Jan 12

The Blockland initiative put Cleveland at the heart of discussions towards the establishment of blockchain-based, multi-party ecosystems that leverage the full spectrum of technological innovation. For example, while blockchain redefines systems of record, artificial intelligence (AI) redefines the systems of insight and engagement. Together, these two emerging technologies will change the boundaries of organizations to unlock trapped value.

AI is a constellation of technologies—from machine learning to natural language processing—that allows machines to sense, comprehend, act and learn. It will transform the relationship between people and technology.

Blockchain is a new type of distributed system that enables multiple parties to share access to and automate transactions upon unique digital objects. It will transform the way business gets done, assuring that “I see what you see” (assuming we have authorization).

To be fair, neither of these definitions do justice to what is really starting: business transformation at a whole new level. Together, AI + blockchain will remap organizational and process boundaries, moving from siloed verticals with complex processes to allowing efficient operations across horizontals while unlocking trapped business value. Consider this: How many of life’s important needs are satisfied by just one service provider or authority? How many companies are involved in picking and moving to a new home? Having and caring for a child? 

Three reasons drive this new level of business transformation:

Data quality

To be clear, blockchain does not cure bad data. But blockchain is changing the concept of trust in data. In the current “send-and-reconcile” model that business have been working to automate over the past few decades, business transactions can only be completed after Party A sends its view of the world to Party B and both parties reconcile those views.

Through multi-party systems like blockchain, it is now possible to know the provenance of data and if someone has tried to tamper with it.

This inherently high data quality in turn supports AI. AI will be even more potent when fueled by a consistent view of data shared between multiple businesses and organizations. And as AI works through its complex decision trees, blockchain can capture and share this “learning process” in a tamper-evident fashion so its decisions may be evaluated and trusted.


AI-based applications are trained and act upon huge amounts of data. With blockchain, if anyone tries to change, tamper with or duplicate a record, all stakeholders will know. This is perhaps the most critical element of this combination.

Consider this: Imagine if data directed decisions on neonatal surgery, nuclear power management or air traffic control patterns. Having the highest level of certainty that the data has not been altered or tampered with is critical for AI to achieve its potential in these circumstances.

Traversing ecosystems

AI systems are dramatically changing the nature of services and experiences for humans. Early AI use cases focus on what value and services individual organizations could deliver to people.

The wider access to a common system of record across an ecosystem of multiple organizations, combined with the advances in automated business logic through the execution of smart contracts, enable new and greater access for AI machines to traverse business ecosystems and deliver more comprehensive solutions to customers.

Strength in combination

New technology innovation is accelerating rapidly, and each technology offers new and exciting ways to improve the way we work and live. But it is the combination of these technologies that will allow for the most advantageous transformation.

Learn more about Accenture’s work with the powerful combination of innovative technologies in our paper, “Powered by blockchain: Realizing AI’s full potential” and on Accenture.com/blockchain.