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Yeah, finally!

Can you believe it’s edition 13 and we’re just now hitting the AI chat?

And to be fair, I was not in a hurry becasue I deeply believe AI is not going anywhere. Like other Web3-related tech, we’ll probably see ups and downs, but some things are here for good.

Over the past 6 to 8 months I have been head down learning, testing, reading, and ChatGPTing all I can about AI and its different applications – but hey, I’m no “AI expert” – but rather an AI enthusiast.

And as always, this is a two-way street. Got a different take or want to challenge an idea here? I’m all ears. Drop me a line anytime.

Mr. Pink Beanie exploring “AI” 😄 

AI: The age-old concept with a modern twist

Blockchain made its mark in 2009 through Bitcoin, bringing it to the attention of a wider audience, in the case of AI, the concept and initial applications are WAY OLDER.

From the initial excitement in the ’50s and ’60s to the periods of reduced funding and interest in the ’70s and ’80s, AI has seen it all.

But the 21st century brought a resurgence, thanks to the availability of big data and advancements in computing power.

Today (besides the 9868473 cool tools launched daily) we’re essentially looking at machines/applications that can think, learn, and act like humans. AI is all about enabling computer programs to mimic human intelligence – or sometimes, that lack of it 😅 .

WEB3 is NOT a tech Battle Royale

Every now and then, while scrolling through LinkedIn or during a coffee break at an event, I’m met with a burning question:

“Is AI the ‘web3 killer’?”

To set the record straight, my short answer is “GTFO”. But let’s dive a bit deeper into this, and I’ll share the thought process behind this.

I often say that IF Web3 is the next evolution of the Web, THEN we will need a “stack of technology” to develop it. In the context of this specific topic, it implies that AI is just another layer, another tool in our expansive Web3 toolbox.

Think about the traditional internet landscape: PCs, mobile browsers, apps, websites, internet providers. They’re not in a battle royale; they’re more like teammates, each bringing a unique play to the game, catering to diverse needs, and unlocking different opportunities.

Just as NFTs, Metaverse, DeFi, AR, VR, Haptics, Blockchain and others have their distinct roles in shaping Web3, AI brings its own flavor to the table.

It’s all about amplifying the capabilities, addressing varied challenges, and broadening the horizons of what’s possible.

Credit: Illustration by Ad Age

Back in June, my good friend Anthony Day and I had a super cool chat with Steve Nouri, the A.I. guru from LinkedIn.

We were curious: what’s the big deal about A.I. in the Web3 world?

Steve, the mastermind behind Generative AI shared his insights on A.I.’s future and its significance in Web3.

We got some REALLY interesting learnings from this conversation – and I’ll share my favorite ones later on in this edition.

Beyond the buzzwords: The real intersection of AI and Blockchain

These two technologies, each revolutionary in its own right, are now converging, creating a synergy that’s poised to redefine industries.

Let’s first dive in and unpack five transformative potential of each one:

Blockchain: The digital trust anchor

🔒️ Transparency & Security: Offers a decentralized, immutable ledger ensuring data integrity and trustworthiness.

🔒️ Decentralization: Eliminates the need for intermediaries, reducing potential points of failure and enhancing security.

🔒️ Smart Contracts: Self-executing contracts that run when predefined conditions are met, automating complex processes.

🔒️ Data Provenance: Enables traceability of data, allowing users to verify the origin and history, enhancing transparency.

🔒️ Digital identity: Provides a secure and tamper-proof way of managing digital identities.

Artificial Intelligence: The brain of the digital age

🤖 Data analysis: Processes vast amounts of data to identify patterns, making accurate predictions that improve over time.

🤖 Automation: Reduces human error, streamlines operations, and enhances productivity.

🤖 Natural language processing: Enables machines to understand and respond to human language, enhancing user experience.

🤖 Image & object detection: Allows for real-time identification and classification of objects and images.

🤖 Personalization: Offers tailored experiences to users based on their behaviors and preferences.

The Power duo: AI and Blockchain in action

When AI and Blockchain intersect, we’re not just slapping two buzzwords together. No, my friends… The way I see it is that their integration can redefine trust and efficiency in digital systems.

The synergy here is potent. AI’s predictive analytics and Blockchain’s unalterable ledger system create a powerhouse for enhancing data reliability and decision-making processes.

In healthcare, for example, Blockchain can safeguard patient data, while AI analyzes this data to preempt health issues, potentially saving lives and resources.

In the financial sector, the blend of AI and Blockchain is revolutionizing security measures. Blockchain’s transparent ledger allows for the tracking of transactions with unparalleled precision, while AI’s pattern recognition capabilities are ramping up fraud detection like never before.

Yet, this integration is not without its hurdles. There’s need for quality data for AI to function optimally, and Blockchain’s role in ensuring data remains untainted is crucial.

There’s also discussions about ethical implications of AI and ensuring that the data used is not only accurate but also fair and unbiased (here, the keyword is “accurate” → more on that a few lines below)

Diving deeper into this synergy, here are some core takeaways:

🔒️ & 🤖 Trust through transparency: With Blockchain’s open ledgers and AI’s decision-making, operations become transparent and reliable.

🔒️ & 🤖 Data goldmine: AI’s data analysis gets a boost when the data from Blockchain is secure and genuine.

🔒️ & 🤖 No central control: AI solutions on decentralized platforms mean no single point of control or failure.

🔒️ & 🤖 Evolving systems: As AI learns and grows, systems can adapt and evolve, especially when backed by Blockchain’s secure environment.

🔒️ & 🤖 Enhanced decision-making: Blockchain’s immutable records combined with AI’s predictive analytics ensure more informed and accurate decisions across sectors.

So far, we have covered many concepts, ideas, and projections. From this point, I invite you to explore some use cases with me, starting with a really interesting project.

Are you in?

Generative Agents: a virtual town fueled by AI

Picture this: a bustling town where individuals go about their day, chatting, running errands, and interacting just like any small community.

Pretty common thing, right? But there’s a twist – every resident is an AI-powered character, part of Stanford and Google’s “Generative Agents” project.

No, not a “pixelated game”, it’s a research playground where AI learns the ropes of social interaction.

In this virtual environment, AI characters engage in daily life activities, showcasing a level of autonomy that’s both impressive and indicative of AI’s potential for social interaction. The experiment goes beyond mere task execution, showcasing AI’s ability to weave complex social behvaior that feels real and relatable.

The project’s implications stretch far beyond its virtual borders. It’s a glimpse into a future where AI could play a significant role in entertainment, social media, and even personal companionship.

But since we are in The Wild West of Web3, I see this experiment and can only think about the number of opportunities we can explore when we combine AI with other Web3 concepts.

NFTs, digital currencies, and metaverse platforms could all benefit from this level of AI sophistication. AI can contribute meaningfully to the digital spaces where we’ll increasingly work, play, and connect.

Just imagine how AI might interact within decentralized platforms, contributing to the creation of more immersive, responsive, and personalized experiences, which translates into opportunities for creators, entrepreneur, and brands.

And while the experiment may seem small in scale (I heard someone calling it a “overcomplex The Sims” 🤦), it’s a powerful reminder of how today’s innovations can become tomorrow’s foundations.

Remember that things like ChatGPT, Midjourney, Bard, and DALL·E were basically unknown for most people a few months ago.

This virtual experiment, playful as it may seem, plants the seeds for the next wave of digital evolution, where AI’s role is as integrated into our digital lives as the internet itself.

A sneak peek at the future:
STL and the integrated web


We have talked about tokenization in previous editions of The Wild West of Web3, specially in #3. Now, let’s dig deeper on that and see how it can interact with AI to create a new world of possibilities.

Based on everything I have been exploring, and learning recently, I’m confident to say that tokens are the vanguard of a digital revolution, and have the potential to redefine our online interactions.

They’re the keystones of a new, integrated web(3) experience that’s reshaping how we engage with the internet.

Smart Token Labs (STL) is at the forefront of this revolution, with their Smart Layer leading the charge. It bridges the gap between the current web and the boundless potential of Web3. The Smart Layer goes beyond a simple utility; it’s the platform that transforms every user interaction and transaction into a step forward for innovation.

Tokens can represent anything from your identity to your assets. They’re unique, making every online interaction more personal and secure.

Tokens + AI in the real world

Imagine an AI that doesn’t just follow commands but understands your preferences, ensuring that your virtual journey is as smooth as possible.

STL’s CTO Weiwu Zhang has envisioned a future where AI becomes your personal web concierge, using tokens to navigate the web on your behalf. But unlike traditional AI, which operates on permissions and API keys, the Smart Layer ensures that AI acts within the boundaries you set, which – in my opinion – is respectful to your digital sovereignty.

“Ok Diego, this sounds cool. What about an actual real-world application?”

I got you!

Say your flight gets delayed (we love that, right?) → with Smart Layer, your digital token can automatically update your hotel booking. No frantic phone calls needed. Simple as that.

But it’s not just about convenience; it’s also about control. With STL’s Smart Layer, you decide which tokens to share, which transactions to authorize. It’s a level of digital autonomy that puts the power back in your hands.

So here’s my main takes from this chat:

Token Power: Tokens are more than assets; they’re the building blocks for a revolutionary web experience.

Seamless integration: STL’s Smart Layer is pioneering a seamless integration of tokens into everyday web interactions.

AI as your ally: Envision AI as a personal assistant, empowered by tokens to serve your web needs while respecting your choices.

User Control: With STL’s innovation, you’re in the driver’s seat, authorizing transactions and managing your digital identity with ease.


Industry insights: Tokenized Media 

Recall when I mentioned that “the keyword is ‘accurate’”?

Well, in today’s world, where fake news and AI creations are rampant, ensuring the authenticity of digital content is more important than ever, right?

Let’s explore how this is possible.

In an era where every click and view is a commodity, my friends (Shoutout to Alejandro Navia & Matt Medved) from now media are stepping up to the plate with a game-changing move.

In their own words, they “have been devoted to empowering the creators of culture and bringing the web3 movement from niche to mainstream. It’s time to double down on the latter”.

They also mentioned an interesting transition, from being a media company covering Web3 to a media conglomerate powered by Web3.

If you ask me, I see this as a strategic pivot towards a future where media isn’t just consumed but owned and authenticated in ways we’ve only just begun to explore.

Tokenization is setting a new bar for transparency and trust in the digital space. It’s about giving each piece of content a digital signature that can’t be erased or forged. Imagine a world where every article you read, every video you watch comes with a guarantee of origin, like a digital autograph that says, “Yes, this is the real deal”.

So in short, that’s how I see how a Tokenized Media can change the game:

🛠 Building trust: Tokenized media is reconstructing the trust that’s been chipped away in the digital age.

🔄 Immutable authenticity: With blockchain, edits and updates are transparent, leaving an indelible mark of truth.

🌐 Global standard: Tokenization may become the global standard for media authenticity.

📈 Value creation: Tokenization adds a layer of value to media, transforming every piece into a collectible asset.

Use Case: Fake Blockworks Site

Can you spot the differences?

The recent Blockworks scam was a wake-up call, showing us just how easy it is to get duped online.

And as much as we love to think we are smart enough, this is also a reminder: anyone can fall victim for a convincing copy that spreads misinformation.

Tokenized Media enters the chat:

Imagine if every article had a digital signature, a token that proves it’s the real thing. In this specific example, if Blockworks had their content tokenized, it would have been easy (or easier) for anyone to spot the fake.

“Oh, so it’s like having a ‘verified badge’ on every piece of content, backed by the blockchain’s unbreakable promise?”

It’s not “like”. It’s an actual badge that any person can interact with and check that piece’s authenticity – you’ll see an example a few lines below.

By adopting tokenized media, we’re not just fighting against fake news; we’re building a fortress of trust. It’s a straightforward solution that could transform the way we consume media, making sure that what we read is legit, every single time.

Earlier in today’s edition I mentioned the conversation I had with Steve Nouri, and told you I’d share some of the highlights of this conversation, right?

So here we are.

In a few moments you’ll find quotes taken directly from that great chat we had a few months ago.


“News” about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING can be created in seconds

As we discussed in the Tokenized Media topic, in this era where content can be manipulated with just a few clicks, establishing a “proof of provenance” is a necessity. It’s about creating a digital ledger that verifies the origin of content, ensuring its authenticity from the moment it’s created to when it’s consumed by audiences worldwide.

To help us navigate this topic, I’ll use simple, yet useful framework I often apply in different project I’m involved with → NOW – NEXT – LATER.

In short, it helps my team focus on what’s achievable/transposable right at this moment (NOW); what is still being developed/built but it’s clearly coming (NEXT); and how a specific environment/industry may look like in the future (LATER) if the NOW and NEXT develops as we think they will.

Let’s get into it:

NOW: The trust crisis and content verification

Right now, we’re facing a crisis of trust. We are constantly dealing with manipulated images, videos, texts, and all sorts of hurdles when it comes to consuming digital content.

It is, therefore, crucial to establish a proof of source that verifies who produced the content and when.

Are you this old to remember?

Fake AI-generated image of Trump being arrested in NYC flooded the news, leading many to believe it was true.

The pictures above are great examples of the double-edged sword of digital creation: it’s fun because it’s easy, but it’s also dangerous for the same reason.

With a simple prompt any person can generate pretty much anything, from harmless Pixar-style avatars or a new logo for small businesess. But this power also opens the door to creating content that can mislead and manipulate, tipping scales on everything from pop culture to politics.

Realistically speaking, that’s the digital wild west we live in, so new measures are needed. And in that sense, having a way to prove the reliability of the source we are consuming content from is a necessary evolution, ensuring that what we see, click, and share is anchored in reality.

Remember when a picture of the Pope rocking a puffer jacket went virtal? Now, if that pic had a verification icon/badge/certificate, we’d all know straight away whether it was a meme or something more.

You may be thinking: “That one was CLEARLY fake”. Well, as much as I agree, many people believed it was real, and the discussion is about what else can be created or manipulated.

In the image below, notice that there’s an Ethereum icon on it, which means any person can verify its authenticity thanks to (in this case) the Ethereum blockchain.

In other words, we can confirm that this picture is 100% real.

Proof of provenance is just one click away

NEXT: Blockchains interoperability and the AI-Human synergy

The next step involves enhancing the interoperability of blockchains through the combined efforts of AI and humans.

This synergy could lead to the development of codes allowing different blockchains (Ethereum, Polygon, Cardano, Polkadot, ConsenSys, IBM Blockchain, etc.) to communicate seamlessly, regardless of language or structure.

LATER: AI Agency and the Tokenized Internet

Looking further ahead, I envision an era of “AI Agency” where AI operates on behalf of individuals (yes on our behalf) in a highly tokenized internet landscape.

With digital currencies (digital EURO, USDC, etc.) becoming the norm for transactions, the integration of AI will be pivotal.

As we explored before on “STL and the integrated web”, AI Agency and Tokenized Internet are HOT 🔥 and exciting topics that are keeping me awake at night just thinking about the possibilities they bring.

These are concepts that I’ll most definitely invest more time on – and as always, will share cool findings with you.

And that’s the signal for this week.

We’ve discussed some cool stuff involving AI’s role in shaping the future of Web(3) – and as you can see, it goes way beyond creating images or generating generic logos.

If you’ve found something interesting in here, share it, discuss it, act on it.

Appreciate you tuning in.

And for the next week’s edition… 🚗 🚘️ 🏎️ 

Diego Borgo

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