During his keynote speech at SmartCon 2023, Chainlink co-founder Sergey Nazarov shared his vision for a Chainlink-powered verifiable web built on cryptographically proven “ground truths” that supplant unverifiable misinformation in the age of AI.
To expand on these ideas, Nazarov sat down for a fireside chat with former Google CEO, Chairman at Steel Perlot and strategic advisor to Chainlink Labs, Eric Schmidt, who offered his perspective on the critical role Chainlink plays at the intersection of blockchain and AI.
Schmidt described the arrival of AI and the ability to create more advanced LLMs (large language models) at less cost as “a whole new phase” for computer science and the world at large.
“This technology is diffusing so quickly and this is why your notion of a verifiable web – you’re underselling how valuable it is,” he told Nazarov. “How are we going to operate without understanding some basic things about truth? I just don’t know. I don’t know how democracies operate without it.”
“As the trust issues between society and systems grow, verifiability becomes more of an important aspect for everyone to interact in a reliable way,” Nazarov agreed. “Because eventually, you won’t be able to trust a brand to take your money; you won’t be able to trust some counterparty to send you information unless there’s a certain level of verifiability.”
During his keynote, Nazarov detailed Chainlink’s three-pronged approach to building a verifiable web by connecting blockchains to verifiable data, computation, and cross-chain connectivity.
“That need for verifiability will only get greater as more things break down,” he told Schmidt. “Whether the banking system breaks down, or whether the information transfer through social media or news breaks down – as there’s more and more of these breakdowns, creating a reliable, verifiable world becomes increasingly important.”
Schmidt pointed to cryptographically proven identity data as a solution to the problem of proliferating misinformation through AI. “The information war is now between the people who believe in truth and the people who are trying to destroy truth and it’s important that the truth side wins,” he said.
Beyond AI’s obvious drawbacks, such as a tendency to hallucinate and a susceptibility to attack, Schmidt believes AI systems like LLMs can benefit society by amplifying the skill and productivity of everyone from doctors to educators to scientists. He underscored the importance of blockchains as tools for delivering data and computation to AI systems.
“The most obvious tools are ones that are running on blockchain, because blockchain, when well executed, is going to be an accurate defender of truth,” he said, describing the relationship between blockchain-based cryptographic truth and LLMs that inherently lack provable truth as “a natural marriage.”
“The other thing with AI that I’ve seen is that more and more smart contracts and blockchains want to use AI as computational resources,” Nazarov said. “I think they actually have a very symbiotic relationship.”
Ultimately, Schmidt believes security is paramount to building a platform capable of creating guardrails for AI by delivering verifiable data, computation, and connectivity onchain. Pointing to Chainlink’s track record of securely enabling more than $8.6 trillion in transaction value throughout the DeFi economy, Schmidt said, “Chainlink has passed this test.”
Watch Sergey Nazarov’s full conversation with Eric Schmidt.