The world focuses on the intersection of creative AI and cryptocurrency solutions, with recent advances grabbing considerable public interest. Eye-catching metallic spheres with digital ID verification and Bitcoin transactions in exchange for iris scans have surfaced. This technical progress has prompted a global discussion about whether we are on the verge of a brighter future or the verge of tragedy.
The concept of managing identities in an increasingly dangerous digital ecosystem teeming with bots, scammers, and even fake artificial intelligence is at the heart of these devices. The device’s primary function is to scan the user’s iris, providing incontrovertible proof of human identification. This system is distinguished by using cryptographic zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs) as IDs rather than standard biometric data storage.
Enthusiasts envision a future where these digital IDs allow users to visit websites while protecting their personal information from potential breaches. However, privacy experts have expressed concerns about the project’s data-collecting tactics and the ZKPs’ capacity to provide the safe and private login service customers expect.
In 2021, Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who famously disclosed information revealing vast electronic eavesdropping in 2013, warned against adopting biometrics. He emphasized building a global database of iris scans, underlining that even if the project claims to have deleted the images, hashes that can match future scans are still retained. Furthermore, despite the project’s dedication to decentralization, experts claim that early-stage centralization risks continue due to the device’s unverifiable design, potentially opening doors to vulnerabilities.
Some argue for discontinuing AI development entirely, such as Mo Gawdat, who left Google X, the company’s ambitious projects branch, due to concerns about AI’s dangers. According to Gawdat, the risk of a catastrophic disaster occurring within a few years is greater with AI than with climate change.
In March, Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and Stability AI CEO Emad Mostaque asked for a six-month moratorium on developing AI more powerful than OpenAI’s GPT-4. They expressed alarm about an “out-of-control race” among tech giants to develop AI systems that could destabilize civilization.
Despite the controversy and uncertainty, the AI-crypto sector thrives and shows no signs of stopping. In 2021, the blockchain-AI industry was valued at $230.1 million, with forecasts predicting that it will exceed a billion dollars by 2030, expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 24.1%. According to CoinMarketCap, the value of tokens for AI-crypto projects now surpasses $4 billion and is rising.
Decentralized access to machine learning training models and generative AI music is currently available through innovative projects at the interface of AI and blockchain. This integration of artificial intelligence and private markets has the potential to democratize financial resources and opportunities, particularly in private capital markets where private equity has historically outperformed public equity.
Finally, the connected journey of crypto and AI becomes more complex with each passing day, followed by both obstacles and solutions. The extent to which this integration will have an influence and whether governments will interfere to regulate it are open questions that will be answered only in time.