When Expert systems i.e. actual use of AI, in solving problems in Engineering, Science and Social science reach that point in society where firms can create them; then we would see a dramatic increase in usage of contracting systems like ethereum. How can a program (or a system) set up a transaction with another machine or human, on behalf of its creator through a contract?
The best use of programmable contracts is when systems can charge for services they provide on the fly, based on the complexity of the problem they solve. For example, consider a scientist working in a biotechnology lab who needs to identify a particular type of organism ( a fungi, a virus , or a bacteria). in today’s world the process of isolation, DNA sequencing, PCR and other such processes such as thermocycling need prior knowledge or experience. A very small fraction of professionals will be able to know the entire set of processes needed to actually accomplish this task. More so considering the number of combinations of tasks such as usage of media, temperatures of media to be set in order to enable growth of these organisms, etc.
Search engines such as Google or even scientific search engines like “wolfram search” provide some hope – but the search space is large, and data dependent. The process of converting the large volumes of data (aka. in the previous examples) scientific papers in a particular domain, to information can sometimes be laborious and inaccurate. For example, the scientist who might have identified the microorganism during her research may not entirely state the full process. The search costs are large for the professional trying to increase his/her productivity. This is where expert systems will play a large role , in assisting knowledge workers with the right skills, based on the problem at hand.
If someone were to create such an expert system that is super generic, it would be very difficult to earn rents (or monetize) such systems, because both the complexity and the time needed to arrive at the right solution would be unknown. With “smart contracts” or programmable contracts such complexities can be handled on the fly and on a case to case basis. This is where we’ll see , in my opinion the largest growth for a protocol like Ethereum. We’re already seeing some of this work in online Prediction Markets, specifically the ethereum based prediction markets. Right now, the events and participation are small for these prediction markets since the events pertain to a small problem space.
When expert systems start participating in these markets, we’ll see a lot more accurate predictions. This is where we will start seeing massive adoption of such forms of contracting and payments.