Is Blockchain Really The Fourth Revolution?

By Rushali Shome

Not long after the advent of the internet, efficient energy and digital technology spurred theorists to announce that the third industrial revolution had arrived; blockchain is all set to become the fourth chapter of mankind’s progress towards further development. The fourth revolution will include components that continue to baffle even young millennials- such as artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT) with blockchain being an imperative part of it.

Recent days have seen the ascendence of data as corporates and people continue to record every conceivable form of data ranging from what we search for on Google to what we binge on, on Netflix. No matter what the nature of the data is, every kind of them has a specific use that can drive businesses, influence elections or assess a target audience. With the need to collect such an overwhelming amount of data, comes an immense need to be able to store them safely.

Blockchain technology addresses this very need by storing data in unique, yet connected blocks that rely on several participants or node computers to give validity to any updated piece of data on the network. This practice ensures a high degree of security and immutability and the fact that it incorporates several participants adds an element of decentralization that further strengthens the security of the network.Blockchain has the potential to combine incredibly well with the other elements of the potential fourth revolution.

Blockchain is capable of working closely with artificial intelligence (AI) by feeding data to the latter in a secure way. While improving efficiency, the data shared remains tamper-proof and anonymous. With blockchain, it becomes possible to inject a new degree of trust and transparency in artificial intelligence. Recent times have seen mounting concerns about robotic intelligence adversely affecting humankind. With blockchain, it becomes easy to track AI insights and put those concerns to rest as humans begin to better understand the inner workings of AI.

Blockchain and AI can come together to facilitate the coming of the fourth revolution by incorporating their respective technologies in creating Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs). In addition, smart contracts, which are increasingly in use in today’s blockchain world, can help govern the ever-increasing levels of data through pre-set conditions and stipulations for data processing. With DAOs, it will become possible to get work done by having human beings only control the primary programming and developing part of things, with the rest being technologically empowered to become completely automated.

How can IoT and Blockchain work in tandem to usher in the fourth revolution? The possibilities are endless, ranging from smart grids to virtual highways. Blockchain can also add to the interconnectivity promised by the 5G revolution, by helping organizations handle and process huge amounts of data and thereby keeping a larger number of devices simultaneously on loop. In a world dominated by blockchain technology, it would also become more convenient as well as effective to have cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoins and Ethers pay the bills and run the show. Admittedly, that time is not here yet and the it may be a long while before Bitcoin becomes mainstream but once fourth revolution is underway, it will become a distinct possibility rather than a distant dream. As the atomic swap technology gets fine-tuned to allow for altcoin-Bitcoin exchanges, the move might become easier to achieve. Regardless of the speed with which it is adopted, it is undeniable that this particular asset class has a great deal of potential to transform the world economy.

While the flamboyant aspect of the Fourth Industrial Revolution would include technologies like AI or the IoT, it will be a revolution based and built on blockchain.

Rushali Shome

Rushali Shome is a history undergraduate with a keen interest in puns, politics and beyond. When not typing away furiously in the “Notes” section of her phone, she can be found trying to catch the eye of servers at restaurants or weddings for a second helping.

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