2 Superpowers of Tech – Artificial Intelligence & Blockchain

Interested in a career in tech, but don’t know where to start? The career possibilities in the tech arena are abundant but sometimes there can be so many avenues to go down it can become overwhelming… Today, let’s focus on two of the most revolutionary fields which are changing the way we live, work and operate – Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain.


What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence is a field of study that was born from a 1950’s research paper written by Alan Turing. In this paper, Turing posed the question “Can Machines Think?”.  He subsequently published the Turing Test which established the fundamental goal and vision of Artificial Intelligence. This simple question and hypothesis set into motion decades of research and progress all in the aim of answering Turing’s original ponderings.


“Can Machines Think?” – Alan Turing

While this gives some insight into where it all began it doesn’t quite explain what Artificial Intelligence is… In fact, the area of AI is so expansive that it has given rise to so many new questions and debates that not one definition has been universally accepted.

The former Ford Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science at MIT, Patrick Winston defines AI as “algorithms enabled by constraints, exposed by representations that support models targeted at loops that tie thinking, perception and action together.”

In simplistic terms, Artificial Intelligence is the mission to create intelligent machines that operate by receiving precepts from the environment and perform actions which would have traditionally needed human input or oversight.

In practice, the study of Artificial Intelligence is so broad that it has been broken down into two sub fields: Narrow AI and Artificial General Intelligence. Let’s take a quick look at what they entail.


Narrow AI

Narrow AI primarily focuses on the performance of a single task done very well. While machines programmed in this format may appear intelligent, they are operating under a vast number of constraints and limitations. It will ultimately only be able to perform the one task it was designed for. For this reason, some refer to this as “Weak AI”.

With that being said, this was the starting point for all AI and the most successful area to date. It has created many of the tools which have already made their way into our everyday lives. Some examples of Narrow AI include:

  • Google Search
  • Alexa, Siri and other personal assistant tools.
  • Image recognition Software


Artificial General Intelligence

Artificial General Intelligence is the next frontier in the AI field. It is essentially the creation of a machine with human-level intelligence that can be applied to any task. The easiest way to describe this is that of the kind of Artificial Intelligence we see in Hollywood movies or tv series such as Westworld. Many AI researchers see this as the holy grail. 


What Is Blockchain?

Blockchain is an exciting and disruptive technology which can revolutionise many industries such as finance, healthcare and cybersecurity. (It’s certainly a consideration in many modern day cybersecurity courses) Sometimes referred to as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), it ensures that the history of any digital asset is transparent and unalterable through the use of decentralisation and cryptographic hashing.

A very simplistic explanation of Blockchain is that it is a secure chain of code which has been inherently designed so that it cannot be altered, only added to. Although often associated with cryptocurrencies (think Bitcoin, Ethereum etc) and more recently NFT’s (non-fungible tokens).. Blockchain has a wide range of appeal.

This is an especially promising and revolutionary technology because it helps to reduce risk, eliminates fraud, and ultimately brings transparency in a scalable format which can be applied to a myriad of uses.


So why Study Blockchain?

This is a relatively new technology that is predicted to be globally adopted within many sectors in the years to come. There will be job opportunities around this discipline in almost all businesses from Start-ups to Legacy firms to governments…

This is truly a unique way to give your tech career a boost – Get in early and get up to speed so you can advance in this exciting field!


Blockchain & AI Technology

These two fields are without doubt two of the biggest and transformational emerging technologies today. With the capability to make such a difference on so many levels – AI and Blockchain will continue to play a key role in the evolution of technology in Ireland and around the world.


Courses at Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet

Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet has teamed up with top Irish universities to develop and deliver the best courses around for developing practical skills and competencies in technological disciplines. If you’re thinking about a career in Blockchain or Artificial Intelligence – or want to upskill in either of those – be sure to check out our part-funded courses.