4] https://golem.network/    

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If Skynet is created by the people instead of tech giants, we might just have a chance at taking it down.

Get on board guys, your planet needs you.

Haha! I feel like that wasn't exactly my point here - but I love the Resistance Movement recruitment drive! Fact is, AI is coming whether we like it or not. "You can't turn the omelette back into eggs" to borrow a phrase from Andreas Antonopoulos... Let's make sure it's out in the open, not behind closed doors, and we can collectively make sure we don't get a Skynet situation! It's almost a shame because I was hoping to find a use for my new Elon Musk flamethrower...

Really hope that Effect.AI team will implement everything that they plan to. Very serious and important project in my opinion.

Agreed. Thanks for the comment. ^^

Very nice and detailed article and well written. This will give almost the whole details about the effect.ai project, status, MVP and ICO. I am going to immediately share this in twitter to my fellow followers for the better understanding of the effect.ai project.

Many thanks for the kind comment. I think it's one of this year's most exciting projects for sure.

Hope i will pass Whitelist, this project is really great!

Yeah, likewise my man. Thanks for the comment.

AI is developing at an incredible rate and blockchain technology will become the driver, which will make AI our routine. I am sure that in 5 years we will all remember this day and this article with a smile. Flywheel launched and its momentum is so strong that no power structure will not be able to stop him. The world government (if it exists) would be happy to take over the development of AI, but with the advent of blockchain it is impossible to do. And this fact pleases me very much. The Effect AI is a good project, I like it. Let's see what happens in the spring, when the entire cryptocurrency market goes up.

I absolutely share in your excitement. I think crypto and AI will take us towards a safer, more egalitarian world, where narrow corporate and political interests will have far less power over us, and where the sovereignty of the individual will be far, far greater. Thanks for the great comment.

Haha cool HAL avatar by the way. Very appropriate!

Should we already start the countdown of the MTurk as we used to know it? (disclaimer: already bought NEO to participate in ICO)

itresting concept, AI and decentralisation. Couldn't actually be more dangerous, as there wont be one central point to shut it down?

Thanks for the reply hefziba. Yes, it can seem like a paradox - how can decentralisation give us greater control? I think the main thing is transparency. I'd argue that ensuring that AI algorithm development takes place in an open, peer-reviewed ecosystem dramatically reduces the likelihood of us ever "needing to shut something down" - than trusting a small cabal of corporations to act in our best interests. Rather like how the free market is antithetical to corruption and protectionism. However, whether public or private, building in failsafes etc. has to be a fundamental part of development.

I get what you mean, I’m actually really excited to see where AI can take us, not so much afraid. But I can see that the process of development has no control right now, just like medicine and food didn’t have any controls in the younger years, but are controlled now. I do wonder if decentralized will be the solution to control the process in a peer reviewed way. But I think it’s a very interesting concept.

They have answered your question in one of their recent video where they discussed about the effect.ai project. I will try to find and post it for you soon. Actually your question seems to be more about the basics of decentralization than effect.ai.

Nice - I may have already seen the one you are referring to. But I'd be really interested to see it if you manage to post it. Cheers. ^^

This is the most important features of blockchain tech - transparency and decentralization. And it fits the AI perfectly, like a natural match. I'm glad there are projects like Effect.AI, so the big corporations won't take all AI developement behind closed doors. More competition is always good.

is this a real threat? I do not think that the effect and AI could be as hopeless as film scenarios in which something goes wrong. in effect is an excellent team that certainly will not let you destroy the world :)

No, I don't personally think it's a threat at all. It's natural that people fear things they don't understand - or developments that threaten to change the paradigm they have grown used to. Humans can be pretty conservative by default! As you say, Effect is a fantastic team - and transparency and decentralisation will help keep insular political and corporate motivations OUT of AI development... and that makes things a whole lot safer and fairer for all.

Effect.ai is one of the best ICO with strong Team along with top notch advisers. Effect.ai is built on NEO NEP -5 token, this project will help business to get quality workforce to get the task done cost effectively. They are decentralizing workforce using AI

Absolutely. On top of all this, they will do wonders for productivity.

Nicely written analysis. Sounds like a great project.

WOw. Thats alot of things to read and understand. Keep up the good work guys. I believe in you

Just read your article and was skimming through the comments, thank you for the mention. Your article was very well put too :)

Thank you - I really appreciate that ^^! I'm a big fan of your digests, and I like the way you are able to condense and summarise projects so lucidly. I find them very helpful. Alas, in my case, to quote Mark Twain: “I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead”!

I have initially been much attracted by the mere high score and hype of this project. After a deeper look into whiteppaer, and ever growing team + more innotiave way of promoting this program via bounty, I believe i'm much engrossed by the amazing capability of the team. Please keep it up!

Yes, agreed. It's one of those cases where the more research you do about them, the more convinced you become :)

i joined first day of whitelist. i hope i passed. if u want to support this amazing project invest. Dont be late. Join us.

Yeah, time is of the essence eh? ^^

Great Concept, Great Team. Thanks for this information cryptocontender. I am pretty sure this project is so amazing. I already join the whilstlist and already bought NEO to participate in ICO. happy crypto

You're not wrong there mate, they are a quality team and a quality project. We are living in exciting times.