Can you combine blockchain and machine learning?
July 28, 2021
9 min read
Humans have managed to pull off a miraculous task of creating systems that work better than them. There is no doubt in the fact that today, machines are taking over tasks on behalf of humans, irrespective of how simple or complex they are. Right from processing the coffee production in the factories to making morning coffee in your house, machines can do it all. Some operational mechanisms have thoroughly changed the way we look at tasks these days. Not only because they have become much easier in our interest, but they have also become some of the most revolutionary inventions of all time.
For instance, the entire concept of Artificial Intelligence has been raging in major sectors like agriculture, healthcare, retail, education, and so on. RPA, which is Robotic process automation, has brought an exceptional sense of automation in machines. Similarly, there are two other operating systems that have emerged in the market over the past few years and have been progressing ever since. We’re talking about machine learning and Blockchain here.
These two technologies back some of the greatest inventions, majorly because of how powerful and capable they are. But, what do they exactly do? What are the benefits and consequences of using them? And the most demanded question- can they be combined to create something extraordinary? Well, take a seat, as we’re here to answer all these questions in this guide. Let’s get started!
First of all, why is it important to know about them?
ML, which is short for Machine Learning, and Blockchain technology, are two of the most profound systems developed to date, as they are able to boost the functioning of so many other creations. It is important to be aware of these technologies because it helps in developing a clearer understanding of how the gadgets and systems involved in our day-to-day life actually function. Other than that, it also benefits software and hardware developers to gain knowledge about the leading technologies and how they can be used to develop even more effective systems. Besides, it is always a good idea to gain insight into leading technologies because it is a recorded observation that the more informed you are about new technologies, the more advancement you can bring about in your work. And after all, knowledge should always be welcomed, shouldn’t it?
In this guide, we are on a journey to address a question that has been in the minds of many tech-enthusiasts. And that is- can we combine blockchain technology and machine learning? However, we need you to be patient because we cannot simply address the question without talking about both concepts of Blockchain and Machine learning in detail. With that being said, let’s get our fundamentals straight, shall we? Starting with the brilliance of Blockchain technology first.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a system developed by a team of brilliant tech experts under the leadership of Satoshi Nakamoto. Blockchain is essentially a systematic database, which stores information in several blocks and chains it together. Hence, the name Blockchain. The sheer brilliance behind Blockchain Development is that it is built with such care and intelligence that it is nearly impossible to cheat the system in any way. Once the information is stored and recorded by the system, there is no way for any intruder to change, remove and manipulate it.
This system is used for recording and processing transactions, as the information within the Blockchain is distributed across the entire network on demand. It is a decentralized structure of processing and storing smooth transactions while ensuring maximum security. It is the privacy of this technology that has earned such credibility and usage globally.
Uses of Blockchain:
There are several Blockchain Applications, but none of them are as big as their use in the world of cryptocurrency. Two of the most promising cryptocurrencies that use Blockchain Technology are Bitcoin and Ethereum. Blockchain acts as a digital ledger, as it stores information in blocks of chains and distributes it publically. In the crypto sector, the information is nothing but transactions of the cryptocurrency circulating among the masses. The only reason people trade in cryptocurrency today is because of the use of Blockchain, as they cannot be hacked or manipulated. Hence, it ensures safe transactions and investments.
Educational institutes at all levels need to keep a clear and concrete database of their students. And for doing so, Blockchain Technology comes in handy, as it can effectively store information about the student as well as the transactions of fees and other charges, in the form of Blockchains. The student’s personal information, the acquired degrees, certificates, assignments, result papers, and accomplishments, as well as the receipts related to all kinds of payments, are stored securely. The educational institute also provides access to each students’ respective blockchains to ensure transparency and security in terms of information.
Another sector that requires extensive and accurate storage of information is Banking. Every bank has to store the database of all its clients, which requires the use of Blockchain technology. And some of the major banks that use this technology include Signature Bank, Wells Fargo, Fifth Third Bank, Citi, etc. Right from the details of the account holder to all the transaction history with details is stored securely with the help of Blockchain technology. Once again, access to each clients’ respective Blockchain is provided by the bank. This reduces the need for extensive labor that would have been required in the absence of such technology.
Advantages of Blockchain:
When it comes to information about clients, or your personal transactions, it is of utmost importance to ensure security. And that is exactly what Blockchain Technology is known for. No one can access it without permission. Besides, the information stored in it cannot be changed, removed, or manipulated.
Blockchain can be used as a decentralized medium of passing on transactions. In the case of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, Blockchain technology is incorporated for a decentralized impact, which causes investors to save their money, as decentralized systems have no tax reduction.
Quick and efficient
Blockchain Technology can store information not only instantly but also accurately. With critical details related to banking transactions, crypto investments, academic documents, and so on, it is crucial to store information with precision and authenticity. And Blockchain Technology leaves no room for mistakes.
If Blockchain Technology had not been used in extensive sectors like agriculture, banking, healthcare, education, and so on, it would require a great amount of labor to manage a vast collection of databases. The number of employees would be increased, and hence, more money would have to be spent.
Disadvantages of Blockchain:
Even if the immutability of information can play a huge role in ensuring security, it doesn’t change the fact that it can truly mess the entire Blockchain. Once you add information and confirm it, it cannot be changed or altered in any way. This makes it a little tricky to create and manage Blockchains.
Indeed, the cost of labor gets saved as you don’t physically need to enter and save the database. However, with each transaction comes a small transaction cost. This means, using Blockchain Technology is not free of cost. You will be required to spend a certain amount with every transaction.
Requires a great deal of energy
The energy consumption of Blockchains is a concerning issue. Major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum use blockchains. People largely engage with these cryptocurrencies, and hence, the number of transactions is always high with the Blockchains used here. Likewise, energy consumption also rises.
Complex to manage
Blockchain is quite a tricky technology. Since the system is so huge and intricate, it requires a certain level of expertise to manage it successfully. The process is a bit complex, particularly because of the immutability of the data. This brings a sense of complexity in creating, processing, and managing Blockchains.
That’s all about Blockchains. Now, it’s time to move towards another magnificent technological creation, which is Machine Learning.
What is Machine Learning?
Machine Learning, also known as ML, is a field of study, which involves careful examination of data, in order to establish further information about the subject. Machine Learning can be considered a sub-branch of Artificial Intelligence, as it focuses on studying how the human mind works on the basis of gathered information and its analysis. ML Services work towards programming algorithms that study information in detail, which helps them in determining an accurate image of the client/subject. This ultimately helps in understanding the audience.
There are various types of machine learning, such as Reinforced learning, Unsupervised learning, Semi-supervised learning, and Supervised learning. Each of them works towards different kinds of goals and has a distinct way of processing, storing, and analyzing information. So one can choose the type of ML, as per their requirement and preference.
Uses of Machine Learning:
Social Media Platforms
Out of all the Machine Learning Applications, the most recent and the extensively emerging sector is Social Media. All social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc., require an algorithm to function. And this algorithm is created with the help of Machine Learning. Machine Learning stores and analyses the content consumption pattern of each user on the social media platform. According to the analysis, the algorithm will then curate the ideal content feed for the user. Similarly, advertisements based on interests and location are also published to each user.
Security is a sector that requires an inevitable use of Machine Learning. Every business or organization has a huge amount of databases regarding the company, clients, and employees. It is essential to keep this data secure. But unfortunately, cyber threats are on the rise, and cyber attacks have become a common challenge for many companies. For avoiding such security breaches, a high-quality security system is needed. That’s where Machine Learning comes into play. ML-based security systems work towards predicting threats, as well as tackling them to avoid security breaches. This is done on the basis of existing data.
Retail and Marketing
Retail and Marketing both require a substantial understanding of customer behavior so that suitable products can be marketed to each customer. Machine Learning plays a massive role in this, as most online stores demand access to the customer’s data. This data is then analyzed by ML, and accordingly, the customers’ interests and requirements are understood. Based on that, the algorithm will then recommend the products that have maximum potential to be bought. In a way, ML has become a crucial part of understanding the clients, building relationships with them, and sustaining those relations.
Advantages of Machine Learning:
The best part about Machine Learning is that it is highly automatic. It can operate without any human interference. ML can effectively identify trends, patterns, probably problems, find solutions to them, and execute them. It can also predict behavior in advance and take the required steps to match them, all on its own.
If there were no Machine Learning, there would be a need for several data analysts, who would manually have to recognize and understand trends. However, with the help of machine learning, all sorts of data analysis can be done instantly. This saves you from paying for extensive old-fashioned labor.
Efficiency and Accuracy
When there are humans doing the analysis of critical information, mistakes are bound to happen. However, with the help of Machine Learning, there is very limited scope for error. Once the programming is done right, ML works with precision. The analysis is accurate most of the time, and hence, proves beneficial.
The beauty of Machine Learning is that there is no stopping when it comes to understanding and analyzing data. Since humans are dynamic in nature, their needs change constantly. Likewise, ML also has to adapt to the new changes each time, which demands it to make constant improvements.
Disadvantages of Machine Learning:
In the simplest terms, machines take time to understand humans. First and foremost, ML has to gather sufficient information to recognize trends or problems. After that, it also has to find the right solution or plan to move forward and then execute them. All in all, the entire process involved in Machine Learning is quite lengthy.
Errors are always big
Even if there is limited scope for errors, because there is no human evolvement in Machine Learning, there is still a major risk factor. Because the programming is not done right, the errors are inevitable and continuous. This means, whenever an error occurs, it will always be big and recurring.
No matter how many advantages are posed by Machine Learning, we cannot ignore the fact that machines are replacing humans and are taking away jobs from them. Since ML can analyze data effectively, identify problems, and find its solutions on its own, it has taken quite a few jobs from the employment sector.
No space for judgment calls
Humans have the tendency to make interpretations instantly because they have a considerable amount of skill, knowledge, and experience. It may so happen that the humans’ analysis is more accurate, but they are not able to make the judgment call in ML. This may hamper the quality of work and accuracy of the analysis.
Now that we have understood both- Blockchain and Machine Learning in detail, it’s time to address the big question.
Can you combine Blockchain and Machine Learning?
Yes, they certainly can. Machine Learning can be combined with Blockchains, to bring simplicity in usage as well pushing the security level.
As we mentioned previously, one of the disadvantages of Blockchains is that it is quite complex in nature, and requires a certain extent of expertise to deal with them. Machine Learning can effectively solve this problem with its automation. It can boost the level of user-friendliness, which is currently lacking in Blockchains.
Other than that, we also discussed that Machine Learning is extensively used in the Data Security sector. ML attempts to predict and identify cyber threats in advance, find solutions and apply them to keep the data safe. Such an ability of Machine Learning can definitely improve the level of security in Blockchains for safer transactions.
Considering these points, it is fair to say that Machine Learning and Blockchains can prove to be a solid combination, especially if built with care and intelligence. However, the disadvantage of humans losing employment opportunities continues to exist.
New technologies will come and go, and they will merge to give rise to even better-operating systems. However, combining two highly technical components together can prove to be a bit of a risk. In the end, it all comes down to the developer, who would need to be an absolute expert in order to ace the job.
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