For Silicon Valley, the headline was sweet nectar: Google DeepMind, the world’s hottest artificial intelligence lab, embraces the blockchain, the endlessly fascinating idea at the heart of the bitcoin digital currency.
But the buzzwords bely the reality. The lab’s re-imagining of the blockchain has very little to do with AI—or the blockchain, for that matter. If you want AI crossed with the blockchain, try wrapping your head around Numerai, the world’s strangest hedge fund. To DeepMind’s credit, its new project depends less on trendy ideas than an apparent desire to solve a real problem in the real world—one that involves the most private and personal information.
DeepMind is building an auditing system for healthcare data. That may not sound sexy, but it matters. As more and more medical data goes digital, the system would ensure that as a hospital shares patient records, they stay private, accurate, and tamper-free.