Technology Fridays: This Has to Be One of the Craziest, Most Exciting Blockchain Projects I’ve Ever Seen
Welcome to Technology Fridays! A few weeks ago, I came across Fetch.ai and I was blown away by the ambitions and innovative concepts behind this project. Since them, I’ve found myself re-reading their whitepaper over and over again to try to grasp( and copy 😉 ) some the ideas from their architecture for my own work. Today, I thought I use this small article to give you an initial exposure to this fascinating project.
Fetch.ai sits at the intersection of two of my passions: artificial intelligence(AI) and blockchain technologies. However, Fetch.ai is not simply (if that term applies here) another platform trying to enable decentralized AI. The company is trying to provide the foundation for a world in which autonomous, intelligent AI agents can work and collaborate together under the right economic and regulatory incentives. You can think about Fetch as the first virtual world for AI agents. How cool is that?
As AI evolves and we get closer to self-learning, autonomous agents, we should ask ourselves, what type of environment will those agents require? As humans, we live in under a combination of economic, social, biological dynamics that allow us to evolve as species. If we want AI to evolve semi-organically, we need to provide autonomous agents with a virtual environments that combine the right mechanisms for them to collaborate and evolve. This is where Fetch.ai comes in.
If you want to summarize Fetch in a single term, you can think of the platform as a decentralized digital representation of the world in which autonomous software agents perform useful economic work. Ok, I agree that wasn’t very simple 😉 Imagine a platform that allows AI programs to perform tasks such as collecting data or providing a prediction and they receive crypto tokens as a result. Fetch leverages blockchain technologies to complement unsupervised AI agents with the right economic incentives and execution environment in order to perform their tasks.
Technologically, the Fetch platform has three fundamental building blocks: The Fetch Smart Ledger, The Open Economic Framework and Autonomous Economic Agents. Each one of the components abstracts a fundamental part of society: citizens, economics and rules.
A New Type of Distributed Ledger and Consensus Mechanism
The Fetch Smart Ledger is a new type of decentralized ledger that includes a new consensus model called Useful Proof of Work(uPoW). The role of the ledger is to keep track of the activities performed by autonomous agents and process the economic transactions between them. To enable that, the Fetch platform has created uPoW, a new consensus model that addresses some of the limitation of traditional PoW algorithms and allows participants with less computing power to benefit from solving computation puzzles. uPoW will be used in tasks such as training new autonomous agents or exchanging rewards between AI programs.
Economics as a First Class Citizen
The Open Economic Framework(OEF) is the component of the Fetch platform that provides life-support for autonomous software agents. These agents live in an environment that is constantly changing and they see a different world from its perspective: a world that is reorganized for its perceived and declared needs. The OEF is the high-level node functionality: the layer on top of the raw protocol and ledger that delivers this environment and all the other operations agents need in order to go about their day-to-day work. The OEF is responsible for abstracting services such as the provisioning of data for decisioning, the trading of excess capacity, energy, computation, or the storage, transfer and transportation of digital or physical assets.
Autonomous Intelligent Bots
The main elements populating the Fetch.ai world are know as Autonomous Economic Agents(AEA). These are digital entities that can transact independently of human intervention and can represent themselves, devices, services or individuals. The platform includes different types of agents such as Inhabitants (which represent hardware to exist in the real world ), Digital Data and Sales(which are attached to data sources in different marketplaces) or Representatives(which represent an individual in the Fetch world). The different types of agents can be seen as the first role in the brand new Fetch society.
Plenty of Innovations
In addition to the three main building blocks, the Fetch platform includes plenty of interesting ideas for the constructions of decentralized, economically viable environments. For instance, the platform introduces the notion of geography in a decentralized digital world using the concept of Domain Spaces to assign regions based on proximity. Similarly, Fetch.ai introduces a basic protocol for conducting business transaction between AEAs that mimics many of the dynamics of the real world.
Not Just Fantasy
The Fetch.ai platform is one of the most ambitious projects I’ve heard of. However, the work is not only theoretical. The platform is currently being used today across a number of scenarios in transportation, energy and IOT industries.
Technology Fridays: This Has to Be One of the Craziest, Most Exciting Blockchain Projects I’ve Ever… was originally published in Data Driven Investor on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.