Moscow, Russia-based SkyChain Global is building a blockchain-powered platform that will expedite adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the medical field. They intend to bring AI’s Artificial Neural Network (ANN) developers, doctors, patients, and medical data providers together facilitating transparent and secure transactions between them.
Medical science has made unprecedented progress. However, every year, in the USA alone, over 250,000 lives are lost due to wrong diagnosis or incorrectly administering medicines. In terms of economic value, this loss amounts to US $ 20.8 billion a year. Human error is the main cause for these costly medical mistakes. AI, with their promise of machine learning and intelligent systems, can help here. Artificial Neural Network (ANN) is an important innovation within the larger AI umbrella, it essentially means computing systems that somewhat mimic animal brains. These systems can ‘learn’ over time, based on ‘experience’ of solving different types of questions, and also based on the amount of ‘reading material’ fed to them. Of course, if a large volume of information can be fed to them, and if ANNs can be used in a large number of problem solving cases, the learning will be expedited. Experiments have shown that only 4-14% of diagnosis done by ANNs were wrong, whereas it was 18-32% for diagnosis by doctors. The medical AI market is expected to reach US $ 200 billion soon. However, in spite of their promise, adoption of ANNs have been slow. The reasons are lack of large data sets to train the ANNs, massive infrastructure investment required to set up ANNs, and no means to connect doctors, patients and data providers.
SkyChain Global intends to solve these with the power of blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized system, where computers on the network, also called ‘nodes’, maintain a shared version of truth. It’s a distributed database where every node has complete and latest information on blockchain, and this is why nodes are called ledgers, and blockchain is called ‘distributed ledger technology’ (DLT). Blockchain can’t be destroyed by taking out any central server, since there is no central server. Every node has equal authority, and updates to blockchain needn’t be routed through any central authority. Block records, also called ‘blocks’, are linked using a predetermined protocol. No existing block can be deleted or modified, only new blocks can be added. Since every node can add a new block, maintaining order of transactions is imperative to ensure data integrity. Blockchain does that through consensus mechanism. Creating a new block is essentially solving a cryptographic puzzle, which amounts to massive number crunching operation done at high speed. ‘Miners’, i.e. a combination of special-purpose software, specially-designed hardware, and their users, solve these puzzles in a competitive environment, and get rewarded with a fraction of the crypto tokens they mint. Consensus mechanism can employ proof of work (POW) algorithm, where majority of participating nodes must validate a transaction. Alternatively, consensus mechanism may employ proof of stake (PoS) algorithm, where nodes stake their crypto tokens for transaction validation, and majority of these nodes must approve transaction. Rigor needed for updating blockchain makes hacking it economically non-viable. Relationships between the stakeholders on blockchain are governed by smart contracts, which are pieces of code allowing stakeholders to complete a legal action such as taking control of an entity. With its promise of decentralization and immutable records with complete audit trail, blockchain promises to bring in efficiency, automated trust in view of mathematically proven information, and data management cost reduction. While Financial Technology (FinTech) sector was the first to identify the promise of blockchain, which is also the underlying technology of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, now many other industries as well as governments are exploring blockchain.
SkyChain Global‘s solution and the benefits can be summarized as following:
- SkyChain Data Marketplace: a closed loop system allowing medical data providers to provide their data as a service, using which the independent AI developers can train their ANNs. Data providers aren’t selling their data, and developers can’t download the trained ANNs. Hence data providers are guaranteed to get paid if the ANNs using their data sets are used.
- SkyChain AI Marketplace: an open loop system enabling doctors and patients to access an unlimited number of ANNs.
- Medical data providers, independent ANN developers, and users are united on a platform.
- Data providers can make profit from their data, which will act as incentive for them to share data.
- ANN developers can access a massive amount of medical data to train their networks.
- Healthcare professionals can now access a wide choice of accurate ANNs.
- Patients benefit from improve diagnosis.
- All relationships are governed by smart contracts.
- Miners benefit by utilizing their significant computing powers for ANN training and transactions.
SkyChain Global has been founded by Gennady Popov, and the company has a highly experienced team with deep software development and blockchain expertise. They currently have the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in progress for their cryptocurrency SkyChain Token (SKCH), and it will go on till March 31st 2018.