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June 16, 2023

Into the blue - AI in Blockchain: An Interview with mintBlue’s Pieter den Dooven

Figuring out where the technology leads us next

We'll explore how Blockchain is tapping into the immense potential of AI to reshape our digital landscape. In today's rapidly evolving era, AI and blockchain have emerged as game-changing technologies, offering unprecedented possibilities across various industries. Their convergence has the power to revolutionize how we manage, secure, and ensure data transparency.

Deep fake music releases have recently brought this to the fore. New ground needs to be tread regarding legal and ethical concerns. With its immutability and transparency, Blockchain could play a crucial role here. We sit down with mintBlue’s CIO Pieter den Dooven to discuss how Blockchain is tapping into the immense potential of AI to reshape our digital landscape.

Neil: With the rise of deep fakes and manipulated media, how does blockchain technology contribute to combating the spread of disinformation and ensuring the authenticity of digital content?

Pieter: Users and policy makers, like photo edit law makers would get more freedom in how they want to see the information being presented to them. Do they want to see a 'photo edit alert', a 'this song is a cover tag', or a 'fake news checkmark' on top of their content? Do they want to disable shuffle off their Spotify album like Adèle? This isn't possible now, as Spotify makes all the decisions, and can decide whether or not to follow a feature request. With blockchain, Spotify could give users full flexibility while maintaining data integrity, and even add micropayments directly to the creators. By using blockchain, you can differentiate with UX/UI, and therefore put a layer on top of the information we haven't seen before. Users can influence what content is being made by paying the users and creators that generate content they enjoy directly with nano- and micropayments. Now we're being shown mostly user-generated content, paid content (ads) and manipulated content (dis- and misinformation campaigns). If the user-generated content is partly paid for by the listeners, we need less ads. If we have less ads and more empowerment on the creator side, we level up the quality and tone down the quantity of content, which makes it easier to parse and distinguish mass-made content for propaganda/mis- and disinformation purposes. Drake's fake AI-generated song is going to happen over and over, and get millions of streams before it's taken down. With blockchain, songs added to TikToks could pass an automated verification gate, and if passed, the rights could be distributed in real-time via micropayments to the associated parties. We'd need AI to track down the origins, verify the song's identity through unique characteristics and enforce the contracts on top of the blockchain.

Neil: How does your blockchain technology address security concerns related to data breaches and unauthorized access?

Pieter: Our technology employs robust security measures to address concerns related to data breaches and unauthorized access. One of the key aspects is the implementation of double encryption. This means that even if one encryption algorithm is compromised, there is an additional layer of protection to safeguard the data. Furthermore, data stored on our blockchain can be divided into multiple transactions that are indistinguishable and unconnected publicly. This fragmentation of data makes it extremely challenging for anyone to identify or target specific information for attack. By distributing the data in this manner, we ensure that the security of the overall system remains intact. Additionally, we prioritize the privacy and security of our users by adopting a non-custodial approach to cryptographic keys. This means that we do not have access to our users' keys or data, eliminating the existence of a central point that could be vulnerable to attacks and compromising user information.

Neil: Are specific features or mechanisms in place to detect and flag manipulated or fraudulent content?

Pieter: Detecting and flagging manipulated or fraudulent content is a complex challenge, as it involves determining the authenticity and integrity of digital information. With our technology, we provide specific features and mechanisms to enhance the credibility of content. We have established connections with various identity providers, such as the Dutch Chamber of Commerce and KYC providers. By linking identities to data, users can authenticate the sources of information and establish a level of trust in the content they encounter. Our system enables the flow of information through tracked and traceable pathways. This means that users can verify how the information has evolved over time, allowing them to make informed decisions about the reliability and accuracy of the data they come across. Since data stored on the blockchain is immutable, users can also be sure data has not been tampered with. While these measures contribute to mitigating the spread of manipulated or fraudulent content, it's essential to recognize that "truth" is a challenging concept to ascertain. Our goal is to provide tools and mechanisms that support users in evaluating the authenticity of content based on verifiable information and trusted sources. By fostering transparency and empowering users with the ability to authenticate identities and track the evolution of data, we aim to enhance the overall integrity of the content shared.

Neil: What legal and regulatory considerations should users be aware of when utilizing blockchain technology, especially regarding data privacy, compliance, and intellectual property rights?

Pieter: Ideally, users and regulators would understand three things: private key vs public key: like a password and a username, you only share your username. The public blockchain allows for absolute data control. Users are the managers of their data. They can retain control over their own data. Data is the biggest untaxed income stream and can create wealth for citizens - not just advertisers. If it's better managed, it can be monetized in a fairer way.

Neil: How does your blockchain technology ensure compliance with relevant regulations in different jurisdictions?

Pieter: Just like the internet, and any technology, blockchain implementations should be subject to local regulations. Regulators will need to update their laws, as they're not up to speed on what blockchain does and enables. This makes it hard to have clarity on its compliance today. Enterprises aren't able to rely on more than a handful of blockchain-specific laws today (mostly relating to tokens), which makes the uncertainty of the blockchain a dire bet. What if regulations change, and another blockchain scandal leads to stringent regulations? Ensuring compliance with relevant regulations in different jurisdictions is a crucial aspect of our blockchain technology. Similar to the internet and other technological advancements, blockchain implementations are subject to existing local regulations governing data privacy, security, and other relevant aspects. However, it is worth noting that regulators have been relatively slow in fully comprehending the implications of blockchain technology. While traditional IT regulations can be applicable to blockchain, there is a need for regulators to update and adapt their laws to account for the unique features and capabilities that blockchain brings. To ensure compliance, it is crucial for organizations utilizing blockchain technology to proactively engage with regulatory bodies, industry associations, and legal experts. This collaboration helps foster a deeper understanding of blockchain's implications and aids in shaping appropriate regulations that balance innovation, security, and legal compliance. As regulations catch up with the potential of blockchain, more specific laws and guidelines may be established to address the unique aspects of this technology. Enterprises need to stay informed, adapt to evolving regulations, and incorporate best practices for compliance to maintain trust and transparency within the blockchain ecosystem.

Neil: Do you foresee in the future any implementation of deep fake rights

Pieter: One potential approach to addressing deep fake rights could involve the use of blockchain technology to validate and authenticate original content. By leveraging techniques such as fingerprinting or other unique identifiers, content creators could register their original works on the blockchain. This registration process would create a tamper-proof record of the content's existence and establish the creator's ownership rights. Users or consumers could then verify the authenticity of the content by comparing it against the registered fingerprint stored on the blockchain. AI can play a significant role in this process as well. This would provide a mechanism for individuals to validate the originality and integrity of the content they encounter. Implementing such a system would require collaboration between technology providers, content creators, and potentially regulatory bodies. It would also necessitate the development of robust algorithms and standards for content fingerprinting, ensuring that the validation process is reliable and resistant to manipulation.

Neil Hodgson Coyle
Neil Hodgson-Coyle
Editorial chief at TechNews180
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