Blockchain has been proclaimed as one of the fastest growing technologies that have the potential to penetrate almost any industry available. In contrast to centralized systems of operations which have been mostly used till date, blockchain is based on a decentralized system. Through the use of decentralized database architecture, the procurement, authentication and maintenance of various operations are dependent upon the agreement of several parties instead of a single central authority. Blockchain not only makes operations transparent, but safer and faster also. Blockchain became popular with the emergence of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Since blockchain was first successfully applied for Bitcoin, people assumed these two to be synonyms of each other. Bitcoin transactions are managed using a distributed ledger on a peer-to-peer network that has anonymous, open and public access. Blockchain is the underlying technology which maintains the Bitcoin transaction ledger.
Although blockchain technology emerged in financial sector with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoins and Ethereum, later it was realized that the blockchain technology can be adapted to be used in other domains also. Many years ago, the Internet changed the world by connecting digital devices worldwide, to have greater access to information. Similarly, blockchain is changing the way of doing business by proving more trust. The decentralized database architecture of blockchain provides more reliability for the maintenance of records and transactions. Any transaction, once recorded on a blockchain, cannot be altered. While the participants in a business network may not be able to trust each other, they can trust the blockchain. Businesses are benefited by blockchain in numerous ways, including quick access to information, immediate verification of transactions, reduced cost due to intermediaries, lowered risk due to fraud and tempering and reduced time for settling of disputes. Blockchain has attracted lot of researchers, in order to incorporate it into other emerging areas of technology like big data, the Internet of things and artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the technological advancements that enable machines to act more intelligently. From drones to chatbots, AI enables machines to learn from a huge amount of data and apply that knowledge for efficient decision making. The focus of blockchain is to keep records accurate and to authenticate access, while AI is concerned with identifying patterns in the data stream for efficient decision making. Both these technologies are evolving and have prospects to be used in most of the industries. So, the merger of AI and blockchain would bring a revolutionary change worldwide. We could think of developing a decentralized system of database, where the machines could use these data to behave like humans. In this chapter, different aspects of AI are explored which can be improved by the use of robust blockchain architecture and is studied in the healthcare domain.