The engineers at Microsoft are using the Ethereum blockchain to “democratize” AI and machine learning. The main objective of the effort is to bring these highly centralized and expensive systems within the reach of everyone. Microsoft aims to make machine learning models simple, something that users can run using the browsers and apps on their mobile phones and laptops.
The fact that Ethereum smart contacts can have a profound impact on the way data is managed and thereby fundamentally change the modes of machine learning and AI models, was observed by Justin Harris, a senior software development engineer at Microsoft. Justin stated in his article that,” The framework is ideal for AI-assisted scenarios people encounter daily, such as interacting with personal assistants, playing games, or using recommender systems.”
Microsoft hosted a model called Perceptron in a public blockchain which was capable of classifying whether a movie review had a positive or negative sentiment. The cost of updating the model on Ethereum was only $0.25. Harris suggests the idea to leverage the blockchain technology by offering the users trust and security on one hand while encouraging them to contribute data for improving the model on the other. This will help to avert the scenario of the models getting outdated for the lack of data needed to retrain them.
Even though the limitations of blockchain and transactions speeds are a cause of concern, Justin is optimistic about the future and mentions,”…more applications for collaboration between people and machine learning models will become available, and we hope to see future research in scaling to more complex models along with new incentive mechanisms.” He also suggests incentives and rewards for those who interact with these machine learning algorithms for improving the systems.
Microsoft and the Ethereum Foundation are among the latest companies to join the ranks of the Hyperledger greenhouse the global open-source association hosted by the Linux Foundation. Hyperledger has more than 270 members who are developing their own exclusive blockchain solutions. Microsoft has been working on blockchain for quite some time and Marley Gray, Microsoft’s principal blockchain engineering architect said that,” Our journey in the blockchain ecosystem has brought us a long way, and now is the time for us to join the Hyperledger community.”
Microsoft has been developing its own ecosystem for blockchain with the Azure cloud computing service. After joining Hyperledger, Microsoft Azure has three blockchain development environments. The original one being BaaS arena and the other two being Corda and Ethereum.