GhostDrive and self determination in the data age

Roman Tykhovsky
October 6, 2020

All technology is designed with greater freedom for humanity in mind — it’s there to liberate us somehow. The question is — freedom for whom? Not all technology represents holistically beneficial progress for everybody. And, whilst the mirage of goods and services preemptively targeted to our every whim and desire may have seemed at first like a boon, it’s come at the price of our freedom to be who we are with no-one watching.

Like the scenario demonstrated by Jim Carrey, AI use cases and applications in the current information era have been playing out a little like that fictitious and prescient “paranoia fable” the 1998 film The Truman Show. Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage”; and it turns out that the everyday folk like you and me using social media, IoT, smart phones, watches and TVs, have been the players — or at least the ones being played.

“In 50 years time,” asked one presenter in a session themed Data for Good, “do you think that the global standard will be self determined data handling or people continuing to give data away for third parties to do with as they wish?” Oddly, most people in the audience responded to indicate they thought the former scenario the more likely.

GhostDrive is here to change all that.

GhostDrive is a cutting edge blockchain technology company based in California that specializes in software, hardware, and AI. They have a vision for a new blockchain based encrypted smart IoT home assistant technology platform and are bringing together experts from around the world to develop technologies that safeguard people’s digital wellbeing; developing a community-driven digital marketplace to provide applications, technologies and content that will reward, create and enhance the first AI personal home assistant system on the blockchain.

Just like other AI, their home assistant will learn from our behaviors and lifestyle to help free up our precious time (and give us more freedom, which is what AI is meant to do). However, unlike other AI and machine based deep learning applications, the blockchain aspect allows safe, secure, decentralized ownership of private information. The GhostDrive blockchain network has the main objective of protecting privacy while storing information locally in a decentralized encrypted ecosystem.

It looks like our fabled house just got some curtains.

Blockchain will be a gamechanger for AI and big data, because blockchain provides for a distributed peer-to-peer network where non-trusting participants can have verifiable interactions with each other without a trusted third party intermediary. What this decentralized and cryptographic ledger means for the end user is that whilst the participants in the network can broadcast their information to the network via their public key, whose information this is exactly is encrypted via the user’s unique private key signature (which isn’t shared). LUNA, the GhostDrive AI assistant, can use data from private devices to build behaviour modelling without ever revealing who owns it.

Speaking contextually on both AI and blockchain at the Safe and Secure UN AI for Good session, Susan Oh, founder of her own blockchain AI startup MKR AI and Chair of AI at the UN’s Blockchain for Impact, says “The only way we can bring full circle and realise the benefits of both these nascent technologies is to give sovereignty of data to each of the individual people in society today.”

She continues: “Everyone in society in modern times, no matter what you’re doing, you’re kicking up data this is worth billions of dollars. Facebook Google, and all these behemoths don’t give you back anything for it. Instead, they take that data, and they weaponize it to get your to buy more of their things. If you give people sovereignty over their data, they can choose and decide and stratify which layers of their data they are going to volunteer into your system, and they can be rewarded with tokens for it.”

Ultimately, Susan Oh regards the self-sovereignty over private data as a way for ensuring a basic minimum income for all in the world. This is a far more empowering model for social and economic good than the extractive big data corporate mentality we have experienced to date of “we take, you create”.

GhostDrive, and blockchain technologies like it, are ushering in a paradigm shift — after the brief honeymoon for big data companies created by the free-for-all information age of the web, we are witnessing a migration of data controlled by corporations to a model of data owned by self-sovereign individuals interacting cooperatively enabled by the blockchain and having control over their own data: who gets it and what for.

Echoing Natural Legal theory, Susan asks — “Is it a law if you can’t enforce it?” And whilst governments are slowly responding to the concerns society has over the indiscriminate use of their personal data for mercantile corporate benefit, such as the recent move to the GDPR, the reality is that when it comes to data the cat is mostly already out of the bag. Laws may operate as deterrents — in reality, privacy breaches and hacks will still occur, and may well go unnoticed and untrackable.

Prevention is better than the cure, suggests Susan Oh. Better to use the technology of blockchain to cryptographically secure the data in the first place and keep control over it in the hands of the person who created it and has a vested interest in maintaining its privacy. Oh advocates for a blockchain backed society with aligned collaborative cooperation and engagement, underpinned by the fundamental premise of self sovereign individuals participating for mutual benefit in activities pre-determined through crypto-economic incentives.

The tokenization model, says Susan Oh, “moves fast and is more effective to create systems for collaboration and rather than enforce regulation is the better way to go.”

Data is political, is the take home message of AI for Good — having control over your own data is an issue of self-determination, of democracy, of freedom of movement, choice, and association — and, ultimately, dignity. Human dignity isn’t something that can be or should be sold. GhostDrive, and blockchain based AI innovations like it, is an essential new technology providing the average individual to draw the curtains in a digital age.