Artificial Intelligence On The Blockchain
Due to the current computational limitations of a full node on CPU, Artificial Intelligence models cannot be built inside of smart contracts. Cortex Labs is solving this issue by storing AI models on the blockchain -- providing smart contracts with more complex programs and resources. Essentially, DApps will be able to have smart contracts call into decentralized AI models, opening up possibilities for blockchain companies to create deeper tech in the decentralized world.
Cortex is creating its own virtual machine called the Cortex Virtual Machine, which will provide a trusted, and secure environment for AI smart contracts to be executed. Cortex will also provide a submission interface for training off-chain, which would setup a bridge between computing power and algorithm providers, allowing collaborations. In the decentralized world, Cortex could in theory work well with the company Golem, decentralized marketplace for computing power.
Regarding the economics, Cortex has a collaboration incentive in which anyone can upload and optimize the models on the platform. Contributors will be rewarded with tokens when other programs call into your AI models. Users will spend “Endorphins” to execute AI contracts (similar to Ethereum’s Gas), which would be rewarded to the model contributors and miners who help validate the blocks. To ensure the quality of the AI models and prevent storage attacks, a storage fee will be charged when the contributors upload models onto the platform. Long term, this system will encourage more developers to join the platform and create better AI models.
Interestingly, Cortex will utilize the concept of one-machine-one-vote (Cuckoo Cycle PoW) to validate transactions. This is coming from the idea of reducing the performance gap between CPU and GPU. For instance, the best consumer level GPU is 10-15 times more powerful than the best mobile phone GPU. With one-machine-one vote mechanism, miners will be more incentivized to mine with their cell phones that have lower energy costs, available during nighttime while charging. This will encourage more users to start mining and help secure the network. About 50% of the tokens is reserved for the mining pool.
The White paper is focused on the technical aspects, and the core team graduated from the world's top universities (Tsinghua University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, and Columbia University). Whitfield Diffie, Turing Award winner and “father of modern cryptography,” is part of Cortex’s advisory team. The company quickly reached their hardcap of 40,000 ETH during their private sales and received investments from large investors such as FBG Capital, Bitmain, Nirvana Capital, ZhenFund, DFund, Connect Capital, Blockwater Capital, DHVC etc.
For the roadmap, Cortex named the milestones with characters from the popular artifical intelligence series Westworld. The Testnet, named Bernard, is coming in Q3 2018. The Testnet, named Dolores, for smart AI contracts is Q1 2019. Finally, the Mainnet, coming Q2 2019, is named Arnold (the genesis block).