Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, is sounding a cautionary note for developers considering the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technology. In a blog post dated January 30, Buterin highlighted his concerns and advised developers to exercise caution, particularly when deploying novel applications in contexts that involve high value and high risk.
One of Buterin's primary concerns is the potential for massive financial losses if AI is utilized in applications like prediction markets or stablecoins and an AI oracle is found to be vulnerable to attacks. In such scenarios, significant amounts of money could disappear rapidly, emphasizing the need for vigilance and thorough security measures.
Buterin acknowledged that AI could have a substantial impact in areas where human participation is infeasible, such as micro-scale participation in prediction markets. Additionally, AI could play a role in enhancing crypto wallet interfaces by helping users better understand transactions, signatures, and detecting potential scams. However, Buterin cautioned that fully AI-driven interfaces might be too risky at present due to the increased likelihood of errors.
The riskiest proposition, according to Buterin, would be entrusting AI to enforce the rules and governance of crypto systems. Open-source AI models could be vulnerable to adversarial attacks since their code is inspectable, making them susceptible to optimization attacks. On the other hand, closed-source AI models offer security through obscurity but lack transparency and assurances of impartiality.
Buterin highlighted the challenge of creating a decentralized AI using crypto and blockchain that other applications could leverage. These applications, aiming to create a decentralized trusted AI that multiple applications rely on, hold promise for enhancing functionality and AI safety. However, they also pose significant challenges and potential failure points in their underlying assumptions.
In summary, Vitalik Buterin's message to developers is clear: the fusion of AI and blockchain technology offers exciting possibilities, but it must be approached with caution. Risks are present, especially in high-value and high-risk contexts, and careful implementation is essential to mitigate potential issues and losses.