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Advantages of blockchain for science and technology: Q&A (Includes interview)

According to a recent review in the science journal Nature, blockchain could lend security measures to the scientific process. An example cited is how blockchain can enhance reproducibility and the peer review process by creating incorruptible data trails. According to Dr. Axel Schumacher, blockchain will introduce three key principles collaboration, openness, and integrity. When harnessed with the potential of artificial intelligence, blockchain will help to accelerate the scientific process.

Digital Journal caught up with Dr. Schumacher to discover more.

Digital Journal: How important is blockchain now, in relation to business?

Dr. Axel Schumacher: Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize not just one, but a whole set of industries spanning from every corner of the global business world. Blockchain is driving businesses to re-think existing business models, re-examine opportunities that were previously thought non-profitable, and facilitates significant innovation. Companies that adopt this technology can generate more revenue and bolster longevity and trust with today’s digital-age customers, ensuring their place and importance in the formative digital economy, today and in the long-term future.

Not surprisingly, billions of dollars are being invested in blockchain, and some of the smartest people on the planet are engaged in understanding how this technology can revolutionize businesses and society. The first large-scale changes will be noticeable in enterprises run by centralized institutions and bureaucracies — like banks and capital markets, clearing houses and government authorities.

DJ: How will this disrupt healthcare?

Dr. Schumacher: The other vertical that will see significant disruption is healthcare. Here, blockchain could be the answer to many problems that plague our unsustainable healthcare systems. Blockchain will help place the patient at the center of the healthcare ecosystem and to increase the security, auditability, privacy, and interoperability of sensitive health data.

Using distributed ledger technology, healthcare can be based on a set of new principles – collaboration, openness, and integrity, whereby people co-create their own data with full transparency, access, and control. Already, many innovative startups are working on areas such as healthcare data management solutions, pharma supply chain, reducing the administrative burden on insurers and healthcare providers, improving clinical trials, genomics, and precision medicine applications.

DJ: What about science and technology in particular?

Dr. Schumacher: Historically, scientific insight and technological advances were always a driver for business and the development of our species. This kind of impact will increase in scale and speed as technology impacts almost everything, such as the environment, businesses, people and the society as a whole. The exponential rate at which technology is developing, adapting, and mutating is so fast that most people will be overwhelmed in a tidal wave of progress.

DJ: What are the risks of not adapting?

Dr. Schumacher: Businesses that fail to change are going to find themselves left behind while the savvy ones who learn to keep up will reap the rewards. Some of the biggest disruptors will be genomics, blockchain, artificial intelligence, cybernetic implants, augmented reality, big data, and robotics. Particularly AI-enabled healthcare will be cost-effective and much better than existing healthcare services, that people will forgo traditional medical care in favor of these innovative options.

In a follow-up interview, Dr. Axel Schumacher discussed how his company Shivom, together with the firm SingularityNet, will combine blockchain, AI, and genomic research to achieve advanced, personalized medical analytics. See: “Q&A: Blockchain-based platform for largest genomic data hub.”

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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