The importance of data has become clear in recent years. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has finally started to deliver very useful results and amazing applications have become possible, ranging from self-driving cars to customer profiling and advanced recommendation services. All these applications have one thing in common: they rely on data, a huge amount of data to be precise. This has led to your data becoming very valuable. Companies like Facebook have managed to turn this fact into lucrative businesses.
Quite rightly so, people are starting to get concerned about how their data is used and who gets to take advantage of them.
A new startup, Bubblo, is launching a blockchain-based data marketplace that returns control over their data back to the user. The company’s AI-powered discovery platform provides very personalized recommendations on bars, restaurants, and other venues. The system relies on users sharing their data, which is used by the system to feed the recommendation engine. In return they are compensated in cryptographic tokens that can be redeemed for discounts and other rewards, creating a tokenized in-app data economy.
User-Empowered Data Sharing
Users don’t mind sharing their data if there are in control of what is being shared, how it is used, and if they are compensated. In contrast to data being collected and used by social networks and other systems, in the Bubblo model, it is the end-users who directly benefit from selling their data.
Let’s face it, we are generally quite open about telling the world which venues we frequent and what we consume. Why should Instagram or Facebook benefit from me sharing photos of my food and the opinion I express in my posts? A much fairer model is selling this data myself, on my terms and for use in a system from which I can actually benefit.
In addition to providing a token-based economy for incentivizing data providing users, the blockchain also provides transparency of how data is used.
Data-integrity is as important for AI systems as the data itself. Often, corrupted data provides worse results than no data at all. Blockchain technology allows data marketplaces to verify the origin of the data and ensure integrity, without compromising the privacy of data.
Blockchain and AI Integration
Bubblo integrates with all major social networks and review sites and uses sentiment analysis and other AI algorithms to rank restaurants, bars, and other venues. The result is a highly personalized location-specific list of recommendations for individual end-users. The system is a prime example, how blockchain and AI can converge to provide new business models and empower end-users.
Under the hood, Bubblo uses the IBM Watson AI engine to provide the required algorithms for the recommendation model. In addition, the platform integrates with table reservation and taxi booking services to provide a complete in-app user experience.
A New Model for Data Markets
The Bubblo model is, of course, a very specific use case. However, the project introduces an interesting model for data markets that do not indiscriminately exploit user data. Instead, users are in control of and directly benefit from releasing their data. The blockchain can provide both, the incentive mechanism, and data feed integrity to make this model possible.