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Interview with Harjyot Singh, Technology and Crypto Director at HUMAN Protocol Foundation
I have spent the last decade working as technical lead across different projects, with a focus on finance and distributed computing, and a background in AI and CS. I also founded two successful ventures, building infrastructure to tackle issues like misinformation and privacy. All of that aligned nicely with the nature of HUMAN Protocol Foundation; it has a rare focus on distributed computing, with a current focus on AI. It felt like a natural choice.
There are many great projects out there at the moment, but I saw something unique in HUMAN Protocol. There are some real problems with data in AI and ML; I see HUMAN as a practical means to solving that, but also, by solving it, to create a new kind of blockchain technology that can catalyze the third wave of blockchain. The chance to build that future, to actually create the software infrastructure, really interested me.
A little history may be helpful here. The first wave was Bitcoin, which was all about digital currencies and starting the revolution of private money, as opposed to public money. Ethereum was a wave 1.1, which utilized the concept of private money, but took it one step further by porting business logic over to be self-executing; Ethereum really gave birth to decentralization by creating the framework for apps to run in that manner via smart contracts.
Wave 2.0 was about optimizing the base consensus layer of the chains, fixing smart-contract implementations, problems with gas prices, speed, and, as a result, micro transactions. The side effect was the birth of the DeFi space. If you're talking about public and private money, the question is: how do you take out the middleman when you want one currency or utility exchanged for another currency or utility? It sent us back to the barter system; that’s what DeFi is all about.
We are currently at the beginning of wave 3.0, which is really about interoperability. How do we connect the business logic and data from one ecosystem to another? It is about implementing a system in which business logic is interchangeable, meaning a contract that is running on the Ethereum network can execute things on Solana or SKALE.
There are not many companies that can do it.
That’s what we’re building. By our nature of being multichain, we are building revolutionary technology that allows this cross-chain business logic to operate.
Ideally, business logic would be built on top of technologies that serve the direct utility of that use case. At the moment, that’s not possible, and you have to build on a specific chain. With the HUMAN application layer we are building out, a business will be allowed to choose which chain they run various parts of their business on, like building blocks. They can choose Ethereum for one thing, Solana for another - and HUMAN would facilitate all the cross-chain token transfers, and the information transfers, which makes these micro services on individual chains possible.
So while we are building a technology that utilizes the second wave of L1s, it is really targeting utility on the application layer, on the business-logic layer. The third wave of blockchain will lead to a future where people shouldn’t care about what L1 a project is using. Just as, when you're using a Google product, you don’t care if there is PostgreSQL or MongoDB in the background.
Right now, we see AI and ML companies setting up left, right and centre, but the problem we are seeing is that the model quality simply isn’t good enough.
Synthetic data is interesting, but the industry has only just started using it, and it can’t teach advanced level models on how humans operate, what makes them tick. That all lies in a data shortage problem. Creating synthetic data when there isn’t sufficiently detailed data is a problem.
There isn’t enough specific annotated data available. In its core functionality, the Protocol has the potential to fix that by connecting the data creators to the data requesters. Excitingly, the Protocol gives the labelers the necessary tools to get as granular and specific as possible. Accomplishing that specificity on a technological front is actually quite challenging; it’s a logistical problem, really, and that’s where HUMAN Protocol is breaking ground, by creating software that automates and manages those details.
Looking ahead, with this granular, hyper-specialized data, we can create models for things that do not even exist. Think of industries like LiDAR, where a laser is used to measure spaces, which could have massive applications in the automobile industry, or the architecture industry. Utilizing our logistics system, we can build models to solve these problems for new age industries.
Absolutely. That’s one of the inevitable consequences of the Protocol that I think is amazing. It’s not simply a point of do-gooder-ism, but a practical point for creating excellence in the industry. Whereas now, data is all in the hands of Amazon, Google, etc, our work is about getting state-of-the-art models into the hands of researchers, startups, and more. By opening the doors, and lowering the barriers, HUMAN Protocol can help catalyze the next wave of AI products. The Protocol can facilitate requests from all kinds of startups, practitioners, and researchers, to get them the finely tuned data they need to build amazing products, and start bringing AI to our lives in a meaningful way. That’s why we’re doing this work.
So, everything I have said about blockchain and AI is simply one application of the Protocol and, while it is a significant step, we hope it is just the beginning. What is exciting is the technology that we are creating that supports these blockchain interactions, and these AI solutions.
If the Protocol supports applications for data labeling, what other apps could it support? The Protocol is really the infrastructure, the set of software rules, that facilitates these distributed job markets. It is the means of finding Workers, setting tasks, getting quality answers, and paying them. Why could that Worker not be, in theory, a lawyer scanning a document for an incomplete clause, or an error in logic? Any kind of fungible human task can be brought to the Protocol, cutting out middlemen, and allowing parties to collaborate in a trustless way. This is about bringing human work, of many kinds, on-chain, and allowing for the true human work revolution to begin, by allowing humans to do what they do well, and machines to take care of the rest.
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The HUMAN Protocol Foundation makes no representation, warranty, or undertaking, express or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or reasonableness of the information contained here. Any assumptions, opinions, and estimations expressed constitute the HUMAN Protocol Foundation’s judgment as of the time of publishing and are subject to change without notice. Any projection contained within the information presented here is based on a number of assumptions, and there can be no guarantee that any projected outcomes will be achieved.