With blockchain and cognitive computing being turned to practical applications, we’re learning more and more about what they can do alone — and together.

SwissCognitiveWhen it comes to revolutionary technology, the blockchain and cognitive computing are two at the top of the list in 2018. With these technologies finally being put to use in practical applications, we’re learning more and more about what they can do on their own—and together. Let’s take a look at how some industries can take advantage of this powerful combination.

Cognitive Computing and Blockchain: The Basics

Before we can discuss what these two technologies can accomplish together, it’s important to understand them separately.

Cognitive computing is essentially using advanced artificial intelligence systems to create a “thinking” computer. Deep learning allows cognitive computers to learn and adapt as they receive new data, and they do not simply execute logic-based commands as computers have traditionally done. Because the technology is evolving and encompasses many different AI systems, there is no standardized definition for these systems. However, the term is best used to describe computer systems that mimic the human brain.

The blockchain, a new system for storing information and processing transactions, was created for the distribution of bitcoin, the world’s leading cryptocurrency. It’s different from most databases because it uses a distributed ledger system, rather than a centralized database. In basic terms, that means that the information is distributed in thousands of computer networks, instead of being stored in one location. The information is updated regularly, and everyone on the network can view it.

This makes the blockchain more secure than a traditional database since a hacker cannot compromise the whole system by breaching one computer. Today, the blockchain is becoming popular in some industries for its superior security. Cybersecurity is a growing concern, and the blockchain could be one way some industries can reduce the number of breaches.

Cognitive Computing and Blockchain — the “IoT Dream”

So how do these two technologies work together? Since we’ve only just scratched the surface on the capabilities of both the blockchain and cognitive computing, there’s still a lot of opportunity for bringing these technologies together. One of the largest areas for potential expansion is in tandem with IoT (Internet of Things) growth.

Many industries are beginning to see how using interconnected devices can help them automate and improve their processes, but there are currently limitations on scaling and security with centralized systems.

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IBM, a leader in artificial intelligence, has already integrated its Watson supercomputer into a platform for IoT, allowing businesses to make better use of the data they collect using these devices. IoT devices collect the data, but the majority of this data is “dark”, meaning that it just sits in storage and isn’t used for anything. Cognitive computing has the ability to process this data in ways humans can’t—while gaining valuable insights that can be used in strategic planning and performance measurement. […]