The increased global interest in Artificial Intelligence will lead to increased adoption of other emerging technologies such as blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. This is the view of Agata Slater (Blockchain Consultant for IBM), who was speaking on the sidelines of the recent Technology of Tomorrow Conference.
‘The topic which excites me most right now is the combination between blockchain, AI and IoT,’ she said. ‘So rather than thinking about blockchain on its own as a separate piece of technology that can change the world or at least optimise it, I think it’s more exciting to think of blockchain as a backend layer.’
She added that blockchain technology is likely to set a ‘data standard’ which other applications will run on top of. This will subsequently be ‘turbocharged’ by other emerging technologies such as IoT and AI.
She pointed to the fact that IoT is already being used in billions of devices around the world, while AI has seen a drastic uptick in popularity in recent years as businesses use it for everything from daily tasks to creative processes.
‘Right now is a really good moment to talk about these things as solutions such as ChatGPT are becoming available to us all. Questions will start popping up about what is happening to our data, where it is going and what has fuelled ChatGPT. All these questions about privacy, transparency, and immutability will become relevant, so it might lead to greater blockchain adoption amidst this backdrop of AI.’
Advice for women looking to enter the web3 industry
Slater also discussed women in blockchain and how important it is to have representation in a space which is typically dominated by men. She noted that a key part of her success in the arena is down to having a good mentor who helped guide her through the industry.
‘I think it is very important to have a group or at least one female mentor who is going to help you break into this space. It’s not really about creating exclusive circles for just women – that’s the opposite of inclusivity, it’s separating women. We don’t need a ‘safe space’ to learn about blockchain – we are just as capable.’
Slater added that there should be a mutual benefit for any mentor and that they are also willing to learn from their mentees and take advice on board.
Using blockchain in your business
As someone who primarily advises enterprises, Slater noted that many businesses are often caught up in buzzwords such as ‘web3’ and ‘decentralisation’ without actually taking time to consider how to incorporate these concepts into their business or even if it is necessary to do so.
She advises businesses to enter the space ‘on their terms’ rather than a fear of being left behind on new technology.
‘I think that the right thing to (do is) enter this space on your terms, slowly, and in line with your core business. If you can build the foundations around your core business and build a solid roadmap that is not necessarily going to flip your business model upside down to begin with, that’s the right approach.’
‘Web3 offers such fantastic opportunities for businesses and there is a lot of space there to work with. New business models open up new revenue streams, but it all needs to happen in the correct way.’
Why regulation is important
Slater added that regulation is important for any enterprise entering the blockchain space as it provides certainty and clarity.
‘I think it must happen to make everyone feel safe. I think the reason why many enterprises are not jumping into the space is because they’re afraid. There’s a lot of misconception about blockchain as a technology (because it) is associated with the unregulated cryptocurrency market,’ she said.
‘So I think if we have a firm regulatory layer on top of that, it will be a breakthrough for businesses to start innovating within this space.’