Earth’s Digital Twin: Blockchain and AI in Outer Space A Coming Reality

  • 9 April 2017
  • Cas Proffitt

Space should belong to everyone.


One thing citizens of Earth struggle with even now while we are predominantly terrestrial is distribution of wealth both in terms of money and the currency of the modern day–data. Data and dollars alike are often found in the hands of a limited elite, with political and educational power also falling toward them.


Now, as we quickly expand our resources outside of our atmosphere, we are at a crossroads for humanity-wide change, a sharing economy of data and capital that can have a profound impact on the way future generations understand value, problems, change, trust, and teamwork.


Space is no longer limited to only major governments and corporations. As we explained in our article, Top 10 Space Travel Companies to Watch in 2017, startups are popping up everywhere with major innovations to make space accessible to all. Some of these include 3D printers for use in space, reusable spacecrafts, nano satellites, in-orbit refueling stations, and even shared room on spacecrafts to help lower the cost of space research.


Thanks to these pioneers, we can expect to see two major additions to space technology that may fundamentally change the future of the human race–artificial intelligence and blockchain.


It is because of these lower-cost methods of reaching space that these changes will have such a significant impact.


For example, lightweight nanosatellites can be deployed to space exponentially more cheaply than their bulky predecessors, and reusable launchers make for quick, efficient launches.


This has opened the market of global data collection to a bevvy of new prospects who, in prior years, would have been immediately disqualified from this space race due to price alone.These mass producible satellites and easy deployment not only open space up to new entrants, but also allow for a network of satellites to communicate between one another and cover far more vast areas of Earth with their collection efforts.


Plus, the low cost of overall operations can help make space-sourced data available to everyone.


Blockchain in Space


More than that, the addition of a blockchain-based sharing economy in space can make the aforementioned assets and data not only available to many people, but actually owned by the many, rather than the few, as well.


Blockchain will retain its other benefits even in the context of space; if anything, those benefits will be greatly magnified. Those involved in space collection can offer automated smart contracts to assist in negotiating services involved in data collection such as imagery desired, speed, and price.


Another such benefit is data assurance. Using a blockchain network to verify the reliability of space data can ease concerns of those who need to use that data for important analysis.


Among the analyses expected from a blockchain-based space data democracy include environmental factors such as factory pollution and illegal deforestation. Far from the extent of this new technology’s capabilities, it also includes things like real-time economic information such as the number of cars at a shopping mall as well as information on weather conditions and natural disasters, migration of people and animals, traffic, and more.


Artificial Intelligence and Earth’s “Digital Twin”


With such substantial amounts of data that is verifiably true through blockchain technology, a real-time copy of all of Earth’s data can be analyzed using artificial intelligence.


AI technology could be used to prevent major disasters, maintain the lives of endangered species, protect the environment, and perhaps even safeguard against dangers like nuclear warfare. Reliable data plus high-powered analysis of the data surrounding the entire world could open doors to beneficial opportunities to not only preserve the planet but offer higher standards of living to everyone involved.


It is as these crossover points between disruptive technology such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and low-cost space technology that we will see some of the most profound changes of this century.


Privacy from Space


Of course, with so many nanosats floating around and autonomously collecting data for anyone’s use, issues of privacy are bound to arise. Because of the outside-Earth nature of these prospects, the concerns are admittedly very Illuminati-esque.


Far above the ground and completely out of sight, eyes watch every move, track everything, united under some sort of overarching One World Government.


While it could quickly devolve into such an Orwellian reality under a few technological elite, proper regulation and oversight as well as a somewhat broad initial public availability can lower the chances of this dystopian future.


Carsten Stöcker, who originally posted these ideas about blockchain in space on both World Economic Forum and Bitcoin Magazine earlier this week, laid out very precisely what we must be mindful of to ensure space belongs to everyone:


Realizing the potential benefits – and spreading them beyond the traditional capitalist stakeholders and urban elites to wider society – will require close attention to technical, legal, security, ownership, privacy and equity issues.”


Please see his related articles for an even further in-depth explanation and follow his Twitter @CarstenStoeker here.

What benefits do you see blockchain having on space? What about artificial intelligence? Let us know in the comments below!

About Cas Proffitt

Cas is a B2B Content Marketer and Brand Consultant who specializes in disruptive technology. She covers topics like artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, blockchain, and big data, to name a few. Cas is also co-owner of an esports organization and spends much of her time teaching gamers how to make a living doing what they love while bringing positivity to the gaming community.